Sixty Stadia is all about Jesus; you’ve probably heard of Him before. Maybe you are a follower of Christ or maybe this is the first time you’ve engaged with the Christian message but either way Christ’s fame has spread far and wide. So how does it come about that a man born two thousand years ago in a small town in the Roman province of Judea is still being talked about and followed today? Why is it that all history is dated from his birth? And more importantly, what is His relevance for us today?
In the popular imagination of the present day Jesus is often thought of as some kind of nomadic teacher who taught people to live better lives, was nice to everyone, spread a lot of love, and then got taken outside of the city walls and brutally executed.
Something about that story just doesn’t add up for me; whoever got sentenced to death merely for being nice? There has to be something more.
The truth is that Jesus didn’t come to teach us all some hippy phrases and tell us to love each other. In fact, as C.S Lewis famously wrote, He doesn’t leave us the option of seeing Him as a good moral teacher. He comes with radically subversive teaching, goes completely against the grain, and announces that He is the Son of God. He’s either mad, bad, or what He claims to be.
Jesus wasn’t ever about forcing people to stop swearing, putting strict rules in places for your sex life, or asking for your money. He came into a broken world to give us a way to have a relationship with God.
Like any relationship, living in a relationship with God changes how we act, think and behave, but behaviour modification isn’t the point. Relationship with God is.
Human beings were created to be in a relationship with God. He placed eternity in our hearts, a craving for something more than that which this world can offer us. We were also created with free will. Love that was forced on us would hardly be love at all and so God doesn’t demand our love, He asks it. As humanity made choices that took it further and further away from that loving relationship with God the world became more and more broken. Everything became so messed up that we’re all born into a mess that separates us from the love we were made for.
The brokenness in the world causes disease, violence, pain, suffering, and yet it can seem to be the only way. There’s an old school word for all the crap in this world; it’s called sin. Sin basically means anything that falls short of the best God would want for us. Knowing that humanity was drifting further and further away from perfect love and into sin God enacted His master plan to bring us back to Himself: a teenage mum from an oppressed nation gave birth to a child and that child was the answer.
Jesus lived a perfect life because we can’t. Jesus ticked every box, dotted every i and crossed every t. He loved everyone, reached out to those that society had rejected, touched those that people had labeled untouchables.
Fully man He was able to face the troubles of the world we live in, fully God He was able to triumph over them. Then, just when people were suggesting that He was the coming king, he was executed. An innocent man, paying the ultimate penalty that society could charge.
Three days later, Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Having paid the penalty for sin He enables us who are human and prone to mess up to enter into relationship with a perfect God. He stands by us through the toughest and roughest times and says: “I’ve got this.” No matter what we have done, are doing, will do, He has paid the price. All He asks of us is to accept and believe that. The ransom has been paid, it’s up to us whether we walk out of the cell.
Jesus is the visible image of an invisible God. Jesus is the personification of the greatest and most perfect love in history. Jesus loves you more than you could ever, ever, imagine. And He wants to be in relationship with you. He’s not waiting to judge you or to tell you off, because He has already paid the price for what you’ve done. Jesus transformed my life and He wants to do the same for you.
I’d encourage you, if you want to get to know Jesus, to go to a bible based church and tell them you’ve come to find out about Jesus. They’ll welcome you. If you’re in the North East of England, or Tanzania, then we’d love to say hello to you at NCLC. Further afield there are many, many great churches where you can go and meet Jesus. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.