The life of Jesus Christ is the most incredible story of all time. Not only is it the story of how God humbled himself and lived as a human being on this earth (John 1:1-18), but what he accomplished as Jesus affects every person that has ever and will ever live. Everything Jesus did he did for us.
The full account of Jesus’ life can be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John or more commonly known, the Four Gospels. Jesus was born to a virgin named Mary and her husband Joseph. Jesus was conceived in Mary through the Holy Spirit. Mary gave birth in Bethlehem. This fulfilled the prophecy that a great ruler would come out of Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). A star appeared in sky confirming that the Savior had been born (Matthew 1 & 2). Jesus lived the first 30 years of his life as a normal person. Like each one of us, Jesus had to learn to crawl, walk, feed himself and socialize with kids his age.
Jesus began his ministry at age 30 (Luke 3:23). John the Baptist, a revivalist, baptized Jesus in the Jordan River and a voice from heaven said, “This is my son, whom I love and with whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).” The Holy Spirit came down onto Jesus like a dove and remained on him (John 1:32). Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days where he was tempted by the Devil in every way, but he never gave into temptation. For everything Satan threw at Jesus, Jesus spoke the Word and stopped the Devil in his tracks. Satan fled (Matthew 4:1-11).
Jesus chose his disciples, which included Peter, a fisherman, Matthew, a tax collector, Judas, who later betrayed him and John (Matthew 10:2). Jesus went on preaching, teaching and performing many miracles. His first miracle took place at a wedding in Cana where he turned water into wine, thus revealing his glory, and the disciples had faith in him (John 2:1-11). Jesus healed a demon-possessed man who lived among the tombs and was wild. He would cut himself with stones and would cry out constantly. The townspeople bound him with chains on his hands and feet, but the man broke free. No one and nothing was strong enough to subdue the man who called himself Legion. He was possessed by many demons. When Jesus spoke to the man, or rather the demons that controlled him, the demons begged Jesus not to send them away. Jesus clearly had the upper hand in the situation and allowed the spirits to possess a heard of pigs. The wild man, who was finally free from demonic dominance, sat quietly, clothed and in his right mind. Oddly enough, this was when the townspeople became afraid and asked Jesus to leave (Mark 5:1-17). This story teaches us that Jesus had control over demons and they were afraid of him. It was not the other way around. Jesus will always have power over demonic forces no matter how extreme the situation.
Jesus fed 5,000 men with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus had the people sit down as he took the bread and the fish and gave thanks to God. The food was multiplied many times and the disciples fed every person there. Once the people were satisfied, the disciples gathered the leftovers, which filled 12 large baskets (John 6:5-15). Jesus often taught about sowing seeds and reaping a harvest. The seed is never as great as the harvest because the harvest is the seed matured and multiplied. Giving thanks to God and having faith in his power allows even the smallest seed to yield the greatest harvest. When we invest in the things of God, he takes what we give and does miraculous things with our “seed.” When we believe God without doubting, we give him permission to do more than what we can ask or even think (Ephesians 3:20).
John 11:1-44 tells the story of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead. Although this was not the first time Jesus brought life to the dead, this is the most popular of these accounts. Lazarus had been dead 4 days before Jesus arrived on the scene. Lazarus’ sisters were heart-broken. Jesus comforted the sisters assuring them that their brother would rise again. He commanded the stone of the grave be rolled away, gave thanks to God and called out to Lazarus. Lazarus came forward. Jesus showed that he had dominion over death, which is the thing many of us fear the most. Whether we have a fear of sickness, heights, flying or violent storms, it all goes back to an ultimate fear of dying. Obviously, there was nothing he couldn’t accomplish. Nothing (no-thing) was greater than he. That’s power!
The world had never seen anyone who had such authority over everything. In addition to the fore mentioned stories above, Jesus demonstrated his power to calm storms (Mark 4:35-41) and his ability to draw huge crowds through his teachings (Mark 3:9, Mark 5:24, Luke 14:25, Matthew 8:18, John 6:2). But one thing that was more tremendous than his amazing power was his love for people, not just those who followed God, but all people. In fact, his power was birth out of his love. Love was the cause and power was the effect (Galatians 5:6).
The story of Jesus’ life can be summed up in one word … love. When a woman was caught in the act of adultery, Jesus didn’t chastise and rebuke her, he simply said that he would not condemn her. His only advice to her was “to go and leave her life of sin (John 8:1-11).” There was a woman who had a severe medical issue. She was subjected to bleeding for 12 years. As the crowd was dense around Jesus, the woman fought her way through believing that if she could just touch him she would be healed. Jesus looked at the woman, referred to her as “daughter” and said that her faith had healed her. He blessed her and she went on her way (Luke 8:43-48). Jesus’ God-kind of love, or agape love, is unconditional. It is not based on the other person’s actions. Agape love is simply a choice to love a person no matter what. His love sees no boundaries or racial division. In the story of the Samaritan woman, Jesus spoke to a Samaritan woman about the issues of her past, particularly in her relationships. Instead of beating this woman down for having had so many husbands and shacking up with her current boyfriend, Jesus offered her freedom and salvation. The disciples returned to Jesus and were shocked to see him speaking with her. Historically, the Jews did not associate with Samaritans. Quite frankly, the Jews had a racist attitude towards them, but Jesus knew that racism, just as it is today, is an evil spirit. Jesus wanted to break down those barriers because he loves us all and equally. The woman gave her testimony to the townspeople and from that day forward, many Samaritans believed in Christ (John 4:1-42).
Of course, many religious leaders of the day often came against Jesus attempting to disprove his status as the Messiah. Jesus was a threat to many of these leaders, especially the Pharisees, because he spoke with such authority, wisdom and insight. Not only that, but Jesus demonstrated power through miracles. All the Pharisees had was doctrine and law without evidence. Their only job seemed to be to condemn people and point out their flaws and mistakes. Every time they tried to trap Jesus, he would respond wisely and they had no rebuttal (Matthew 22:15-22, John 8:1-11, Matthew 19:3-9, Mark 3:1-6). Jesus continuously proved the Pharisees wrong, not because he didn’t love them, but because he came to usher in a new way of thinking. For so many generations, people were under the law, therefore, blessings and curses were based on our actions. Jesus came so that we would be free from that law, forge a relationship with God and live under grace (John 1:17). After many unsuccessful attempts to eliminate Jesus’ influence with the people, the Pharisees illegally arrested Jesus with the assistance of his disciple Judas (John 18:12).
Kirby N. McKinney