COME HOME TO JESUS:
HE IS CALLING YOU
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Jesus Christ said: “Come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt.11: 28); “All that the Father giveth to Me shall come to Me; and Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out.” (John 6: 37)
Our Lord issued a personal invitation to all who are burdened, stressed and overwhelmed by the multiple problems in our society. His offer is still valid today because He is alive and able to answer our prayers and meet our needs!
YOU MAY ASK: “How is that possible since He lived so long ago and was crucified on the ‘cross of shame’ outside the walls of Jerusalem on Mount Calvary?
And what is your answer to all the atheists, agnostics, dingbats, money hungry vultures, anti-Christian journalists and writers, film producers and kinky Hollywood actors who continually spew out blasphemies and outrageous lies about Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords?”
My Friend: Don’t Worry. We often find that bigoted, hate-filled, shallow-minded, little-learned, boozing, drug-taking, porno-loving and sexually perverted junkies are like dogs barking at the heels of the horses as the caravan moves forward. They could also be likened to someone constantly releasing flatulence at a gathering. The sounds and the smells are there for a while to annoy those around them, but are soon gone!
GOD’S WORD FOREVER SETTLED!
It is possible because He is ALIVE and the same yesterday, today and forever! (Heb.13: 8) That is why Jesus Christ could say: “Come unto Me all ye who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” (Matt.11: 28)
And that is exactly what everyone needs: Rest from guilt and condemnation; Rest from anxiety, worry and fear; Rest from sickness, disease and pain; Rest from poverty and heartache; Rest from Satan’s enslavement and a lost eternity. We are secure, because Jesus is our REST!
Three days after His sacrificial death for us, God raised our LORD from the dead and He is alive forevermore and has all power in Heaven and in earth! Here is the Holy Record about that glorious event that changed history for time and eternity!
“And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightening and his raiment white as snow. And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
“And the angel answered and said unto the women; Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen as He said. Come and see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead; and behold He goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see Him.” (Matt.28: 2-7)
AMAZING GRACE: NO GREATER LOVE!
No greater love story has ever been told and no greater love song has ever been sung, than the amazing story of God’s love for His creation, mankind!
The Bible says: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” (John 3: 16, 17).
“He was in the world and the world was made by Him and the world knew Him not. He came unto His own and His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name.” (John 1: 10-12)
John’s Gospel records the truth of the Incarnation (God becoming man) which is the greatest miracle this world has ever witnessed. More than 700 years before His Virgin Birth in Bethlehem, Isaiah made this prophetic utterance: “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His Name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14)
Leading Hebrew Scholars state that “a virgin” is better read “the virgin”. The Hebrew definite article ha indicates that a specific woman is in view.
The word virgin used here is the unique Hebrew term ‘almah. A comparison of the six other instances where it occurs (Gen.24: 43; Ex. 2: 8; Ps. 68: 25; Prov.30: 19; Song 1: 3; 6: 8) shows that it is the most precise term the prophet could have chosen to indicate that the young woman in view was indeed a virgin. The more common word betulah is used twice to refer to a married woman (Deut.22: 19 and Joel 1: 8)
Thus the Septuagint Translation of ‘almah as parthenos (virgin) is correct, as is Mathew 1: 23. Shall conceive is a feminine adjective connected with an active participle (“bearing”) and should be translated “is pregnant”. Thus the scene is present to the prophet’s view, and he sees the pregnant virgin about to bear a Son.
That this prophecy must refer to the virgin birth of Christ is obvious since the virgin is pregnant and is still a virgin. Immanuel is a symbolic name meaning God is with us. He is the incarnate Son of God who is further pictured as the Child-Prince in Isaiah 9: 6. – Taken from Nelson Study Bible.
NO-ONE ACCEPTED LUTHER’S CHALLENGE!
MARTIN LUTHER threw out this challenge: “If a Jew or a Christian or a Mohammedan can prove to me that in any other passage of Scripture ‘almah means a married woman, I will give him a hundred florins, although God only knows where I may find them.” No-one took him up on his challenge!
Never in the history of mankind has a virgin given birth to a baby without a man’s seed through sexual intercourse or artificial insemination! Of such importance was the sign that God gave concerning the birth of His Son that the prophet emphasized, ‘The Lord Himself shall give you a sign’!
