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Jesus – Letter Explaining Why I Believe

March 31, 2010

(Second half of letter in response to email about my blog.  Read first half:  “The Bible – Letter Explaining Why I Believe“)

Why is Jesus Such a Big Deal?

I was planning on spending half of this letter talking about why I feel the bible is true and the second half on why Jesus is the “end all be all”.  But it is already 11 pages long!  So, what to do?  Perhaps I’ll just add a few points about Jesus.  I’d love to go in more detail but I don’t want to risk loosing your attention.  I know that I’ve given a ton of information here that I know I’d take a while to absorb.  If this letter has perked your interest and not bored you, then let me know and I’d certainly be willing to talk a lot more about the reasons why Jesus is so important.

It is absolutely imperative that you understand His significance.  Without Him, there is no Christianity and the bible has no point, because the bible is all about Jesus, from beginning to end.  You say that you have read the bible cover to cover several times.  However, if you haven’t read it with the perspective of it being all about Jesus Christ, you have totally missed the point.  It’s like watching the movie or reading the book “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” and totally missing that Asland the lion is an analogy to Jesus and that Edmond represents us.  You may think it is a good story, but you’ve totally missed the meaning, the point.

As I mentioned in the last letter, the reason why people are unable to understand the truths of God is because we are all blinded by our sin.  They are looking through a window that is so dirty they can’t see clearly, but they are unaware to the fact their vision is affected.  Sin is the great human problem.  Many people think they are wise, that they know how the world works and how to fix it.  But since most people have not faced the reality of their own sin problem their “wisdom” is ultimately folly because they can never get to the real source of the trouble with society, and therefore have no real solution.  A few people understand that the problem is really our sin, but they lack the power to do anything about it.  It is only God who is wise enough to see the problem and strong enough to have the power to fix it.  He did this once and for all on the cross through the death and resurrection of Jesus.

The debt we owe because of our sin has left us with a major problem.  We are separated from God.  We are all doomed to hell because God is just and must hold people accountable for what they have done.  Because of our sin problem we are in desperate need of a mediator, someone who can stand between the holy, perfect, sinless God and mankind.  The only person who could ever fill this role is Jesus Christ, the God-man.  He can put his hand on you on earth and God the Father in heaven.  He is the only one who can pay this debt that we owe.  And He did.

Because of his sinless life on earth, death in our place and His resurrection and victory over sin and death, only Jesus can forgive sin.  He is the only one equipped to actually solve the sin problem.  So yes, He is the end all be all.  The bible actually gives Him the title “Alpha and Omega”, literally “A and Z”, or beginning and the end.

Do you understand the significance of this?  No other religion in the world claims anything like this.  Their founders were only humans who taught what people have to do to make themselves better, hopping they could be good enough.  It is only Jesus who actually addressed and conquered the sin problem.  Without Jesus and His accomplishment of victory over sin, we have no way to be made right with God.

Jesus is prophesied by God in the Old Testament as I’ve shown already.  Even as early as the Genesis chapter 3 right after the fall of man, after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden, we get the first prophecy of Jesus.

“So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” ~ Genesis 3:14-15

We see that through the “offspring of the woman” will come one that will crush the head of the serpent, Satan, and Satan will harm Him as well.  This is the only time that word that is translated here as “offspring” is used in conjunction with a woman in the bible.  It could latterly be translated “seed of the woman”.  This is the first prophecy of the virgin birth. It describes that someday one will come that will crush the enemy under His feet.

Again, Later when God makes a covenant with Abraham He elaborates further about how all nations will be blessed by one of Abraham’s descendants (Genesis 12:1-3, 13:14-17; 15:1-7; 17:1-8).

Then Moses, the deliverer of Israel (and foreshadow of Jesus), spoke of the true deliverer that was coming.

“Moses continued, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites. You must listen to him. . . I will raise up a prophet like you from among their fellow Israelites. I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell the people everything I command him. . . I will personally deal with anyone who will not listen to the messages the prophet proclaims on my behalf.” ~ Deuteronomy 18:15,18,19

This theme echoes over and over throughout the whole Old Testament.  In fact all the Jewish scriptures point forward to the promised Messiah that was to come.  Even today, Jews who do not accept Jesus still wait for Him to come. Ironically, even that is foretold in the Old Testament.  The scriptures even promise that the Jews will reject the Messiah and not believe in Him.

