To many he is just a man who lived 2000 years ago, who did and said many good things, then unfortunately was killed on a Roman Cross. To others, he is nothing at all—they don’t even think about him unless to use his name as a curse word.
To eleven of his disciples, Jesus was both Savior and Lord. They had been with him during his three-year ministry. Some of them watched him die and be buried. All of them (plus many others) saw him alive again many times during the following 40 days before he ascended into heaven. Their lives were transformed by Jesus’ Resurrection from the dead. Although afraid for their lives when they had seen Jesus arrested, they later became bold in preaching the good news about Jesus, even though they knew it might cost them their lives. In fact, most of them did die as martyrs, preferring to die rather than renounce their faith.
The apostle Paul—formerly a hater of the followers of Jesus—was transformed after meeting Jesus (after Jesus’ ascension) on the road to Damascus. Then, because of his love for Jesus and faith in him, he endured many trials and persecutions as missionary to nearly all the then-known world, and he wrote many of the books of the New Testament. Luke, the physician who thoroughly investigated all these reports and became convinced they were true, then wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts in the Bible. He also considered Jesus Christ to be Savior and Lord, truly God and truly man, alive forevermore.
Every week, my husband and I receive mail from several ministries telling of people who have been transformed, such as The Jesus Film Project, BGEA, Samaritan’s Purse, Wycliffe, One Hope, Jews For Jesus, Chosen People Ministries and others. Some report that Jesus has appeared to people through dreams and visions. This makes them want to find out who he really is and when they do, they ask him into their lives. Jesus is in the business of transforming hearts and bringing joy and peace to people. Sooner or later, everyone will make a decision about Jesus.
The following poem tells who he is to me:
Son of God, My Savior
You paid the ransom with your blood to set me free.
You welcomed me with open arms and let me be
adopted as your own joint heir,
protected from the devil’s snare,
sheltered from the world’s worst care.
Praise God, you ransomed me.
How could I not receive your love? You rescued me.
Deception’s trap had sucked me in; you salvaged me.
Confusion, loneliness and pride
had tried to drive me from your side.
But in your love I still abide.
By grace, you pardoned me.
Futility would be my lot without your love,
without the constant hope of life with God above.
You turned the light on in my soul.
You cleansed from sin and made me whole.
To love and serve you is my goal;
You liberated me!
(Thank you, Jesus.) — Judith Vander Wege
To learn the backstory of this poem, check out my new book, Rescued by God’s Mercy, at Amazon.com