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Sunday, April 08, 2007

this jesus, pt. 1 - listen

On Acts 2:22-36...

Easter morning... I'm going to tell you the story of Jesus as clearly as I know how to do. People are here for different reasons. Maybe it's your first time back to church in a long time. Maybe you are here visiting a relative or friend. Maybe you are a long-time church member and you are here like any other Sunday. Whoever you are, in some form or fashion, you are here because of Jesus Christ. It is Easter because of Jesus; we're in church because of Jesus. So, if you've heard it before, listen again, you might hear something new. If you haven't heard it or it's been a long time, listen, this is the story that is at the heart of it all.

Listen: Jesus the Man (v. 22)

"Listen to these words." That's how our text begins.

Listen: Jesus died on a cross.

Jesus… the Nazarene… the miracle-worker… crucified at the hands of the Romans.

The starting place is the historical Jesus. He's a figure in history, mentioned not only in the Bible, but also in other histories of the times. If you could time-travel, you'd find him there… a first-century Palestinian Jew, a wandering Rabbi-Teacher, a man with a following. While you might question the miracles, you'd find a trail of people who would tell you they'd been healed, freed of demons, and confronted with a man like no other.

Whatever else he is, Jesus is not a figment of our religious imagination. He is not a Zeus or Apollo, created by human minds to explain the unexplainable. He is at the least a man who lived and died, with a life documented by eye-witnesses who were his followers and some who were not.

To claim that he was less than that is to not be honest, or at least be deceived.

Listen, Jesus was a real person… and even two thousand years later, that cannot be convincingly denied.

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