The Holy Scripture says: “Behold while he (Joseph) thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream saying, Joseph thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
“And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins. Now, all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a SON, and they shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matt.1: 20-25)
JESUS OF NAZARETH was born to die. He was born crucified! Facing the humiliation of the cross, He said: “Now is My soul troubled’ and what shall I say, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour.” (John 12: 27)
Answering Pontius Pilate, Jesus said: “Thou sayest 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. Everyone that is of the Truth heareth My voice.” (John 18: 37)
St. John stated: “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John 3:18). Jesus said: “The thief (Satan) cometh not but for to steal, and to kill and to destroy. I am come that that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10: 10)
Our LORD warned: “And ye have not His Word abiding in you; for Whom He hath sent, Him ye believe not. Search the Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And ye will not come to Me that ye might have Life.” (John 5: 38-40)
“And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath: I am from ABOVE, ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: For if ye believe not that I AM HE, ye shall die in your sins.” (John 8: 23, 24)
Again He stated: “I am the Vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing. If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John 15: 5, 7)
A ‘HEADS UP’ TO AGNOSTICS & ATHEISTS!
My advice to agnostics, atheists, infidels and Christ haters is: “Stop looking at your navel and listening to men and women who only listen to others who are navel gazers! Stop reading the trash that has been written by losers who have closed their minds to the only truth there is and that is Jesus Christ and His Gospel. And then read the final words of leaders of the Religion of Atheism and Agnosticism and their sad obituaries!”
Clarence Darrow, famed atheist, criminal lawyer and winner in the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925 stated at the end of his life: “My colleagues say that I am a success. Many honors have come my way, but in the Bible is a sentence which expresses the way I feel about my life: We have toiled all night and taken nothing.”
The Holy Bible is the greatest and grandest of all books because it is the inerrent, infallible and holy Word of the Living God to mankind! This is a classic example: Clarence Darrow who didn’t believe the Bible, ultimately had to use a passage from the Bible to express his emptiness and the futility of a life without God.
Here are some of the comments by these men during the trial: “The confrontation between Bryan and Darrow lasted approximately two hours on the afternoon of the seventh day of the trial. It is likely that it would have continued the following morning but for Judge Raulston's announcement that he considered the whole examination irrelevant to the case and his decision that it should be "expunged" from the record.
“Thus Bryan was denied the chance to cross-examine the defense lawyers in return, although after the trial Bryan would distribute nine questions to the press to bring out Darrow's "religious attitude".
The questions and Darrow's short answers were published in newspapers the day after the trial ended, with the New York Times characterizing Darrow as answering Bryan's questions "with his agnostic's creed, 'I don't know,' except where he could deny them with his belief in natural, immutable law".
Stewart objected, demanding to know the legal purpose of Darrow's questioning. Bryan, gauging the effect the session was having, snapped that its purpose was "to cast ridicule on everybody who believes in the Bible". Darrow, with equal vehemence, retorted, "We have the purpose of preventing bigots and ignoramuses from controlling the education of the United States." (299)
William Jennings Bryant was a passionate Christian, orator and 3-time Democratic presidential candidate who was blocked by a technicality from cross examining Clarence Darrow.
Bryant had a heart attack and died shortly after the court case. His name appears on Universities and other places in Tennessee. Darrow’s comments, however, should tell us how his life ended! The Clarence Darrow Octagon House, which was his childhood home in the small town of Kinsman, Ohio, contains a memorial to him. That’s about all that remains!
HOPE FOR THOSE WHO REPENT!
There is hope, however, for those who truly repent and ask for God’s forgiveness and receive the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, like Saul of Tarsus who was responsible for a reign of terror, imprisonment and martyrdom of large numbers of Jesus Christ’s followers shortly after our Lord’s crucifixion and resurrection from the dead!
The two greatest headaches for Agnostics and Atheists are, number one: The Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, and number two: The conversion and ministry of Saul of Tarsus!
Any rational person with even a less than average IQ, if they have done any research at all of the Roman Empire's reach and power in the time of Jesus' crucifixion, would know that precise records were kept of all executions.
