A few years ago, the Coca-Cola Company had great success with a commercial jingle that said, “Try Coke: it’s the real thing.” I want to recommend that you try plain, undenominational Christianity. It is the real thing.
We have a real Savior…Jesus of Nazareth. Not a myth nor a legend, not a misguided dreamer, not just a good man or a wise teacher. We have Jesus the Son of God, born of Mary while she was yet a virgin (Luke 1:26-35). He was born in Bethlehem of Judea during the reign of Herod the Great, while Augustus Caesar ruled Rome and Quirinius was governor of the province of Syria (Matt. 2:1; Luke 2:1-2). The year would have been 4 B.C., for later in that year Herod the Great died.
Jesus was raised in the home of Joseph the carpenter of Nazareth. He learned His stepfather’s trade (Mark 6:3). At age 30 Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan River (Matt. 3:5, 13-16).
The following 3 1/2 years Jesus spent as an itinerant preacher among the Jews of Palestine. He went about doing good and healing all that were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). He taught in their synagogues, ”…preaching the gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23). He showed Himself to be approved by God…by His mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by Him in the midst of the people (Acts 2:22).
Resenting His great popularity, the religious leaders of the Jews plotted to have Him arrested and delivered up to the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate (Matt. 27:18). They falsely accused Him of many evil deeds: “perverting our nation, forbidding to give tribute to Caesar and saying that He Himself is Christ a king” (Luke 23:2). False witnesses were suborned to testify against Him. He was tried before four different courts. His fellow Jews pronounced Him guilty and worthy of death. Pilate and Herod both found no crime in Him (Luke 23:1-14). Intimidated by the angry mob and the threats of the Jewish leaders who implied that an innocent verdict would be a failure to honor Caesar (John 19:12), Pilate allowed them to murder a man who had done no wrong.
This innocent man was beaten and then crucified between two thieves. This they did to heap more insult and abuse on Jesus, implying He was a common criminal (Luke 23:33). After hours of suffering and verbal abuse by the bloodthirsty crowd, He surrendered His spirit to God (Luke 23:46). He was buried by His mother and friends in a tomb belonging to one Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy man who had longed for the coming of Messiah (Luke 23:50-51). At the insistence of the Jewish leaders the tomb was sealed with a Roman guard to see that no one disturbed it (Matt. 27:62-66).
On the third day, which was a Sunday, the tomb was found empty. The stone was rolled back and the Savior’s body was missing. This struck fear in the hearts of those responsible for His death. They remembered His talk about being raised from the dead. Thus they paid the Roman guards a large amount of money to spread the report that His disciples had stolen the body (Matt. 28:11-15). The resurrected Jesus appeared to His apostles on several occasions. They saw Him, they touched Him, they ate with Him, they heard Him. In all, above five hundred people saw Him (1 Cor. 15:6). After 40 days among them He gathered the apostles on the Mount of Olives and gave them their commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15). Then before their eyes, He ascended into heaven from whence He had come. Angels were there to console the apostles and remind them He would one day return (Acts 1:8-11).
Today His kingdom has spread around the world. Millions have embraced Jesus as their Lord and lived and died for Him (Acts 2:38-42). You have the wonderful privilege to become His disciple and enter His heavenly kingdom, which is His church (Matt. 16:18).
Jesus will one day return to raise the dead (John 5:28-29). Our material world will be consumed by fire (2 Pet. 3:10). He will judge all of humanity (Acts. 17:30-31), assigning a home in heaven to the saved and eternal punishment in hell for those who refused His offer of salvation.
My friends, this is the real thing. Please don’t allow it to slip by you. The consequences of that would be disastrous for you.