by Frederick Hoehn, copyright 2013. |
If you were to ask people in India, some might say that Mahatma Ghandi was very important. And certainly, he achieved some things for his nation, India.
People naming the greatest man might choose one of the military heroes. King David of Israel conquered the giant, Goliath, and had many other impressive military victories. David's close friend, Jonathan, was a mighty man of valor.
Alexander the Great conquered the then-known world. Napoleon conquered much of Europe. Some of the Caesars had very impressive armies.
We have military heroes from World War 2. General Patton defeated his opponent, Rommel in North Africa. General Douglas MacArthur had impressive victories, but got himself fired by President Truman for insubordination.
General Eisenhower was an important General who later became President.
Albert Einstein was thought to be a genius and gave us "E=M(C)squared," which led to the atomic bomb and electricity from nuclear power.
Werner Von Braun was important in rocket science.
If you ask Muslims, they might say Mohammed, who founded their religion, Islam. If you look just at the numbers of Muslims, there are more than a billion of them.
But Muslims are not born-again like it says in John chapter 3, so just large numbers of people are not the main thing.
Solomon had a reputation for being the wisest man.
So who is the greatest man who ever lived? None of the above.
The greatest man who ever lived is Jesus, who is also called Christ.
Jesus is wiser than Solomon.
He is the greatest teacher there ever was. He performed great miracles of healings. He raised the dead. He cast out demons from people.
He is the founder of Christianity, which replaced Judaism as the most important religion. Both Jews and Christians believe the Old Testament part of the Bible. But today's Judaism doesn't accept Jesus as Messiah.
Because the Jews mostly don't accept Jesus as Messiah, they'll be deceived into accepting a counterfeit Messiah, who is the Antichrist, also called the Beast.
Jesus informed us that after we die, we go either to a beautiful heaven or a fiery hell, and that we must be born again to go to heaven (John chapter 3).
He lived very modestly so that others could become rich. He walked on water. (Matt 14:26)
He taught a lifestyle that had previously been pretty much unknown.
He was the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies. He was the Jewish Messiah, or savior, even though many of the Jews rejected him as their Messiah. But Jesus is also the savior of the gentiles.
Jesus' earthly ministry didn't begin until he was about thirty years old. He went and got baptized by John the Baptist. John the Baptist said of Jesus, "He is the one that baptizes with the Holy Ghost," and John said Jesus is greater than John.
God sent John the Baptist ahead of Jesus to prepare the way for Jesus. John preached that men should repent, or turn around, and get right with God, and John baptized people in water.
Those who obeyed John were then in a good position to receive the teachings of Jesus when Jesus began his earthly ministry.
Jesus prayed about it, and then selected twelve disciples.
He taught the people and he taught his disciples.
In fulfillment of prophecy, Jesus was born of a virgin, and born in Bethlehem. He later lived in Nazareth, fulfilling another prophecy that the Messiah would be a Nazarene.
Jesus taught, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6) The Father means God the Father who lives in heaven.
You don't get to heaven except by Jesus. If you don't make it to heaven, then you do go to a fiery hell, Jesus said, and he said that most people go to hell. (Matt 7:13,14)
(When you die, it's only your body that dies. Then you, the person who lived in that house that was your body, either go up to heaven, or down to hell, where there's weeping and gnashing of teeth, where their worms don't die, and where the fire is never quenched, says Jesus.)
But when we say "world's greatest man," it would be good to remember that although Jesus lived a life on earth for about thirty three years in a man's body, he was somewhat unlike other men.
He was in a category by himself.
My mother bore two children to her husband, my dad. After my mother gave birth to me, which of us was older, me or my mother?
That's easy, my mother, of course. And that's how it is all across the world. But in the case of Jesus, he was older than Mary, who gave birth to Jesus.
How can that be?, you might say.
Jesus was born of a virgin. He had no earthly father. Joseph, the husband of Mary was Jesus' step-father. After the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary had at least six children the normal way.
Jesus' Father was God. God's spirit made Mary pregnant with Jesus.
But Jesus was present with his father, God, at the creation of the world. God said, "Let us make man in our image." Who is the "us"? The "us" is God the Father and Jesus.
The creation of the world was thousands of years before Mary came along, which is why I say that Jesus was older than Mary.
Thousands of years of history on earth went by from Adam to Mary before God told his son Jesus, "Now it's time for you to go down and live your life on earth."
