Hallelujah! Today is Easter – Resurrection Day!
I read this Oscar Leske Facebook post a few days on the group Christians and Jews United for the existence of Israel (Closed Group). It is some good preaching from a guy who wants you to know he is not a Pastor or ordained Minister.
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JESUS: THE GREATEST LOVE WORTH FINDING
Posted by Oscar Leske
April 18 at 10:42 AM
Facebook Closed Group – Christian and Jews United for the existence of Israel
WHO IS JESUS?
A more lonely humble beginning is impossible to imagine. It was an unpretentious stage entrance of the Son of Man, the Son of God. God in human form presented upon earth’s stage. The infant cry of the newborn baby came clearly and for the very first time deity was articulated directly in sounds expressed through a human body. God has come and He is with His people; He is Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt.1:23)
There were no newspapers that heralded the coming of Christ. There was no announcement that the Redeemer had come. There was no one who was publicly saying, “This is the Savior of the world.” Unknown to the major populace of that day; in Bethlehem, the least among the cities, was born the Savior. What a humble entrance and when I read that story I wonder at it. Only God could have written such a script. You and I would never have thought to draft such a story. Here deity invades humanity. Here eternity invades time. Here royalty invades poverty. Just imagine the awe and wonder of this humble entrance of Christ into the world. The Lord of glory laying upon straw, the Creator in a cradle, the Savior in a stall. The Sovereign of history welcomed by the shepherds of the hillside! God sent His Christmas gift to this earth nearly 2,000 years ago. It was the gift of Himself – deity wrapped in humanity. What a story, what profound truth is wrapped up in this thought; that God came here to be one of us. Immanuel, God with us.
GOD MANIFESTED IN THE FLESH
When God chose to reveal Himself, He did so through a human body. The hand that touched the leper had dirt under its nails and the tears He wept came from a heart as broken as yours or mine will ever be. We have a God who has condescended to come and live in the midst of our suffering and pain and to help us face it and conquer it. Because God is with us, we have the confidence to face the challenges of life. Whatever problems may come our way, God is with us. There is no challenge that will ever come to any child of God that will be bigger than the ability of God to handle it. Jesus came into the world to be the Savior of lost mankind. I’d love for you to understand that this unique person is the only hope of lost mankind.
So many people that I know, who take a stab at religion, have a view of God as someone distant and unapproachable, someone who cannot be reached or who cares little about the mundane things that happen on this earth. But the God of the Bible is Immanuel, God with us; God coming down to be one of us. Literally; God walking around in the body and Person of Jesus Christ! The deity of Jesus Christ is an undeniable truth from the Bible. He is God in man. He is the Son of God and He is God, the Son. It is the truth that we will probably never really comprehend fully with our finite minds.
The reason Christ Jesus came into the world was not to establish a religion, but to give LIFE. In the Gospel of John the word “life” occurs 44 times, and the word religion not once. Jesus Himself tells us why He came. He said in John 10:10, “I have come that they may have LIFE…..”
The obvious question is “What kind of person needs life?” From God’s point of view, the problem of man is not just that he is a sinner in need of forgiveness; his greater problem is that he is DEAD and in need of LIFE. We are born into this world in the image of Adam – dead spiritually. And dead men don’t need help; they need life. Salvation is the process of passing from “death” to “life.” It is not just something Christ did for you; it is Christ Jesus Himself living in you. Christ laid down His life for us so that He could give His life to us. We receive life the moment we accept Him as our Savior.
GOD REACHING DOWN TO MAN
Here we have God reaching down to man because man could not reach out to God and in His hand was salvation. That’s why the writer of the book of Acts says it this way, “Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).” That’s the only name; salvation comes by no other way but through Jesus. [Blog Editor: Bold text my emphasis.] No church, no priest, no religion, and none of your good deeds will save you; only Jesus. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him (Jn.14:6,7).” He is the ONLY way to heaven. Jesus said, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to LIFE, and there are few who find it (Matt.7:13,14).”
