For instance, He said:
• “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst” (John 6:45).
• “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).
• “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture” (John 10:9).
• “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep” (John 10:11).
• “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25).
• “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” (John 14:6).
• “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman” (John 15:1).
When the Samaritan woman told Jesus, “I know that Messiah cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things,” He replied, “I that speak unto thee am he” (John 4:25–26).
To Pilate’s question, “Art thou a king then?” Jesus answered, “Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice” (John 18:37).
The disciples heard Jesus’ testimonies and they also saw His works.
Let’s assume that we are standing before some of the first Christians and are able to ask them why they are believers. The following conversations might take place.
“Peter, why are you a Christian? You were a man who knew how to assert yourself. You had an occupation, a livelihood. You were happily married, and apparently you also had a good mother-in-law. You were a leader; a true Israelite who had both feet firmly planted on the ground. You knew what you wanted. You did not waste your time when it came to drawing your sword. In one sentence, can you please explain why you became a Christian?”
Peter: “I can tell you why in very few words: ‘We believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God’ (John 6:69). ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Matthew 16:16). In other words, the other apostles and I lived with Him, heard Him, and got to know Him because we were with Him almost daily for three years. That is why I am quite certain that Jesus is indeed the promised Christ. And that is why I, a Jew, have come to believe in Jesus.”
“Paul, why did you become a Christian? You were a Pharisee who strictly obeyed and enforced the law. You were an educated man, but you hated Jesus and His Church, and you persecuted them to the point of death. You tried to force Jesus’ disciples to deny His name. Why have things changed so radically?”
Paul: “I became a disciple of Jesus because something completely extraordinary happened to me as I was travelling to Damascus to persecute the Christians there, ‘I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest’” (Acts 26:13– 15).
“Apparently this was a great turning point in your life. But Paul, what do you think today? Before your experience on the road to Damascus, you tried to suppress faith in Jesus. As an educated Pharisee, you could surely have had a brilliant career.”
Paul: “ ‘Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ’ (Philippians 3:8). ‘None of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God’”(Acts 20:24).
“John, why did you and your brother, James, become Christians and leave your father’s boat, your livelihood and your career? You were ‘he-men’ and were even known as the ‘sons of thunder’! It might easily have been said about you two, ‘Better not upset them!’ But now you, John, are called the ‘apostle of love.’ Will you explain that, please?”
John: “Certainly. ‘That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us’” (1st John 1:1–2).
“So you still maintain today that the life of Jesus and the life that He gives are eternal?”
John: “Yes. ‘That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ’” (1st John 1:3).
“John, do you know what you’re saying? Do you know that these statements put Jesus Christ above all men who have ever lived?”
John: “Yes, ‘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 1:14).
“But John, you’re saying that we see the Father in Jesus. Obviously you must be referring to the tabernacle. There the glory of God was revealed, and now you are claiming that Jesus is this glory! Don’t let the Israelites hear that…!”
John: “I know exactly what I am saying, for, ‘No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him’” (John 1:18).
“John, please allow me to quote from a Bible commentary on the words, ‘For the Jews there was nothing greater than the law. For all men, there is no greater desire than to see God. Here is more than the law. Here is the fulfilment of all desire. Through Jesus, who is completely one with the Father, and concentrated on Him with His whole being, we learn all that is essential about God. Through Him come both grace and truth in one.’ You would surely agree with this.”
The Samaritans In Sychar
The Samaritans in Sychar were men, women and children. Our question to them is, “Why did you become Christians? You didn’t let yourselves be talked into it by a woman, did you?”
Samaritans: “No, we didn’t, and we told the woman this quite clearly: ‘Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world’” (John 4:42).
The Centurion At The Cross
“You saw many people die on a cross, and probably even ordered Jesus’ crucifixion. The Roman emperor was your god, to whom you were completely devoted. Your occupation, your wages, your future and your life were at stake. I assume that your position as a centurion demanded maturity and caution; you had experience in battle…”
Centurion: “Yes, I was used to seeing many things. I knew many people; among them, heroic soldiers and admirable, noble officers. I saw many people die, experienced their final hours and heard them weep, curse and lament. But no one died like Jesus. I could come to no other conclusion than this; ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God’” (Mark 15:39).