“He will keep you safe. But to Israel and Judah he will be a stone that makes people stumble, a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare. Many will stumble and fall, never to rise again. They will be snared and captured.” ~ Isaiah 8:14-15

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” ~ Isaiah 53:3

“I am a stranger to my brothers, an alien to my own mother’s sons” ~Psalm 69:8

Indeed, the entire point of the Old Testament is to point forward to the person and work of Jesus Christ.  In the book of Genesis there is an important event where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son, Isaac.  God had promised that it was through the descendants of Isaac that a nation would come.  Now God tested Abraham’s faith and asks him to kill his son.  Abraham loves his son but trusts God.  There are so many mirrors to the sacrifice of Jesus for our sins.  First, God asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son.  He is a special child, born through a miracle (like Jesus) and promised beforehand.  Also, Isaac willingly obeys his father and does not object to the act.  Both Jesus and Isaac are willing to die at the hand of their fathers.  Isaac carries the wood for his own sacrifice upon his back, like Christ.  Then there is Abraham’s faith in God’s ability to raise his son from the dead if he asks him to make the ultimate sacrifice.  All of these point forward to Jesus.

At the last moment “the Angel of the Lord” (many believe Jesus Himself) calls to him and stops him from killing his son. Instead a ram is provided to take Isaac’s place as a sacrifice for sin.  The analogy is clear to Jesus who takes our place by dying on the cross and pays for our sin.

Because of Abraham’s faith, God reaffirms His convent with him that he will cause his descendants to be as numerous as the sand on the seashore and that through his descendants all nations will be blessed.  It is Jesus Christ (a direct descendent of Abraham) who fulfilled this prophecy, allowing all nations access to God (not just the Jews).

In the book of Exodus, God raises up a deliver, Moses to redeem His people from slavery and bondage in Egypt.  This points towards the day when the great deliver, Jesus the Christ, will come redeem His people from slavery and bondage to sin and death.  In Egypt He finally brought His people out of captivity by the death of the first born sons of all the Egyptians, signifying how God would sacrifice His firstborn son for us.  For the Israelites, death “passed over” their first born sons because of the blood of the spotless lamb that was spread over their door posts.  This was meant to teach the Israelites about the blood of the perfect lamb, Jesus Christ, that would be shed on their behalf, so that God’s wrath would “pass them over”.

The blood is placed on the doorframe signifying the blood of Jesus as the gateway to relationship with God.  To avoid the wrath of God required faith expressed by the action of spreading the blood over the door.  Today the wrath of God is avoided by faith in the lamb and trusting in Him as our gateway to God.

God told the nation of Israel to set up the Passover as a yearly observance so that they would never forget this lesson.  God even drives this point home by having the death of Jesus on the cross occur during the Passover celebration.  His death occurred at the very hour the Passover lamb was traditionally slain.

During the Passover meal unleavened bread (without yeast) is broken and shared with all.  This is to show that the body of Jesus Christ (pure with no sin) would be broken for us.  The wine was to symbolize the blood of the lab spread over the door posts, indeed the blood of the perfect lamb, Jesus Christ shed for us.

In Leviticus God establishes the animal sacrifice as atonement (payment) for sin.  He establishes the order of Levites as priests and a high priest who will perform the animal sacrifices for the sins of the people.  On Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) the high priest entered the Holiest place in the presence of God and made a sacrifice for the sins of the people.

Jesus is our High Priest who offers a permanent sacrifice (one time for all) for the sins of His people.  Only He can enter the “holy place” in the presence of God because He himself is holy.  He is also the innocent lamb that is slain for our sin.  The sacrifice He offers is his own life and His own blood.

“Under the old covenant, the priest stands and ministers before the altar day after day, offering the same sacrifices again and again, which can never take away sins. But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.” ~ Hebrews 10:11-12

I could literally go through every book of the Old Testament and show how it clearly points forward to Jesus.  I’m sure you have lost patience with me by now so I will spare you from that.

Jesus spoke to people in his day that read the scriptures faithfully (like you have) but did not recognize or realize they were all about Him:

“You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet you refuse to come to me to receive this life.” ~ John 5:39-40

Jesus is the one who came from the Father full of the Spirit.  In Luke 3:21-22 you see the picture of God the Father speaking from heaven publically attesting that, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”  We see the Holy Spirit descend on Jesus in the form of a dove.  Jesus was indeed Himself God, sent by the Father, and empowered by the Spirit.  He was here for the specific purpose to redeem mankind to God and to die to pay our penalty as only God Himself could.

You say you believe in God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  But they both point clearly and conclusively to Jesus.  To know Jesus is to know the Father.  To know the Spirit is to know Jesus.

