We believe that the reason life seems so empty, hard, meaningless and sad for lots of people is that we try to live our lives with ourselves at the centre rather than Jesus. We believe that he is the creator God who loves us and welcomes us as friends when he should really judge and reject us for the way we have treated him.
Christianity is Jesus Christ. If you remove him then there is nothing left. It is not about a series of ideas, it is not about sacred buildings, it is not about rules or ceremonies. Christianity is about Jesus Christ. Christianity is Jesus Christ. There is no-one else like him, and if you do not know him then you are in desperate need, whether you feel it or not. Here's why:
Jesus is God
When we think of God we are wrong to think of an old man in the sky, lonely and wise. We are even more wrong to think of an angry dictator. We are wrong to think there is only a force like the one in Star Wars or a god we can never know. We are wrong to think there is no-one there. The reality is that God is a community, a family of three people. God is a Father, a Son and a Holy Spirit. Sometimes Christians use the word 'Trinity' to describe God, but we could just as easily use the word 'family'. This is not a hard idea for us to grasp, because everything flows out of who God is. God made everything else, so the reality that true love matters more to us than true information is no surprise – it is because we were made for love, made for community, made for God. He made us like him, and so we live in community and we dread loneliness. Jesus is God the Son. There never was a time when he was not. He is the unmade maker of everything we see. The cosmos will only continue for another second if he upholds it with the word of his power. He is the Lord of life and death, the King of Glory, the Lord of Armies and the Prince of Peace. He is the beginning and the end. He is God.
Jesus became man
And he became a man! Why would Jesus do this? He became a man so that we could know God. He came to earth to show us that God is full of power and love and to draw our hearts to him and away from ourselves. It's hard to describe what this is like but maybe think about when your team scores a winning goal or when you see the person you love. It makes you think about them and not about yourself.
He did this so we can know
He came so that we can know. This might sound odd. You may well be thinking – 'well, I know lots of things, and Jesus isn't anything to do with that'. But Jesus is the Truth. Truth is not merely knowing things, it is not about thinking hard or working stuff out. Truth is a person. At first that sounds strange because we are used to being told that truth is about facts. But can there be true friendship? Can there be true love? These things ring true in our souls, and that is because truth is about relationships. It doesn't means that things or ideas can't be true – they can because God made the whole of creation to reflect who he is, so all truth is his truth. But it is truth that always points to relationship, that always points to Jesus. Jesus chose to leave the glory of the throne-room of light and love that is heaven. He chose to leave the love and joy of his friendship with God the Father. He chose to become a man, to enter into creation so that we can know the truth - he is the truth.
He did this so we can know ourselves
He came so that we can know ourselves. When we read about Jesus in the Bible, we read about one who is good, kind, honest, loving, faithful. We read about the one that we would love to be like. And then when we turn from him to ourselves we see dirt and filth. We see lives, actions, words, thoughts that we are ashamed of. Think about it this way - What would you hate your friend, your mum, your husband to know? Jesus knows. He knows, and his goodness he exposes our shame and guilt. It is an awful thing to know yourself to be guilty, but it is also something that frees us. It frees us from thinking we can ever be good enough that God would love us. We are rebels against the king, we are selfish and self-centred not centred on his giving love and glory. There is no hope of us improving ourselves. None. So when Jesus returns to judge, all we deserve is to fall on our knees and accept his verdict of guilty. All we deserve is death and hell for taking something as beautiful as a heart and person made in the image of God and destroying it with wicked selfishness and a life lived away from the one who made us. He made us and loved us and when we reject his love, we reject him as King. But he is a King, and will come in judgment.
He did this so we can know him
But he did not come to make us despair. He came to show us ourselves so that we will not look in but out. He came to show us that there is no hope for in ourselves. But that there is hope in him. He came to show us God and he came to die. Jesus, the only good man to have ever lived, died the death of a criminal, nailed by his hands and feet to a cross outside Jerusalem by Roman soldiers. As he hung there, God the Father poured out on him the fury and anger that we deserve for what we have done. Jesus stepped up and chose to die our death and suffer our hell. He took our place. He took the fall. We can be his friends, we can be welcomed and forgiven and accepted by him because he has done what we never could. He has been good for us, he has taken our wickedness and given us his goodness. He has paid the price of hell for our evil so we can enjoy friendship with him forever. We can know him, not as guilty criminals but as free, forgiven friends. This is why it is all about Jesus. Being a Christian isn't about being good – we aren't. It isn't about being clever – we aren't. It isn't about knowing religious secrets – we don't. It is about Jesus. It is about being loved by a God who stepped into the world, shouldered our guilt and killed it with him.
He did this so we can know love
And it doesn't stop there. Jesus loved us to death, and he loves us now. It is not the soppy love of a rom-com. This is the love of a warrior-king who came through the battle where he beat death and evil. He rose to life again – he had taken everything death could throw at him and broken it. He rose and he invites us to come to him. We can come to be forgiven, we can come and be welcomed into the family of God. He will lift us to the level of being children of God the Father, just like he is. He will give us God the Holy Spirit to live with us always, just as he lives with him. He will lift us to the love, friendship, joy and laughter of God. He will give us everything he is and has. There is no-one more generous, wonderful or kind than Jesus.
If you have been even a little bit intrigued, then come along on Sunday. Meet us, the people of Jesus, and see that we are nothing special. But see beyond us - see the Lord we are looking at. See Jesus.