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What first comes to mind when you hear the name Jesus? Perhaps a church steeple or a cross or maybe even angry profanity.
But who is Jesus really? Most of us recognize that there is something special abou the man Jesus, whose birth many celebrate every Christmas. Some see him as a great teacher, or a prophet, or the greatest man who ever lived. But he is much more than that.
Here's how God's special book to mankind, the Bible, describes him...
He is Deity
"In the beginning was the Word [Jesus], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God" (John 1:1-2). He is eternal; he has always existed. Jesus Christ is infinite.
He is the Creator
"For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth...all things were created through him and for him" (Colossians 1:16).
He is the Savior
He is both man and God, uniquely qualifying him to be the "one mediator between God and men [mankind]...who gave himself as a ransom for all" (1 Timothy 2:5-6). Though "the wages of sin is death...the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23). Only Jesus can make possible forgiveness of our sins and acceptance by the God whom we have offended and disobeyed.
He did this by dying on the cross for us—taking the punishment we deserve as sinners. "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree....Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous [us], that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 2:24; 3:18).
HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?
Will you ignore him?
"[Jesus] was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him" (John 1:10). With all the tinsel of Christmas, it's easy to blow right past the reason for the celebration—the birth of the one who came to rescue us from our sins. Jesus Christ was one of us and lived on this planet for 33 years.
Have you been ignoring Jesus? Don't let this Christmas pass by without recognizing why Jesus came.
Will you reject him?
John 1:11 describes the attitude of many: "He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him." Jesus came to the people who should have known him best, but they wanted nothing to do with him.
How about you? We too reject him because we don't want to own up to our sins and our needs of forgiveness. And yet in love he continues to reach out to us with undeserved kindness.
Or will you receive him?
Even though most people during his years on earth didn't receive Jesus, "to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12).
Receive: Those who receive Christ welcome him into their lives, asking him for forgiveness and new life. Jesus is God's gift to us at Christmas.
Believe: Biblical belief involves more than intellectual assent or an emotional response. To believe means to put our trust in Christ for God's forgiveness of our sins. It also means to trust him to give you the gift of eternal life and a future home in heaven with God forever.
If you have never done so, personally respond to Jesus Christ and let him make you a new person from the inside out today. Tell him your own words or use this prayer as a guide to express your belief in Jesus as your Savior:
Lord Jesus, I confess that I am a sinner and cannot save myself. With all my heart I believe you died on the cross for my sins and giving me the gift of eternal life. Come into my life, Lord Jesus, and be my Savior. Amen.