“If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” ~ John 14:7-11

“But I [Jesus] will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.” ~ John 15:26

“He [the Holy Spirit] will bring me [Jesus] glory by telling you whatever he receives from me.” ~ John 16:14

Further the apostles, the eye-witnesses, point to Jesus.  The amazing work of the Holy Spirit through the apostles after Jesus left points directly towards Him.  The historical reality that 3000 people were converted in a single day in Jerusalem because they heard Peter preach in their own languages, points towards Jesus (for Peter preached Jesus).  The many miracles that account for the spread of the gospel in the early church, testify to the Son.

At some point every one must decide what to due with Jesus Christ.  You can’t get away from Him.  His existence is historical fact.  His miracles are independently verified and attested to.  People can choose to just not believe it if they want.  But they do so against an enormous body of evidence.  In my opinion this takes more faith than believing He is God.

Some opt for believing He was just a good moral teacher.   This position makes the least sense of all and yet it is the one many people take.  The ex-atheist and author C.S. Lewis makes an excellent point about this:

“I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: “I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.” That is the one thing we must not say. A man who said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

You see, you can’t say a person who claims to be God and the only way to get to heaven is a good moral teacher.  He is either a blatant liar, totally crazy, or he is what he claimed.  Liar, Lunatic, or Lord.  His life, His miracles, His death, and His resurrection attest to the validity of His claim.  Fulfilled prophecy shouts it.  His disciples (those that knew Him best and were eye-witnesses to His life) believed it so strongly they were willing to die for it.  The question you must answer is the same one He asked Peter:

“He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” ~ Matthew 16:15-17

I’ve droned on long enough.  I apologize that this is so long.  However, there is a TON of good information in this letter.  Please see this as genuine love and concern for you.  Believe me, there is certainly other things I could have done with these hours.  But, probably nothing more important and certainly, nothing more crucial for you.

I will be praying hard that God will open the eyes of your heart so that you can clearly see His truth.  I know that this truth can only make sense to one who He is drawing.  As Jesus told Peter, it must be revealed by the Father.  Please let me know if I can be of any more help or if there are any questions I can answer.

Praying for you,

Jake McWhirter

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. April 1, 2010 11:32 am

    In a flash I had confidence in Christ and I knew I had eternal life.

  2. Bright permalink
    October 13, 2015 7:24 am

    I have been reading your message concerning Jesus for more than a week, and I have been revived and bless. I’m a child of God but the blogs established my faith more than before, God will continue to guide and endow you with understanding of himself (God).
    I want ask question about tithe, is it mandatory to pay tithe as pastor holds it so important?

    • philippians1v21 permalink*
      October 15, 2015 9:37 am

      Bright,
      Thank you for the encouragement. I am glad you have found what I have written helpful. With regard to your question about tithing, I have relied to a similar question already on this page. Please see my comment to Abby here: Comment #55.

      God bless,
      Jake

  3. Bright permalink
    October 15, 2015 9:47 am

    I have been blessed in so many ways since I came across this site, God will continue to guide and pour His anointing of power and renewals upon you. He will uphold you to the end in Jesus name.
    I got a question concerning tithing, cos many pastors emphasise to this topic. Is it mandatory to pay tithe?

    • Bright permalink
      October 16, 2015 1:20 pm

      I was bless through the answer given on tithing, God will continue to use you for our generation the more in Jesus name.
      I have a question concerning what apostle Paul says in 1 cor. 14 vs 34, does this verse apply to today’s churches or why do Paul say that?

      • philippians1v21 permalink*
        October 16, 2015 2:32 pm

        Bright,
        Glad I could help.

        You ask a tough question about 1 Cor 14:34-35. I am sure you would get as many different answers as people you asked on this one. There is not a great consensus on this issue.

        Many scholars and theologians view this comment by Paul (and similar remarks elsewhere) as only relevant to the specific culture Paul was in at the time. Many people see no modern distinction or segregation of the roles of men and women in the church. Such a viewpoint is what is called the Egalitarian position. Churches that believe this will ordain female pastors and elders. They stress passages in the bible (like Gal 3:28) that show the equality of men and women and that God doesn’t discriminate. I cannot argue in support of or defend this position, as I do not hold it.

        The other perspective is called the Complimintarian position. Those of us who hold this view agree that men and women are indeed created equal by God (in His image) but that, just like the individual members of the Trinity, men and women have distinct and separate roles. Complimintarians see this reflected in the Godhead. The Son is equal in power and worth with God the Father, yet he submits to the will of the Father. He accepts a separate and unique role from the Father and allows the Father the role of headship and leadership. The submission of the Son to the Father does not make the Son of lesser value, power or worth. Rather, it is a sign of strength and character.