Today, people also testify how they came to know Jesus Christ, and what effect this decision has on their lives:
“I did not hear much about true Christianity when I was younger. I studied theology and became a minister, but I was a pastor without Jesus for a long time. I concerned myself with many social issues, and I tried to help where I saw a need, but only now do I know that I was lacking the decisive experience. Now Jesus has become my Lord. I have found Him, or, rather, He has found me! Now I am carrying out my ministry as a pastor in a completely different way. I try to tell people about Jesus and lead them to Him. My interest in all other issues is not less, but deeper. My main task, however, is to help build the Church of Jesus Christ, and make a real contribution to solving the many other issues.”
“Iwas unfaithful to my wife for 23 years, but she loves me more than ever, even though I am in prison at the moment. I wanted to end my life during the first days of my imprisonment. But it all turned out quite differently. The Lord didn’t allow it to happen, and I came to a living faith in God the Lord. I immediately wrote my wife and asked her to send me a Bible. She did so and wrote me, ‘This is our wedding Bible; I need the other one myself.’ I have never cried so much in my life as when I read our wedding Bible for the first time! And I had to go to prison to do this. Because I had ‘no time,’ as the title of the tract that was given to me, says. Now I know that the most important thing in life is to follow Jesus!”
“It has been more than 40 years since I realized that I had sinned against God and man, and that these sins separated me from God because He has to judge sin. It became clear to me that this judgment would mean eternal damnation. But simultaneously I heard the Good News of salvation: Whoever confesses his sins to the Lord and asks Jesus Christ for forgiveness in faith experiences forgiveness and receives eternal life. God’s wonderful offer overwhelmed me and I accepted it with a grateful heart. Looking back, I can only rejoice with thanks and amazement! I went through highs and lows —which included my faith life — when I grieved the Lord and was unhappy, but Jesus was always the same good and faithful Shepherd. He cared for His child. Only those who have experienced it can know what it means to have the deep assurance and practical experience that He will never leave His own or come too late in difficulties and distress. I have never regretted my decision to surrender my heart and life to Jesus. On the contrary, I cannot understand how someone can live without Jesus in today’s world, where all values are questioned and wickedness is increasing. According to Scripture, it is not only the present that is at stake, but also the future, which must be unimaginably wonderful.”
“I was baptized and raised as a Roman Catholic. By the grace of God I found Jesus and received Him as my Savior and Redeemer.
I was also able to find a home church that I have come to love. The Word of God has become more and more important to me. The Bible has become my favorite book. I want to understand the Word of God and live a life that is pleasing to the Lord.”
“I was at one of your meetings with a patient of mine, who does not own a car, who asked to be taken there. At the end of your message you challenged us to believe in and surrender our lives to Jesus. It was clear that this applied to me, and so I responded. Yes, Jesus called me on that day, and I am full of joy and gratitude. My profession as a physician demands a lot of strength but I now know that God gives me this strength anew every day. He also knows what He can ask of me. Right now I have two weeks of vacation so that I can leisurely contemplate the many beautiful things in His creation. When I talk with Him, I ask Him to allow me to continue my life in love and compassion for the people who entrust themselves to me.”
These testimonies agree with the statement someone made regarding Philippians 2:9, “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name. For many people, Jesus is merely a figure who is suitable for a painting, the main character in a heroic novel, a beautiful figure for a statue or the theme for a song. But to those who have heard His voice, experienced His forgiveness and felt His blessings, He is warmth, light, joy, hope and salvation, a Friend who never leaves us cast down, who picks us up when others push us down.”
Message excerpt from the Book:
Why it Pays to be a Christian
by Norbert Lieth
#1054 - 96 pgs.
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