And the same was true of the religious scribes of the Jews, who kept meticulous records and Jewish Historians like Josephus and Pliny the Roman and many others.
The Holy Bible records that the Chief Priests and Jewish religious leaders demanded of the Roman Governor - both privately and publicly - that Jesus be crucified. The crowd which was pressured by the religious leaders, were given a choice to have Jesus released, but they chose Barabbas, a murderer. (Mark 15:1-39; Matt.27:16-26)
“Pilate therefore, willing to release Jesus, spake again unto them. But they cried, saying, Crucify Him, Crucify Him. And he said unto them the third time, Why? What evil hath He done? I have found no cause of death in Him: I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go. And they were instant with loud voices, requiring that He might be crucified. And their voices of them and the Chief Priests prevailed.” (Luke 23: 13-37)
When Pontius Pilate sought to release Jesus, the crowd which was persuaded by the Chief Priests and the Elders, shouted: "If thou let this man go, thou art not Caesar`s friend: whosoever maketh himself a king is not Caesar`s friend.” (John 19: 12)
After His crucifixion the Chief Priests went to Governor Pilate with this request: "Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while He was yet alive; After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulcher be made sure unto the third day, lest His disciples come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead; so the last error shall be worse than the first.
“Pilate said unto them, Ye have a watch: Go your way, make it as sure as you can. So they went, and made the sepulcher sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.” (Matt.27 63-66)
THE MAN WHO STILL LIVES!
After his much-publicized conversion to our Lord Jesus Christ, Malcolm Muggeridge - former Marxist, celebrated writer, broadcaster and actor - poured his time and talents into writing Christian apologetics which portray a Living Saviour!
In his book, The Man Who Lives, Muggeridge wrote: “That the resurrection happened, and that in the consequence of it Jesus’ followers who had scattered drew together again, and resolved to go about their Master’s business, seems to me indubitably true.
“Likewise Jesus’ claims to be the Light of the World and His related promise that through Him we may be reborn into new men, liberated from servitude to the ego and our appetites into the glorious liberty of the children of God…
“If the story of Jesus ended on Golgotha, it would indeed be of a Man Who Died, but as two thousand years later the Man’s promise that ‘where two or three are gathered in My Name, there I am in the midst of them’ manifestly still holds, it is actually the story of a Man Who Lives.”
Muggeridge’s counsel to a troubled world is worth listening to. He writes: “Christ is the only answer to an insane world…they will not understand that the trouble with the western civilization is not economics, but more – good and evil! They are thinking they can make things work by policies, inventions, but man will never live on this planet without God.”
It is therefore surreal that a 7th Century Caravan Driver - who couldn’t read or write - received a revelation while lying on the ground under an epileptic seizure, that JESUS of Nazareth Who was delivered to Pontius Pilate by the Jewish High Priest and Elders, crucified by Roman soldiers and confirmed dead by the Roman Centurion and by His enemies in the Jewish Sanhedrin, didn’t really die!
And more than a billion people believe that satanically inspired fairy tale today! That is a travesty, extraordinaire! And then, money hungry author and blasphemer Dan Brown and his Hollywood lap dogs, film maker and actor Ron Howard and Tom Hanks - produced a lying movie called Da Divinchy Code, that perpetrated that preposterous and damnable LIE!
What are the two most powerful arguments that atheists and agnostics cannot overcome and that rattles their chain? The resurrection of Jesus Christ and the conversion of Saul of Tarsus!
If Jesus did not rise from the dead, what happened to His body? Any normal person would understand that because the Jews kept meticulous records of His crucifixion and with the chief priests witnessing JESUS’ death and asking Governor Pontius Pilate to guard His tomb, that He was crucified, dead and buried!
When St. Paul arrived in Rome to preach the Gospel he found many had already been converted to Christ. How did that happen, being so far away from Jerusalem? Who had preached the Gospel in Rome?
They called him CENTURION LONGINUS. He was probably the soldier who pierced JESUS’ side with his long spear. He was the man who witnessed the darkness at noon and the earthquake that opened the earth that collected JESUS’ blood.
As the Centurion in charge of Jesus’ crucifixion, he would have examined the thick veil which secured the Holy of Holies from public gaze, torn from top to bottom, as God the Father vacated the Temple!
