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Christians are people who follow the Lord Jesus Christ. His story is told in the Bible.

Jesus was born some two thousand years ago in a small town called Bethlehem in Israel, at a time when that country was under the control of the Roman Empire. From the age of thirty he began to travel about the country preaching that the Kingdom of God [God’s rule] had come and calling people to repentance and faith in God. He miraculously healed multitudes of sick people, delivered those who were spiritually oppressed and worked many other powerful miracles.

Jesus’ teaching concerning life in the Kingdom of God was radical. He said that we should love God with our whole being and other people as ourselves. He taught that the laws of God applied to our motivations and not just our behaviour. He said, for example, that if we hate someone, we murder them in our heart or if we lust after someone, we commit adultery in our heart. He often confronted those whose religion was nothing more than hard-hearted formalism. He also taught strongly on the love and mercy of God towards sinners [breakers of God’s moral law] and modelled that love and mercy in his friendships with the “unacceptable”.

Jesus attracted large crowds of disciples but also antagonised others who were jealous of his popularity and stung by his attacks on empty religiosity, which they saw was aimed at them. After three years he was betrayed, falsely convicted and handed over to the Romans who executed him by crucifixion in an act of political expediency. Three days later, however, his tomb was found to be empty. He had risen again! Over six weeks he met with his disciples, proving himself to be physically alive again. He walked with them, talked with them, touched them and even cooked and ate with them. On one occasion he met with a crowd of over five hundred disciples. He finally ascended bodily into heaven, in plain sight of those who were with him.

Christians understand that Jesus is no ordinary man. Having considered the evidence of his life and teaching his first disciples quickly came to realise that he was none other than God himself in human form: fully a man - and fully the one true God. Jesus’ own words and actions confirmed this in many ways: his forgiveness of sins; his changing of God’s laws; saying that he would preside at the final judgement; statements like, “The Father [i.e. God] and I are one”, as well as his many miracles, left no room to doubt. They also realised that his death was no ordinary death either. They saw it was the realisation of what was pictured in the sacrifices which were offered in the temple and the fulfilment of prophecies from hundreds of years before such as, “… he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities …”.

The Christian message is simple. We have all sinned [broken God’s moral law] and deserve punishment. We are unable to save ourselves. However, Jesus, the man who is God, offered himself as a sacrifice in our place, that is, in his death, he took the punishment which was rightly ours. Now, if anyone will put their trust in him as the one who took their punishment, they will be forgiven for all eternity for all they have done wrong. Not only so but Jesus promises that all who trust in him will become God’s children and God’s Spirit himself will come and dwell in their hearts to make them new on the inside so that they can learn to live as he lived.


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