Once a young prince, who was somewhat religious, asked his tutor to teach him what he needed to know so he could be prepared for death. His tutor said, “You have plenty of time for that when you are older.” The prince said, “No! I have been to the cemetery and measured the graves, and there are many shorter than I am.”
When death comes to someone we know, it should be a reminder and a warning to all of us that now is the right time to make your life right with God – today is the day of salvation – tomorrow may be too late.
John 8:24 – “That is why I said that you will die in your sins; for unless you believe that I AM who I claim to be, you will die in your sins.”
There are three things of utmost importance that we need to believe about Jesus – who He is, what He did/does, what He is going to do in the future.
I. Who Jesus is
The first thing we need to understand about Jesus is that He is the Son of the Living God. The fact that He is the Son of God is mentioned over 90 times in the Bible. If He is not, nothing matters. If He is, nothing else matters!
John 20:30-31: “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.” NKJV
The scriptures tell us that Jesus is the Almighty God, The Word was God, My Lord and my God, The Great God, Our Savior Jesus Christ, Wonderful, Counselor, The Father of Eternity, The Prince of Peace, the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, God Blessed Forever, The Christ, The Son of God, The Beginning and the Ending, The Holy One, Lord of All, Emmanuel (God with us), Joshua/Jesus (God is Savior), The Way, The Truth, The Life, The Great I AM, Immovable Rock, Omnipotent, Powerful, Awesome Lord, Victorious Warrior, Commanding King of Kings, Mighty Conqueror and Lord of Lords who will reign forever and ever.
Jesus of Nazareth was a great man, but He was more than a man. He was a great prophet, but He was much more than a prophet. He was, and is, the eternal Son of the Living God! Either you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, or you do not: 1 John 3:23 – “And this is his commandment: We must believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he commanded us.” NLT
1 John 5:13 – “These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.” NKJV
II. What Jesus did
The second thing we need to understand about Jesus is that He died for our sins to save our souls from hell, a fact that is mentioned about 175 times in the New Testament: 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures…” NKJV
Many humans have shown great courage and love by giving their lives to preserve the physical lives of others. But the death of Jesus was far greater. He died to save lives for all eternity. He left heaven to suffer and die on earth so that you and I could live with Him in heaven forever!
John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” NKJV
Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.” NKJV
III. What Jesus is going to do in the future
The third thing we need to understand about Jesus is that if we have believed that He is the Son of God and obeyed the gospel, then He is coming back again to take us to heaven, a fact that is mentioned 318 times in the New Testament. Acts 17:31 – “…because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by the Man whom He has ordained.” NKJV
2 Thessalonians 1:7-10: “And God will provide rest for you who are being persecuted and also for us when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven. He will come with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, bringing judgment on those who don’t know God and on those who refuse to obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with eternal destruction, forever separated from the Lord and from his glorious power. When he comes on that day, he will receive glory from his holy people—praise from all who believe. And this includes you, for you believed what we told you about him.” NLT
Jesus tells us that we don’t know when He is coming back: Matthew 24:36 – “But of that day and hour no one knows, no, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.” NKJV
Because of this we need to be ready at all times: Matthew 24:44 – “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” NKJV
The theme of the Bible can be summed up in three expressions: ‘Jesus is coming; He came; Jesus is coming again.’ The day He returns will be the greatest day in human history and is a great, thrilling and awesome teaching of the New Testament.
There is a lot we don’t know about it – there is a lot we would like to know about it – there are a lot of people who claim they know everything about it! Here is what we do know:
Jesus of Nazareth is the Son of God Who died, was buried, and raised to life on the third day, will someday return to resurrect all people who have ever lived, and judge them according to what they have done: John 5:28-29: “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” NKJV
When He comes back to take the saved back to heaven, will you be among them?
Revelation 20:11-15: “And I saw a great white throne and the one sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence, but they found no place to hide. I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books. The sea gave up its dead, and death and the grave gave up their dead. And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.” NLT