Who Was and Is Jesus
Presbyterians believe Jesus was... Fully human, fully God. Jesus proclaimed the reign of God: preaching good news to the poor and release to the captives, teaching by word and deed and blessing the children, healing the sick and binding up the brokenhearted, eating with outcasts, forgiving sinners, and calling all to repent and believe the gospel. Unjustly condemned for blasphemy and sedition, Jesus was crucified, suffering the depths of human pain and giving his life for the sins of the world. God raised Jesus from the dead, vindicating his sinless life, breaking the power of sin and evil, delivering us from death to life eternal.(Brief Statement of Faith, Lines 8-26)
Jesus was born of a woman--Mary; in a particular place--the Middle East; to a particular people--the Jews. He was born as a helpless infant who hungered, cried, had to be changed and grew as all babies grow. As a grown man, Jesus knew all of the feelings humans know--joy, sadness, discouragement, loneliness and longing. Yet, Jesus also trusted completely in God and was without sin.
Jesus' actual ministry on earth was short--approximately three years. Because his teachings challenged powerful religious and government leaders, he was executed as a dangerous and seditious criminal. He died, was buried, and was resurrected by God. For Christians, this resurrection is God's most amazing miracle and proof that Jesus was indeed divine.
We believe that Jesus is as alive today as he was on the first Easter morning and that he is present with us today, even though we cannot see him or physically touch him. We call Jesus "Lord" because he has saved us from the power of death and the power of sin and because, through his sacrifice, we are able to know the fullness of God's love for us.
Christians also believe that Jesus will one day return to the earth to complete the task of creating a world where justice, peace and love rule and evil is no more. To those who believe in Christ, such an event is seen not with fear but with joyful anticipation. Because Jesus showed that not even death can stop God's purpose and God's activity, we know that we have life and hope forever.
(Copyright © 1997, PresbyFax, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Louisville, KY.)
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