by Roland W. Keith
Jesus’ ministry was as public as you can get. Everywhere He went He drew large crowds, often being met by throngs of people who pressed in upon Him, followed Him when He would take leave or who would even go ahead of Him to meet Him at a new location when He sought separation or privacy. His life and teachings, His miracles, His trial and execution, and most importantly His resurrection are a matter of record. Who Christ was (and is) was attested to by His own words and the signs and wonders He worked during His ministry (Matthew 6:2; Luke 13:17; John 6:14; 7:31). If His claims or reputation had been proven baseless He would have been easily discredited during His own lifetime and we would never have heard of Him.
Though some refused to believe in spite of witnessing many of the things He had done, His teachings continued to spread after His death, and His followers multiplied. His work, including the signs and wonders, continued through His disciples who were imbued with power by the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38; 14:3). Jesus Himself claimed that all He taught and did was given Him by His Father, as in John 5:36: “But the testimony that I have is greater than that of John. For the works that the Father has given Me to accomplish, the very works that I am doing, bear witness about Me that the Father has sent Me” (see also John 3:11: 8:28; 14:10; John 10:32). It was these very things that His faithful eyewitnesses testified to and continued to do in His name.
All that Christ did was by the authority of God. The miracles He worked, including the resurrection, were done as a testimony to Who He was. And later, all that His disciples accomplished in signs and wonders was evidence that what they spoke concerning Him was from God as well. And what is the word that Jesus and His followers declared to the world? That Jesus is the Christ (John 10:24-30; 17:3; Matthew 16:16). That He came to earth to save all who would come to the Father through Him (John 3:16; Matthew 1:21; Luke 19:10; John 12:47; Mark 16:16). And, that all men should heed His words from the Father and act in obedience to Him (Acts 5:32; John 3:36; II Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 5:9).
Jesus once asked, “Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord,' and not do what I tell you?” (Luke 6:46).
He later noted that it is the word, and our obedience or disobedience to it, that we will one day be judged by, in accordance with the authority of the Father who sent Jesus into the world to deliver and establish the last covenant between God and man (John 12:47-49).
On the day of Pentecost Peter delivered the gospel to those assembled telling those who responded to the message to, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation” (Acts 2:38-40; see also I Peter 3:21-22).
In his second letter Peter would warn those who were considering turning from the word: “For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them" (II Peter 2:20-21). In the same letter Peter encouraged his readers to be diligent in confirming their own salvation (II Peter 1:10-11; see also Philippians 2:12).
All that we need to secure salvation is written in the Bible: What we must know to come to God and find salvation, and what we must do once we have been saved are contained in the word of God. There is no other way to be saved. As Jeremiah wrote, “I know, O LORD, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23).
Man does not have salvation within himself. He finds that by coming to God and submitting to His word (Matthew 4:4; Luke 11:28; John 5:24; II Timothy 3:16-17). For many God’s word seems hard because the temptations of this world call to them. Many in Jesus’ time, with his miracles still fresh in their memories, turned from His teaching and what He offered as recorded by John: “After this many of His disciples turned back and no longer walked with Him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God" (John 6:66-69).
When it comes to our salvation God’s word is the only authority. As Peter truly said the words we find in the Bible are the words of eternal life, passed down at first by the prophets and in these last by the Son of God (Hebrews 1:1-2). We cannot live a truly spiritual life without them, as Jesus told Satan, “It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew4:4).
Hi! I'm Roland. I began writing after retiring from the Navy in 2015. I believe that we each should strive to learn from one another, by sharing our thoughts and ideas. As a writer my goal is to help other seekers of truth to find and grow in Christ.