My name is Graham, I’m a follower of Jesus. I wasn’t always one. When I was much younger I had ideas that I would be in charge of my life. I had the usual dreams of being famous, rich, or popular. Well life doesn’t work out quite like that.
I had heard a bit about Jesus at school, and for a while I even went to Sunday School, and although I liked most of what I heard, I now know that there was a lot that I didn’t understand back then. I believed in God, I would pray when I really needed help, sometimes read the Bible, but something was not falling into place. My friends and I had a many discussions about religion and Jesus in particular. Over time I came to understand that being a Christian is not just about knowing a whole bunch of facts from the Bible. It’s about knowing a person – Jesus. And knowing why we need to know Him. (Just to explain, He is often called Jesus Christ, the word Christ is just another word for Messiah – so Jesus is the Messiah, the deliverer that God promised He would send)
Firstly, as I found out, we need to know who he is. He is the eternal Son of God who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born as a human being. Christians have a sort of shorthand for this and say that Jesus is God in human flesh.
Then, we need to know about His life, what He did. The most important event of His life was when he was nailed to a cruel Roman cross and died. That wasn’t for any crimes he had committed, the religious hierarchy of the time hated him for exposing their hypocrisy and they devised a scheme to have him killed. It involved betrayal, false accusations, an unfair trial and unjust execution. But it doesn’t end there, behind the scenes God had a plan in all of this. What God was doing was punishing Jesus for the things that we have done wrong that have offended Him. They are called sins, and they are really serious, because every one of us will stand before God and be accountable for everything we have done. He will judge us for those sins and our rebellion against him. How do we know that the death of Jesus was for our sins. Well after three days, Jesus came back to life again? He was seen by many of His followers, even about 500 at one time, so there’s plenty of evidence that He is alive. That proves that His death was not like everyone elses.
So, since Jesus was punished for our sins and is alive, what do we need do about it, how do we apply that to ourselves?
Well this is the important bit that I mentioned before. It revolves around faith. Not just believing about all the things that happened to Jesus. We actually need to believe in Him. The Bible makes it clear that we need to know, believe and trust in Him. As I said it’s about knowing a person. And that’s the bit that took me a while to grasp. Once I knew that I could speak to Jesus, trust Him, ask Him to forgive my sins and make me a new person, it was the start of a new way of life.
And that brings me to the third point. Jesus was a great teacher. He taught his disciples and the crowds that followed him many truths about God, faith, ethics, and living life. Once we have met Jesus, those teachings are life changing. And this is what He does, He changes and keeps on changing our lives for the better. Our part is to follow His teaching. His part is to change us right inside the deepest part of our being. And that’s what’s been happening in my life since I trusted Jesus. Lots of things, all for the better by following His teaching.
He has guided my life through many circumstances, even led me to change my job from being an Electrical Engineer in Telecommunications to be a Church Pastor. That’s what I do now, and wouldn’t change it for anything.
As a follower of Jesus, I can say that His decisions are always wise. He makes the lives of His people much more meaningful and relevant than they could by themselves. Life with Jesus has purpose. He puts inside us a deep sense of forgiveness, peace and a gentle happiness that we call joy. When I read about the troubles lives of many rich and famous celebrities, I know that what I have, because of Jesus, is far better than all of their wealth, popularity and material possessions.
The way of Jesus is far better than the dreams I had those many years ago.