Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.” – Rich Mullins
The focal point of the Christian faith is an extraordinary man known around the world as Jesus Christ. Some of you may be surprised to learn that “Christ” is not His last name. He’s not the son of Joseph and Mary Christ who owned the little carpentry shop in Nazareth a very long time ago. “Jesus” is his given name, and “Christ” is His title.
The term “Christ” comes from the Greek word Christos which means “anointed one” or “chosen one.” Hence, “Jesus Christ” means “Jesus the Anointed One.” According to the Bible, He was sent from God as our “chosen” Liberator (see Daniel 9:25; Isaiah 32:1).
I have always been captivated by the extraordinary events in the life and times of Jesus. The New Testament says that He arrived on our planet through a supernatural amalgamation of the Creator and His creation. It was a Divine visitation. Jesus grew up to be a good man, loved by the people, but hated by the corrupt and wicked. He was eventually arrested, publicly tried and heinously executed for seemingly no good reason ” except that it was all part of an incredible plan.
Are you at all familiar with Jesus’s stopover here on spaceship earth?
To understand the need for a Divine visitation by our creator, we must go back in time to the moment when Human life began. According to the ancient book of Genesis, mankind was fashioned from the very elements of earth itself, and brought to life by a supreme architect whom we know as God (Genesis Chapters 1 & 2).
7 “Then the Lord God took some soil from the ground and formed a man out of it; he breathed life-giving breath into his nostrils and the man began to live.” (Gen 2:7 – GNT)
The story of Adam and Eve is meant to help people grasp the dilemma of humanity. In Adam, the whole future of the human race is personified. He was placed upon the earth by God, provided with a soul-mate to complete him, told to be fruitful, to procreate and instructed as to what was and was not permissible. Eventually, Adam listened to the wrong voices, overlooked the rules and violated the will of our Creator. In the parlance of Religion, this singular act of disobedience is often referred to as “Original Sin”.
12 “This, then, is what happened. Sin made its entry into the world through one man (Adam), and through sin, death. The entail of sin and death passed on to the whole human race, and no one could break it for no one was himself free from sin.” (Romans 5:12 – PHILLIPS)
13 “Sin was in the world before the Law was given. But sin is not held against a person when there is no Law. 14 And yet death had power over men from the time of Adam until the time of Moses. Even the power of death was over those who had not sinned in the same way Adam sinned. Adam was like the One Who was to come.” (Romans 5:13-14 – NLV)
The moment Adam (man) knowingly transgressed, there were consequences. The whole dynamic of the earth and the human relationship with the architect of humanity was now in disarray. The disobedience of Adam brought “death” to the human race. It is helpful to think of this death as separation from God rather than a simple cessation of life. Physical death is just one byproduct of this disconnect from the giver of life. It was not until the time of Moses (2500 years after the incident at Eden) that God communicated the magnitude of the disruption between Himself and His creation:
19 “Why, then, was the law given? It was given alongside the promise to show people their sins. But the law was designed to last only until the coming of the one who was promised. God gave his law through angels to Moses, who was the mediator between God and the people.” (Galatians 3:19)
Every human being born on this earth inherits the consequence of Adam’s breaking the rules. We are all born in “sin” (spiritual death). Eternity is where we belong, but time is where we are marooned. The human dilemma (spiritual death) is a huge rift separating us from our maker. According to the ancient scriptures, the only remedy for mankind was a Divine rescue mission.
But who can do this for us? Meet Jesus – The Real Superhero
14b “… Now Adam is a symbol, a representation of the Christ, who was yet to come. 15 But there is a great difference between Adam’s sin and God’s gracious gift. For the sin of this one man, Adam, brought death to many. But even greater is God’s wonderful grace and his gift of forgiveness to many through this other man, Jesus Christ. 16 And the result of God’s gracious gift is very different from the result of that one man’s sin. For Adam’s sin led to condemnation, but God’s free gift leads to our being made right with God, even though we are guilty of many sins..” (Romans 5:14-16 – NLT)
Ironically, Adam, the one who personifies this mess we find ourselves in, is also (symbolically) the one who helps us look ahead to the rescue mission planned for mankind. When Adam transgressed, The Creator declared that a Liberator would eventually come to the earth; born of the “seed of the woman” (a child) on a very special assignment that would set the captives free.