Do you want to get to heaven? Then you have to go through the name of Jesus. It’s exclusive! You may say, “Well, aren’t there many ways to heaven?” No! There are a lot of ideas about how to get to heaven but there is only “one way.” Some folks may say to me, “Hey Oscar, that’s awfully narrow-minded or that sounds sort of bigoted to me.” You know, I don’t like to be called narrow minded nor do I like to have people tell me I’m narrow minded, but I’d like to be just as narrow minded as the Word of God is. Because you see the Bible says that every person will walk either one of two paths; a narrow way leading to LIFE, or the wide path leading to DESTRUCTION (Matt.7:13).
Those that get admitted to heaven are going to have to pass through the narrow gate – that of faith, discipline and endurance. It’s an illustration to us. What Jesus is saying to us is that the way to heaven is narrow and few find it. Jesus also said there is a broad way that leads to destruction. An example of this is religion, which is a broad way but it isn’t going to get you to heaven. The people that are going to go to heaven are going to go on God’s condition and terms; not ours. There is only one way in which a person is going to go into the presence of the God of this universe and that is through faith in what His Son came to this earth to accomplish. Nobody will be going to heaven because of what they have done – only because of what Christ Jesus has done. [Blog Editor bold text emphasis] “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is no one who does good, no, not one; for all of us have sinned and all of us have fallen short of the glory of God (Rom.3:10,23).” That includes you and me. And so the only reason, the only way that we’re going to go into the presence of God is when we have accepted God’s provision for us in His Son, Christ Jesus. “There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby you must be saved.”
Now in the world in which we live, the gate is wide and broad – the life of self-indulgence and pleasure. Then you have all the various religions and those religious but lost who go to church for social reasons, but who don’t know the Lord from Adam and still call themselves Christians (counterfeit Christians). There are people who have been going to church most of their lives and have never heard the gospel message. In a lot of the churches today, the Gospel is never proclaimed and so the gate is wide and broad and is the way that leads to destruction.
But there is only one way to get into the presence of God and that is accepting what God has said about you and me: that we’re sinners and that we’re dead. This has a consequence to it; it’s called “spiritual death” and that’s what you are saved from. You’re not saved from sins (Jesus has taken away all the sins of the world) but you’re saved from the consequence of sin which is (spiritual) death or separation from God and the gift of God is eternal life in His Son.
Only a living saved being (alive spiritually) is going to go into the presence of a living God. We were all born dead spiritually and the only way we’re going to go into the presence of the living God is to be made alive spiritually and the only source of LIFE for us is the life of the resurrected Christ Jesus. He said, “I am the resurrection and the LIFE. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live (Jn.11:25)” Jesus is telling us here that ONLY He has the power of “resurrection” and of “life” in His hands. That’s the narrow way.
If we never turned to Him by faith we remain dead. Dead spiritually and God is Spirit and so we can’t have a relationship with God if we don’t have the spirit in us because God is not flesh and bones. God is Spirit and so we must have the Holy Spirit to interact with God. It says in John 4:24, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” And so we as believers who have the indwelling Spirit of God in us can worship God in spirit and truth.
There is only one God. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who became a man and dwelt among us as the only begotten Son of the Father! It is not the case of being narrow minded. It’s the case that He is the only One whose blood was of such value that it could take away the sins of the world and through His resurrected life He can offer you “life” eternal. Your religion can’t give you “life.” Your church can’t give you “life.” Your priest or Pope can’t give you “life.” The only One is God, Christ Jesus, who has a “life” to give. Christ Jesus was raised from the dead, and His resurrection is the restoration of LIFE!
