Do you know Jesus ?
Jesus Christ was nailed to a cross. There were two other crosses – one on either side of Jesus. The Romans nailed two thieves there, one thief to each cross.
A lot was going on at that time, but Scripture records some talk between the two thieves and Jesus.
One of the thieves who hung there hurled insults at Jesus. “Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” he chided.
But the other thief rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”
paraphrased from Luke 23:26-43
Here we are today - on each side of Jesus. The question is not "do all of us have judgement coming to us." The question is: "Do you know Jesus?"
Do you Know Jesus ? A Challenge with a Roadmap
Most people in today’s world have heard of Jesus Christ. He is a widely known figure who is well-documented in the historical record. His teachings and ideas have permeated our world. No matter what your religious or cultural background, Jesus Christ is a well-known and clearly defined person – and his teachings are foundational to Western civilization.
But do you KNOW JESUS?
Jesus Christ can be known as a real, living person and you can cultivate a personal relationship with him. That relationship can be the basis of a new and wonderful life. You can start that relationship right here, right now. How can you do this?
To start, read one of the four Gospels. Those are the first four books of the Bible’s New Testament titled Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Read this like a novel – not for deep study but just get the story and facts of what the book is telling you. Learn the story, hear the teachings.
You will notice pretty quickly that Jesus Christ is not just any philosopher or teacher. He is the true Son of God, the Messiah predicted in the Bible’s Old Testament – books written hundreds of years before the life of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is thus prophesied throughout the Bible.
Compare Psalm 22’s description of the Crucifixion with the scene of Jesus and the two thieves. If you read of this situation in the Gospels, you see that Psalm 22 – written 550 years before the events – describes the scene in great detail. Further exploration of the Old Testament predicts Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of prophecy over and over.
Once you know the story and have read the teachings, you will react to it. A common experience is identifying with Jesus Christ as your personal savior as opposed to an abstract figure in history. When you are so moved, open the door to your personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Get in a private place and open your heart to Jesus. Here is a good prayer:
Dear Lord Jesus, I accept you as my personal Lord and Savior. I know you died for me and the salvation you offer is real. Please forgive me of all my sins and begin a personal relationship with me. I pray all this in the name of Jesus Christ.
Just as in the story of the two thieves, the acceptance of Jesus is immediate and your personal relationship begins. Praise God!
Once you have your relationship with Jesus established, you will want to get into fellowship with other Christians. Find a good Bible-based church near you and start attending. The church service is a great experience and will teach you a lot – but don’t forget to find a Sunday School class or a Small Group to spend time with. We often learn a lot from each other’s life and experiences. Just as Jesus set up the original form of Christianity with twelve disciples, we help each other today to live the Christian life.