Christianity – What is it?

Christianity is the story about Jesus Christ. He became a well-known preacher in Israel who traveled through the land preaching the good news of salvation. He declared that he came as the Son of God to give life to everyone who would follow him as their Saviour. The reality for all mankind is that all will die, yet Jesus promised that he will give life to all those who believe and follow him (John 3:16-17).

The first 4 books of the New Testament tell the story about his life. The Lord Jesus faced great opposition because of this message so that he faced constant threats from the leaders in Israel until finally they crucified him on the cross. He told his followers that he was going to die, for his purpose in coming to this world was to give his life on the cross to pay for their sins but after three days he would rise again from the dead. On Good Friday he died on the cross, and three days later he rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. His resurrection changed the course of world history for he alone has conquered death and now lives. His resurrection broke the endless cycle of death.

Because Christ had the power to overcome death by his resurrection it means he also has the power to give life to everyone who looks to him for help. On the day of Pentecost, in the first sermon recorded in the New Testament Church, the apostle Peter declares to the people in Jerusalem that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead. Many people went to the place where Peter was because they had heard the sound of a mighty wind. At that time there were many visitors in Jerusalem from different countries and therefore they were amazed when they heard the Christian believers speaking each in their own language. The crowd wondered about what was happening, so Peter stood up and said, “What you see and hear is the work of the Lord Jesus who is raised from the dead” (Acts 2:22-24).

Peter says, when the Lord Jesus was still living with you, he did miracles, wonders and signs among you to prove that he really was sent by God. Then God, according to his plan handed him over to you and you with the help of wicked people, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. After Peter spoke, the city of Jerusalem was abuzz with the news that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead so that many people began to believe in him and worshiped Jesus Christ as their Saviour.

However, the leaders in Jerusalem “were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead” (Acts 3:3). They were afraid of the effect the teaching of Christ’s resurrection would have on the people so that they arrested the apostles Peter and John and put them in prison. The apostles and new believers were now persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ, however this persecution did not deter them. The Christian Church continued to grow in Jerusalem, for many who heard the message of Christ’s resurrection believed and daily new members were being added to the church.

The message of Christ’s resurrection quickly spread out from Jerusalem for many believers had to flee from the city because of persecution and everywhere the believers went they spoke about his resurrection. The believers were excited to share the message about Jesus Christ telling everyone that Jesus Christ died for the sins of his people, but he now lives and is the Saviour of the world.

According to the apostle Paul, the whole Christian faith depends on the resurrection of Jesus Christ. In fact Paul writes to the believers in Corinth, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins” (1 Corinthians 15:14, 17). Paul argues, if Jesus Christ is not raised from the dead, then there is no hope for anyone, for it means that death is the end and we will perish eternally. But if Christ is really raised from the dead, it means that no one can ignore him for he alone has power over death and he gives life to all those who believe.
Simply, the Christian message proclaims Jesus Christ as the risen Lord who alone has conquered death and gives life to all those who believe and serve him as Lord.

About Rev. Matthew VanLuik

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