Buddha didn’t come back from the grave. Muhammad didn’t come back from the grave. None of the Popes came back from the grave. The New Age Gurus didn’t come back from the grave. None of these came back from the dead. Only Christ Jesus came back from the dead and was witnessed by the apostles and some 500 more witnesses (1Cor.15:4-6). Only Christ Jesus was resurrected from the grave and is alive and now sits at the right hand of God, the Father (Acts 2:33). Only Christ Jesus has a “life” to give and the moment you put your faith in Him, the Spirit of God comes to reside in you and you are made alive, spiritually. From that moment on, you have life eternal and you have a personal relationship with God never to be separated from Him again for all eternity. Isn’t that great news? (Read Romans 8: 9-11)
There is only one way by which you can enter into that relationship with Him and it’s called by faith. It’s not through works; creeds, sacraments, confession booths, priests or anything or anyone else. You’re not going to become a child of God sitting in church any more than you become a chicken sitting in a hen house or a car sitting in the garage. You’re going to become a child of God when there comes a point in your life when you say I’ve had it and turn in faith to Christ Jesus. You can’t become a child of God on your own merits, or through any works that you do.
If you were to stand up before God and He said to you, “What have you done to deserve to be in My heaven?” How would you answer Him? What would you say? “Oh, well, I’m a good person.” No you’re not! There is only one person who is good and that is God and you’re not God (Mk.10:18). So do you have any other excuses? You’re not going to be judged by someone else or by any of your peers as to whether you’re going to heaven or not. You’re not going to be judged by any man. There is only One who will judge you and that’s Jesus. He really knows where your heart is at and Jesus knows whether or not you’re faking it or whether or not you have been truly converted through putting your faith in Him. So, do you still want to play church or do you want to get a LIFE that only He is able to give you? Ask yourself, “Am I in Christ or am I in a religion?” Don’t fool yourself! God knows every little thing about you. You can fool others around you, but you can’t fool God. I have one other question for you: “Why in the world would you want to self-destruct, to rationalize your life away and to be separated from God for all eternity by rejecting His Son, Christ Jesus?”
This is why it is so critical for you to know that the barrier between God and sinful man has now been taken away at Calvary’s cross, and a bridge has been built between the two through the person of Jesus Christ (reconciliation). The reason that God has removed the sin barrier is so that whosoever will come to Christ by faith can be made alive in Him. That is why the ONLY thing that will ever condemn a man to hell is simply his refusal to accept LIFE. [Blog Editor bold text emphasis.]
Who did Jesus claim to be?
Unlike any other revelation of God, Jesus Christ is the clearest, most specific picture of God revealing Himself to us. Throughout the major world religions you’ll find that Buddha, Muhammad, Confucius and Moses all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them ever claim to be equal to God. Surprisingly, only Jesus did. That is what sets Jesus apart from all the others. He said God exists and you’re looking at Him. Though He talked about His Father in heaven, it was not from the position of separation, but of very close union, unique to all humankind. Jesus said that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father, anyone who believes in Him, believes in the Father (John 14:7-11).
He said, “I am the light of the world, he who follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of LIFE (Jn.8:12).” Our Lord here draws an analogy between the sun as the physical light of the world and Himself as the spiritual light of the world. He claimed attributes belonging only to God: to be able to forgive people of their sins, freedom from habits of sin, give people a more abundant life and give them eternal life in heaven. Unlike other teachers who focused people on their words, Jesus pointed to Himself. He did not say, “Follow my words and you will find truth.” He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father but through Me.” The truth is not in the abstract but in the Person of Christ Jesus. He is God in the flesh and He created you and me along with everything else on earth and He knows it all (John 1:3).
There are so many references in regards to who Jesus claimed to be, that I am only going to quote eight.
- John 10:30, “I and the Father are one.”
- John 8:58, Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was, I Am.”
- John 5:43, “I have come in My Father’s name ………….”
- John 6:38, “For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”
- John 6:51, “I am the living bread which came down from heaven ………”
- John 16:28, “I came forth from the Father and have come into the world.”
- John 7:29, “But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.”
- John 17:21, “that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. [Blog Editor bold text emphasis.]
Your future and eternity hinge on how you respond to Christ. As Jesus declared, “If you do not believe that I am the One I claim to be, you will indeed die in your sins (John 8:24).”
