Why is Jesus so important?

Why are Christians intrigued by a lone historical figure from the distant past?

This question is particularly pressing when you consider that his life didn't seem destined for greatness. He was born into poverty, living in an obscure village. He didn't go to high school or college. He never visited a large city. In fact, he never traveled more than two hundred miles from the place where he was born. He was only 33-years old when the tide of public opinion turned against him, prompting even his closest friends to abandon him. He was then turned over to his enemies and was nailed to a wooden cross between two criminals. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth. After he died, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of an acquaintance. Yet almost two thousand years have come and gone, and today he is arguably the central figure of the entire human race. Why? It begins with his life.

Why his life matters

Christians believe the life of Jesus matters first because of who he was - God in human form - which was Jesus' claim for himself (for example, see John 8:48-59; 10:36; 14:6). Second, his life matters because of how he lived. As God in human form, he lived a perfect life and gave us the best picture of how life ought to be lived. Finally, his life matters because of what he taught. Christians sense within the teachings of Jesus an authority and truth that isn't found anywhere else.

Why his death matters

Christians believe that the death of Jesus matters because it was in our place. Sin in our life is serious business, and separates us from God leading to eternal, spiritual death. Jesus' death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin so that we wouldn't have to. Through the sacrificial death of Jesus, our relationship with God can be restored and spiritual death can be avoided.

Why his resurrection matters.

But Jesus' life and death pales in comparison to why Jesus matters the most to Christians - after his death, the Bible maintains that Jesus rose from the dead. This is what the celebration of Easter is all about: the resurrection of Jesus, which gives Christians the ability to trust in Jesus, have a new beginning in life, experience power for living, and look to the future with hope. As the Bible teaches, "Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven" (I Peter 1:3).

 

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