THE SAVIOUR OF THE WORLD
In my letter to the Editor published in the Sunday Express of May 2, 2010 I wrote, "The book The Good Man Jesus and Scoundrel Christ may be even an attempt to bring Jesus nearer to the atheists separating from Christ. Many such books may come. But for the believer, Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow."
Referring to it, a Hindu friend of mine from Tamilnadu asked me to clarify the difference between Jesus and Christ, if Jesus Christ is the same person. That reminded me of a book A New Christianity For A New World written by a retired bishop John Shelly Spong where he refuted some of the basic beliefs of Christianity-the virgin birth, the saving power of the blood and the gift of salvation that was accomplished by His death, the certainty of the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the second coming of Christ.
Image Of God
That brings to mind the question the Lord Himself put to His disciples, "Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?" They said, "Some say John the Baptist, some Elijah and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets." He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" And Simon Peter answered and said, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." At present also, many people acknowledge Him as a great saint, an avatar, the topmost revolutionary and so on. But we should be able to answer as Peter, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt.16:13-17). And we should be able to show it to the world as Peter, the other Apostles and St. Paul did. "He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things are created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the dead, that in all things He may have the pre-eminence" (Col.1:15-18). All the prophecies about Him from birth to death on the cross and resurrection were fulfilled.
The Jews were expecting the coming of Christ. The Lord had promised, "I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness. A King shall reign and prosper and execute judgment and righteousness in the earth. In His days Judah will be saved. And Israel will dwell safely" (Jer.23:5,6). Oppressed by the rule of the Romans, they believed Christ will come to redeem them and establish His kingdom as promised. They asked John the Baptist whether he was Christ or not. John answered, "I indeed baptise with water; but One mightier than I is coming, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and with fire." Then Jesus came to Jordan to be baptised by him. After baptism and overcoming the temptations of Satan, He began His work.
Way, Truth And Life
And He revealed His godliness in His words and actions. When Moses asked God, what he shall say to the people of Israel when they asked His name, God said, "I am who I am," and asked him to tell the children of Israel, "I am has sent me to you." Similarly, the Lord asserted, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst." "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." "I am the good shepherd." "I am the resurrection and life. He who believes in Me though he may die, he shall live." "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." "I am the vine, you are branches." He affirmed, "I and My Father are one," and "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." He did many miracles, healed all the sick who approached Him. Above all, He forgave their sins and declared that He had power on earth to forgive sins.
And for this purpose He offered Himself at the altar of the cross as the Lamb of God to take away the sins of the world. He shed His blood for remission of sins. "God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." Having thus obtained mercy, grace and salvation, what we are to do?
We are to carry out His purpose. It is not enough to be hearers; we are to be doers. Reflecting His glory, witnessing to and praising Him, doing good and helping others, we are to lead a Christian life.
The risen Lord appeared to His disciples and apostles. "He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptised will be saved." After the Lord had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven. As He had promised, they received the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost when they were all with one accord in one place. And the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Thus filled with the Holy Spirit we are bound to carry on His commandments and commission.