It was Centurion Longinus who cried out with his soldiers, “Truly, This was the Son of God!” (Mark 15: 38,39)
SAUL MET THE RESURRECTED JESUS!
SAUL OF TARSUS was one of the most learned and brilliant young men in Palestine. He had become a Zealot for Judaism causing havoc and great harm to believers in Jesus.
He hated and despised the very name of Jesus of Nazareth and travelled far and wide, visiting every synagogue in every town and village, even going as far away as Damascus to track down, beat, imprison and force Christ’s followers to blaspheme His Worthy and Holy Name.
While on such an unholy vendetta, he was apprehended by the resurrected CHRIST in a blinding light on the Damascus Road. And Saul cried out: “Who art Thou Lord?” The Lord identified Himself by saying: “I am Jesus Whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.” Then, trembling and astonished, Saul the persecutor who earlier had been “breathing out threatening and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord”, cried out: “What wilt Thou have me to do?” (Acts 9: 6)
That proud Pharisee humbled himself before the Lord Jesus Christ and spent the rest of his life praying, fasting, writing, travelling and preaching the Word of God, while building the Kingdom of God on earth!
He was consumed with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and never stopped declaring the unsearchable riches of the cross and the shed blood of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and eternal Life! And in the end, he gladly gave his life as a martyr for our Saviour!
St. Paul wrote: “For when we were yet without strength (hopeless), in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by His Blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” (Rom. 5: 6-10)
REALLY, WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
No other human being was privy to the great mysteries of God and the secrets of the Almighty, like the Apostle Paul. To him was revealed the great hidden secret and purpose of the Incarnation.
He said: “Even the MYSTERY which hath been hid from ages and generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this MYSTERY among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the Hope of Glory.
“Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect (mature) in Christ Jesus.” (Col.1: 26-28
WHO IS JESUS CHRIST?
He is the Sin Bearer. He is the Heart Healer. He is the Mind Restorer. He is the Great Physician. He is the Demon Expeller. He is the Holy Ghost Baptizer. He is the Joy Bringer. He is the Fear Remover! He is the Prince of Peace. He is the Liberator of mankind and the Saviour of the world!
The Holy Scriptures declare: “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed of the Devil, for God was with Him.” (Acts 10:38)
Everywhere our Lord went spreading the Good News He did GOOD by healing the sick and forgiving sinners. He was filled with the Holy Spirit at His baptism and after 40 days of fasting and prayer won a decisive victory over the devil in His wilderness temptation. (Luke 4: 1-14)
“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee: and there went out a fame of Him through all the region round about. And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified of all. And they were astonished at His doctrine: for His Word was with power.” (Luke 4:14,15,32)
EVIL SPIRITS RECOGNIZED JESUS!
“And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice, saying, ‘Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, Thou Jesus of Nazareth? Art Thou come to destroy us? I know Thee who Thou art; the Holy One of God.
“And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him, and hurt him not. And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a Word is this! For with authority and power He commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out. And the fame of Him went out into every place of the country round about.” (Luke 4: 33-37)
Great multitudes followed Jesus everywhere He went because “the people were astonished at His doctrine” and He healed the sick and suffering among them. He met their spiritual, psychological and physical needs. Lepers were cleansed, the blind saw, the deaf heard and the lame walked after hearing His message of forgiveness, hope, deliverance and salvation! He liberated Satan’s captives with His Word and Holy Spirit.
JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE TODAY!
He is still the same compassionate, kind, loving, merciful and powerful Lord who “came to seek and to save the lost” and was “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, chastised for our peace and scourged for our diseases”. (Isaiah 53:4-6) He is even now waiting for an opportunity to bless those who truly put their trust in Him! (Rev. 3:20)
Jesus Christ stated: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:32, 36); “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth give I unto thee. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27)
And He wants to be your Lord and Saviour, dear Friend! Open your heart to Him and He will come into your heart and life. He will forgive all your sins and take away the condemnation in your conscience. He will heal the hurts in your spirit soul and body because He is the Great Physician!
Here is His call to you: “Behold I stand at the door and knock. If any man hear My voice, and open the door (of his heart) I will come in to him and will sup (fellowship) with him and he with Me.” (Rev.3: 20) Amen.