        Similarly, Complimintarians believe that God has appointed men and women to have separate but complimentary roles. Men and women reflect different aspects of God and when they fulfill their intended roles, their combined contributions better reflect the image of God. Men are called to be the head of the family and the Church. Women are called to submit to the male leadership God has placed over them. This act of submission does not demean or belittle women. It is a display of strength, trust, and inner beauty. For some verses that support this view consider what Paul says about husbands and wives in Eph 5:22-33 and Col 3:18-25 as well as 1 Tim 2:11-15. Peter also addresses this subject in 1 Pet 3:1-7.

        If you want my opinion, I do not believe that we can dismiss such passages as merely relevant to their specific culture. This is because, in several of the passages above, Paul grounds his argument not in culture but in the created order and the events in the Garden of Eden (i.e. man was created first and then woman, or it was not man that was deceived but woman, etc.) As such, I think we must view the roles of men and women as different.

        This means that in the church men and women will have different jobs and must behave in different ways. I do not believe that women are permitted to be pastors or elders. We do not have any in our Church. There are no biblical examples of female elders. I do see biblical president for women filling some leadership positions, though. We see Phoebe called a deacon in Rom 16:1. We also see that women are allowed to teach other women and children.

        I also don’t think that in the 1 Cor passage you asked about that Paul means that women can NEVER speak in church. Since Paul seems to permit wives to pray and prophesy (see 1 Cor 11:5, 13) as long as they do not dishonor their husbands by the way they dress (1 Cor 11:5), it is difficult to see this as an absolute prohibition against all speaking in church (cf. Acts 2:17; 21:8–9). Paul is likely forbidding women to speak up and judge prophecies (since this is the activity in the immediate context; 1 Cor. 14:29). Such an activity would subvert male headship.

        So, to answer your question directly, my opinion is that the passage you asked about in 1 Cor 14 is saying that women are not to judge and interpret prophecy in front of the congregation. Additionally, I think there are remarks in 1 Tim 2 that indicate women should not be in an authoritative teaching role over men. To me, this means women are not to preach or hold offices of authority, like elders. This does not prevent women from sharing testimonies, praying, sharing prophecy, singing, etc. in front of the congregation.

        It should also be noted that Paul is telling us the ideal scenario. He is describing the way it is designed to function. This does not mean it can’t function any other way. I know there are wonderful female pastors who have led many to faith in Christ. God has used them. I am not saying they cannot do the job, or that God will not use them. Rather, that it is not ideal situation. Many single mothers do a great job and raise amazing kids. However, that was just never the intent. God never intended for mothers to be in the business of raising kids without a father around. Similarly, many women have stepped up and filled the role of pastor and elder in churches and have done a fabulous job. But, this is not the ideal and not the best arrangement. It functions better when Godly men step up and lead and when Godly women submit and follow. When this occurs the distinctiveness in our two natures best reflect the image of God.

        God wants husbands to be good leaders. He wants us to be good fathers. He wants us to be the head of our families and be correctly fulfill the role of pastor, protector, and provider for them. When this is happening, the ideal is that we can be the spiritual leader of our wives and children. We should be the first place they turn when they have a question about the bible or about God. This is why Paul instructs wives to ask their husbands questions that come to mind in church. This allows the husband to be her pastor and spiritual leader. Again, this is the ideal situation. Many men cannot or will not fulfill this role. But, it is always my goal to help men get to that place. When this is happening the intent of God’s design is occurring.

        Hopefully that helps some. That was a very short explanation. Much more could be said on that subject.

        Jake

  4. Bright permalink
    October 18, 2015 12:31 am

    I really appreciate your feedback on tithing enlightenment, God bless you sir.
    I got some interface questions about working for and especially through our money. We could see that our pastors of nowadays believe in building massive auditorium and big churches, they keep demanding for church expansion. They build schools that part of the church members who contributed through their tithe and offering can not avoid for their children.
    I now think of it, if I see people that are in need of help (especially among the church members), and I decided to assist in separating certain amount for them for certain months to boost their lives. For example, instead of paying tithe to my church, I decided to dedicate (I’m sorry for using the word ‘dedicate’, I think is more polite here) it for such person for the next three to five months. Is it not acceptable as God’s work? Most of pastors don’t care about their members life, they believe praying for them alone is enough. I think there’s need to contribute to people life’s from what we earn from the church.

    • Bright permalink
      November 16, 2015 11:20 pm

      Why did God hated Esau?

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