What does a crude fisherman, a religious scholar, an immoral woman, and a blind beggar have in common? They all have a need only God can meet. In this Bible study, you will have the opportunity to become familiar with real people who met Jesus during his brief life here on earth nearly 2,000 years ago. You will be able to see that these people were ordinary men and women who faced similar personal and social challenges we face today. The supernatural power that Jesus demonstrated to help these individuals is available for us also.
Nobody wants to be a slave. Yet, many are in captivity but do not know it. There are many types of imprisonment. Freedom is a value desired and sought by all people.
¨ The refugee seeks asylum and political freedom.
¨ The sick man seeks healing and physical freedom.
¨ The poor debtor seeks money and financial freedom.
¨ The shamed prostitute seeks honor and emotional freedom.
¨ The religious man seeks forgiveness and spiritual freedom.
There is only one way of finding freedom: it is by way of the truth. When you search for truth, you will meet Jesus.
Who Is Jesus Christ?
There is no person in history as polarizing as Jesus Christ. His actions are powerful and his words are even stronger. Many love him and have even died for their faith in him! Others, however, are offended at the mention of his name and refuse to listen to his teachings. Each of us will decide what we will do with Jesus – receive or reject him. But before you rush to judgment, please take time to consider who Jesus is and what he has done.
Below are the first few written statements from the record of John, one of Jesus’ closest friends. Notice that Jesus has many titles and names which describe him, including “the Word”, “Creator”, “life”, and “Light of the world”.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1,2,14)
Here we see written that Jesus is “the Word” who is from the beginning. He was with God, and was God. He became flesh and lived on this earth nearly 2,000 years ago. While he was here, he showed the glory of God, proving that indeed, he is God! Jesus revealed that God is a Person and desires to have a relationship with mankind. God reveals himself to us in the written Word of God, the Holy Bible. Therefore, we must listen to His words and obey them.
Next in verse 3, we see the power of Jesus, as he is the Creator of all things. “All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. As Creator, Jesus is the rightful owner and ruler over this earth. He is our authority to whom we should submit.
We then learn in verse 4 that Jesus possesses life and is the Light of the world. “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
If Jesus is God who created this world, why did he need to come live on this earth?
The prophet Isaiah lived about 700 years before Jesus and said the following about the coming Saviour of the world:
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; (Isaiah 61:1)
Jesus affirmed this while teaching publically. In fact, he quoted this prophecy and announced that he had come to fulfill this work. He came to give mankind liberty from captivity!
But what are we in bondage to? From what do we need rescued? What does Jesus want to do for each of us? What is the good news that He came to proclaim?
Let us consider the testimony of John the Baptist:
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. (John 1:6-8)
This man named John was the cousin of Jesus of Nazareth. Our family and relatives know us best. They know our faults and weaknesses. But notice what this man says about his own family member Jesus.
John the Baptist said in verses 9 and 10 that the true Light came into the dark world, yet the darkness comprehended it not.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (John 1:9,10)
Sadly, Jesus was not welcomed by his own people: the nation of Israel rejected the Light, Jesus Christ. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not” (verse 11). The nation of Israel (Jews) refused to have Jesus rule over them. The reason they rejected Jesus is the same reason many reject him today. Simply put, “Men love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil” (John 3:19,20).
Yet, the rejection by Israel opened the door of opportunity to all other nations. “But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12,13).
Whoever will receive Jesus as their own Saviour may become the children of God! Jesus declared, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).
Another reason many do not believe on Christ is simply because they don’t understand who he is and why he came. You see, what we are learning here is spiritual truth that must be accepted by faith.
John the Baptist had the important responsibility to prepare the way for Jesus as the Messiah (the chosen one of God to deliver the Jews). He was a preacher of sin, righteousness, and judgment. Those who repented and believed his message were baptized in the river.
John proclaimed that Jesus is to be preferred before him as he deserved to be given greater honor. He again wrote that Jesus must increase because he came from above (Heaven), and is above all other people (preeminent on earth).
Jesus’ cousin John also said that Jesus came before him. This is interesting because, Jesus was born three months after John the Baptist. So according to birth order, John was older than Jesus! But John referred to the fact that Jesus’ existence was from the beginning of time. Remember it is written in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus].” In other words, Jesus has existed from the beginning of time. Notice what claim Jesus made in John 8:58, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” Abraham had lived about 2,000 years before Jesus!
A fascinating statement is made in John 1:17, “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” With contrast to Moses, who gave the Laws (Ten Commandments), Jesus came to give us grace and truth. The law condemns sinners, but grace forgives sin!
Jesus has priority and preeminence over the greatest Jewish fathers Abraham and Moses, because he is the eternal God!
John declares in verses 29 and 36 that Jesus is “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” When Jesus declared to others that he was God and had the ability to forgive sin, people became angry. Why? Because forgiveness of sin is a work only God can do. But if Jesus is truly God as He claimed, then he certainly has the ability and authority to forgive our sin!
So let us return to the questions “Why did Jesus come” and “What does he want to liberate us from?” Simply put, Jesus came to deliver us from sin and its consequences of death and separation from God. He came to restore the relationship of sinful mankind with our Holy God in Heaven.
Jesus is the true light in this world of darkness and provides spiritual freedom for those who believe on Him. But before you make a decision for or against Jesus, please read about others who met him personally and had their lives changed by him.
You will learn the following about Jesus Christ:
On the following page there is a map of the area where all the stories in this book took place nearly 2,000 years ago. Every account is true as found in the Holy Bible. The map is a reference for the places you will read in each story.