WHAT DOES SCRIPTURE CLAIM HIM TO BE?
The first chapter of the book of John nails down Jesus’ deity.
- John 1:1-5. In the beginning the Word (Jesus) already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God. God created everything through Him and nothing was created except through Him. The Word gave life to everything that was created, and His life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
- John 1:10-13. He came into the very world He created, but the world didn’t recognize Him. He came to His own people, and even they rejected Him. But to all who believed Him and accepted Him, He gave the right to become children of God. They are re-born not from a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God (spiritual re-birth).
- John 1:14. And the Word became flesh (human) and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.
WHAT PROOF DID JESUS GIVE FOR CLAIMING TO BE DIVINE?
He did what no other person can do. Jesus performed miracles. He healed people; the sick, the blind, the crippled, the deaf, and raised people from the dead. He had power over objects such as creating food out of thin air, enough to feed crowds of several thousand people. He performed miracles over nature such as walking on top of a lake, changing water into wine, paying the temple tax by catching a fish with a coin in its mouth, restoring a severed ear, commanding a raging storm to stop for some friends. People everywhere followed Jesus, because He constantly met their needs, doing the miraculous. He said if you do not want to believe what I’m telling you, you should at least believe in Me based on the miracles you’re seeing.
In closing, I want to read to you a remarkable prophecy that the prophet Isaiah foretold about Jesus some 700 years before His birth. I think this prophecy describing the coming Messiah prophesied in Isaiah 9:6 best describes who Jesus is. Here is that familiar yet extraordinary verse of promise:
“For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”
Notice how accurate this prophecy is. Two different expressions are used. It says, “a Child will be born,” but it also says; “a Son will be given.” You see, Jesus did not come into existence at the time of His human birth; He’s eternal. He’s the eternal Son of God. He was not born as the Son of God. He was given as the Son of God. But, in human terms, He was born as a child. Do you see how accurate that is?
The prophet Isaiah also said that God would give us a sign: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God with us.” What a wonder! To think that God the Son would leave the splendor and glory of heaven and take on human flesh! That He would walk among us and show us the nature and character of the Father! That He would lay His life down for us; then through His resurrection conquered death on our behalf and gives us “life” everlasting!
Always remember this and never forget it: God created us and loved us so much and wanted a relationship with us, “That He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (Jn.3:16).” [Blog Editor bold text emphasis.]
The Bible is all about history. HIS.. STORY. Jesus, God the Son:
God with us
God in the flesh
God who came down from heaven and dwelt among us
God who made the world
God who created us
God who offers us “life” everlasting
JESUS: THE GREATEST LOVE WORTH FINDING
Oscar Leske – Understanding the Signs of our Times homepage
About Oscar Leske
Who am I? My name is Oscar Leske, I was born in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. After graduating from high school in Drumheller, Alberta in 1965, I moved to British Columbia and later on in 1969 moved to the West Coast, to Vancouver, BC. After 31 years of marketing and sales I retired in 2002.
I want to begin by telling you that I’m not a pastor, preacher or minister. In fact, I’m not even a religious person, as far as religion goes, but I do love Jesus for what He’s accomplished for me on Calvary’s cross in offering me hope, salvation, reconciliation, and life eternal. It is a personal relationship with God, the Father, through His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus. Having a relationship with God has nothing to do with religion and it has everything to do with Jesus and what He’s done for us and not anything of what we can do to earn righteousness – we can only cling to His righteousness. The difference between relationship and religion is the same as the difference between done versus do. Let me explain: God did not come to earth to start a religion. He did not create us to start a religious following. As God, He needs nothing. He did not create us to be His servants as God has all the angels in heaven to look after and administer to all of His needs. The plain truth is that God doesn’t need us! So why did He create us? What was His purpose for creating you and me?
Scripture clearly tells us that God created man for His pleasure, for His fellowship, so that we can have an intimate relationship with God – it’s called love. God created you and loves you so much that He wants you to get to know Him and spend eternity with Him in fellowship. … READ THE REST