Jesus cooperated with God's plan. Lived a life on earth. Taught the people. Healed them. Raised the dead. He cast demons out of people who were afflicted by them. Jesus' adversaries who didn't believe in him got him arrested, though he had done nothing wrong.
Jesus was sentenced to death by an unjust governor and was crucified. On the third day after his death, God raised his son Jesus from the dead.
Jesus went and appeared to his disciples, and to more than five hundred Christians. Jesus rose up to heaven and now sits at the right hand of God.
John 3:16 tells us that Jesus is the only begotten son of God. (King James Version)
Did this begetting by God of his son Jesus happen two thousand years ago?
No, because the creation of the world happened probably at least six thousand years ago.
The original begetting of Jesus by God, his Father, had nothing to do with Mary. At the time of that begetting, the first woman had not yet been created.
How did God beget a son without a woman? Well, you see, God is the God who speaks things into existence.
God said, "Let there be light, and there was light," the Sun, the Moon, and the stars.
So God begat a son without a woman, and then together, God the Father and Jesus his son did the creation.
We have said that Jesus was the greatest teacher. What then, did Jesus teach?
Jesus taught, "You must be born again." (John chapt 3)
The word must is an imperative. It's something you've got to do.
So then, after Jesus has told the world that we've got to get born again, does everyone get born again?
Unfortunately, no. Jesus does want everyone in the world to know what he has said. But preachers and missionaries are required to get that message to the world.
The gospel message has not gotten out yet to the whole world. We Christians need to pray for that to happen, and some of us must go and preach the gospel.
But even among those who've heard the gospel message, not everyone obeys it. In fact, Jesus told us most people go to hell. (Matt 7:13,14)
And how does someone get born again?
You get born again by believing what Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man comes to the Father except by me." (John 14:6)
God the Father is in heaven. You go to heaven by believing in Jesus.
The Apostle Paul was not yet on the scene during Jesus' earthly ministry.
After Jesus' crucifixion and rising from the dead, and ascending to heaven, the Apostle Paul came along and wrote about half of the number of books in the New Testament, one of which was the book of Romans.
Paul shows us that you get born again by hearing the gospel message that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, (Rom 3:23), the wages of sin is death, (Rom 6:23), if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you're saved, (Rom 10:9,10).
You get saved by believing and by obeying Romans 10:9,10. Confess Jesus with your mouth and believe in your heart.
No money involved. Salvation is free. Believe and receive.
So that's all there is to it? No, that's not all there is to it. That's how you get born again. And then, once you're born again, Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments," and "Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things I say?"
Once we're born again Christians, we're supposed to do the things Jesus has told us to do. But how can we do what Jesus said if we don't know what Jesus said?
And how do we find out what Jesus said? By reading the Bible. But lately, I listen to the Bible being read on compact discs more than I read the Bible. You can do it either way.
But we need to find out what Jesus said so that we can do what Jesus said.
One thing Jesus said is, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." (Also called the golden rule.) (Luke 6:31)
Jesus said we should love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength. (Mrk 12:30)
Jesus said, "Men ought always to pray and not faint." This fainting doesn't mean passing out on the floor. It means fainting spiritually, pulling back from following the Lord, pulling back from working out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil 2:12)
Jesus wants his Christians to get baptized in water. I happen to have gotten baptized at an Assembly of God church. Many Protestant churches can baptize you in water.
But in Acts 1:8, Jesus tells us about more power that he wants his people to have. You get this power when you get the Baptism with the Holy Ghost with the speaking in unknown tongues.
It's an unknown tongue (language) to the person doing the speaking.
Jesus is the baptizer with the Holy Ghost. If you're a Christian, ask Jesus to baptize you with the Holy Ghost. When you pray, believe that you receive the things you ask for, and you shall have them. (Mark 11:24)
When Jesus baptizes you with the Holy Ghost, the Holy Ghost gives you words to speak in a strange language you never learned. Then you add your voice, and speak out those words.
And God understands all languages.
After receiving the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, we should pray some every day in the unknown tongue.
We should read the Bible every day.
We should speak the word of God, meditate on it and do it. (Josh 1:8)
Scriptures quoted are from the Holy Bible, Hoehn Version, and the New Testament, Hoehn version, copyright 2011. Both are available as ebooks for the Kindle reader at Amazon.com
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