When we learn to read the story of Jesus and see it as the story of the love of God, doing for us what we could not do for ourselves–that insight produces, again and again, a sense of astonished gratitude which is very near the heart of an authentic Christian experience.” – N.T. Wright
The Divine rescue mission began with a visitation from the supernatural equivalent of a Western Union messenger. An otherworldly envoy, which we call an Angel, appeared to a young virgin peasant girl named Mary. Here is the Biblical account of what took place that day:
30 “Don’t be frightened, Mary,” the angel told her, “for God has decided to wonderfully bless you! 31 Very soon now, you will become pregnant and have a baby boy, and you are to name him ‘Jesus.’ 32 He shall be very great and shall be called the Son of God. And the Lord God shall give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he shall reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom shall never end!” 34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.” 35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit shall come upon you, and the power of the Almighty One shall overshadow you; so the baby born to you will be utterly divine the Son of God Himself. (Luke 1:26-38)
The long awaited and greatly anticipated liberation would now commence with the birth of a God/man blend called Jesus. His arrival on spaceship earth (about 4000 years after Adam’s transgression) was without pomp or circumstance and in less than posh surroundings:
4 “Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in the country of the Galilee to the town of Bethlehem. It was known as the city of David. He went there because he was from the family of David. 5 Joseph went to have his and Mary’s names written in the books of the nation. Mary was his promised wife and soon to become a mother. 6 While they were there in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to give birth to her baby. 7 Her first son was born. She put cloth around Him and laid Him in a place where cattle are fed. There was no room for them in the place where people stay for the night.” (Luke 2:4-7 – NLV)
Once born in the form of human flesh, Jesus Christ lived a rather benign life for roughly 30 years. When the time was just right, the “Anointed One” commenced to circulate a potent message leading up to the fulfillment of a singular mission: to seek and to salvage a lost civilization (mankind). Jesus is also called by another title ” Emanuel (Isaiah 7:14 ” KJV), which means God is with us. As such,
- He is fully God and fully human thus a “relative” to us all
- He is our Kinsman- Redeemer, and our Liberator
- He is our entry point and pathway into the dimension we often call eternity
- He came from infinity to live briefly on the time line
- He is the Light being that stepped into the darkness of planet earth
Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man. The breach produced by our congenital sin nature is what keeps us separated from the unseen giver of all life. Jesus is the doorway through which we gain access to an eternity reunited with our creator. He is also the road upon which we find our way home.
The only way all people can have the opportunity to choose or reject the gospel of Jesus Christ is for us, without judgment, to invite them to follow the Savior.“ – Clayton M. Christensen
Perhaps some of this information that I am sharing today is nothing new. You may have heard it all before and some of you may even believe it. Others may not. To everyone – searcher, skeptic and Bible thumpers alike – we hold these Biblical truths to be quite evident:
- The “sin” nature is inherent (it’s genetic), and all human wickedness is fundamental to our fallen nature (Genesis 3, Romans 7:14″25)
- Sin brought separation from God both spiritual and physical to humanity (Genesis 2:17)
- Sin merits a never-ending separation (spiritual death) from a holy and righteously divine creator (Romans 6:23)
- Sin cannot be overcome on our own no matter how desperately we try to do what is right (Romans 7:14, 15)
The Liberator Jesus alone can give us freedom from our depravity and grant us a pardon from our well-deserved condemnation. As Divinity in the form of humanity, our Kinsman-Redeemer came into this world to both buy us back (redeem) and to set us free (save). Like an attorney in a court of law, Jesus is our advocate who has obtained for us a timeless acquittal.
Now, just In case someone is still wondering why we need to be rescued at all, let’s break it down one more time: We are all reprobates marooned on a dying world, and estranged from the God who made us. We cannot meet the standards of a holy and righteous Creator without His direct involvement.
Therefore, behold the solution: The Liberator Jesus. Christ alone claims to be the chosen one of God. He is a genuine Superhero. Why? Because death could not stop Him; the grave could not hold him, and we cannot be set free from the chains of death without Him.
The good news ” He’s waiting to show you the way back home. You need only ask. Really, just ask…
Almighty God, you are perfect Love. Jesus came because of love, and it is Your love that is calling us back to where we truly belong. Please help my friends see past the confusion so often caused by institutional religious agendas, false prophets and the emptiness of man-made philosophies so that they can get to know the real Jesus as a friend, a brother and our Liberator. Amen.
Joseph A. Cerreta, PhD., is a noted author, broadcaster, a popular Bible teacher and a rabbid Coastal Junkie®
For additional information write to: Coastal Life Ministries, P.O. Box 1283, New Port Richey, Florida 34656