Jesus and the Christian faith
Why do Christians worship him?
Jesus spent 3 years meeting and teaching people. When he died he left a devoted group of a few hundred followers. Today, 2 billion people worldwide call themselves Christians.
What makes Jesus so central to Christians’ lives today? For many, he is seen in the words he used to describe himself in John 14:6: ‘The Way, the Truth and the Life’ who brings people to God the Father.
Jesus: “The way”
For Christians, Jesus makes it possible for people to know God. Christians believe that when Jesus died he took the punishment for all of their individual sins (the things they have done wrong). These stopped them from being able to have a relationship with God. Jesus’ death brings ‘eternal life’ – a life spent knowing God here on earth, and an eternity after death in God’s company in his new heavenly world.
What Jesus did on the cross is one of the most important themes in Christian worship. The early Christians had a song they used to sing about this and why it made Jesus so special to them:
Christ was truly God.
But he did not try to remain equal with God.
Instead he gave up everything
And became a slave,
When he became like one of us.
Christ was humble.
He obeyed God and even died on a cross.
Then God gave Christ the highest place
and honoured his name above all others.
So at the name of Jesus
Everyone will bow down,
Those in heaven, on earth,
And under the earth.
And to the glory of God the Father
Everyone will openly agree,
“Jesus Christ is Lord!”
This tradition of praising Jesus continues in churches today as they meet together on Sundays and during the week.
Jesus: “The truth”
Millions of people around the world want to live their lives in a way that will please God. Jesus said that the way to honour God was to do as he, Jesus, taught. This is a very big claim – to know what God wants of people! But Christians trust in Jesus’ words and make decisions every day based on what he said and did.
Jesus: “The life”
Jesus claimed that what he said and did brought life to people. This doesn’t just mean life after death in heaven. It also means life before death. By following Jesus’ teachings, Christians throughout history have done many good things that have changed the world. Lots of changes in our society, particularly those around caring for people better, were prompted by Christians who chose to follow the example of Jesus in being ‘good news’ to the poor and needy, the sick, the friendless and those in prison. And we can see the effects of their work in our world today.Bookmark