WHo was he?

Almost everyone has heard about Jesus. A quick glance at His words and works reveals one thing: There's never been anyone like Him.

The history of the world hinges around His short, 33-year life. His teachings have led hundreds of millions to follow Him. They believe He's still alive – resurrected from the dead. He promises them eternal life in His kingdom. These are profound matters.

Who was this Jewish carpenter? He once invited His earliest seekers, two simple fishermen who wanted to know Him, to "Come and see" (John 1:39). He spent all day with them, sharing His life. As they spent time in His presence, they came to love and trust Jesus.

Then, in John chapter three, a famous Jewish scholar named Nicodemus met with Jesus to carefully investigate His life. Jesus set aside time to meet with him. He will do the same with you.

At this point in your quest, I need to warn you. A glance won't do. You may have the same deep questions the fishermen or the scholar asked. Let’s focus on Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus. As we do so, let's search for answers to the questions you are asking.

Don't be discouraged if it takes time. At one point in His discussion with Nicodemus, Jesus asked, "Are you the teacher of Israel, and do not understand these things" (John 3:10)?

jesus welcomes your
questions!

It was at night when Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council, came privately to Jesus with his questions. Jesus had no problem secretly welcoming him.

He came at night because he wasn’t supposed to talk with Jesus in his religious tradition. But he wanted answers. As they talked that night, he began to trust Jesus.

You may have questions about who Jesus is. You want to know more about what He said and did. Don’t feel shy. Not only does Jesus welcome your questions, but He also has some questions for you. He’s eager to help you take your next step in deepening your relationship with Him!

He wants you to know that you were created to love Him and be loved by Him. As you discover His presence, you enter into a relationship with the God who loves you unconditionally. Jesus is quick to explain that your purpose in life is to “love the Lord with all of your heart, all your soul and all your strength” (Luke 10:27).

Do you believe you understand Him? Get ready to think deeply. You may have to return to this presentation several times to come to your own conclusions regarding these important questions.

Here are five essential questions from John 3:1-21 to discuss with Jesus:

Question #1:

Why does Jesus want you
to live with Him forever
in His kingdom?

“Enter the Kingdom of God” John 3:5

Nicodemus wanted to talk about Jesus’ miracles. But Jesus immediately changed the subject. He stated, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).

Nicodemus was surprised. What kingdom? He thought he knew about God’s heavenly kingdom. (Many people think they know God and how to enter His kingdom – when they don’t!)

He knew former Jewish King Jehoshaphat words, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In Your hand is power and might, so that none can withstand You” (2 Chronicles 20:6).

What Nicodemus was beginning to understand was that Jesus was the Creator and King of Heaven who had come into the world. “All things came into being by Him” (John 1:3). He is the Word who “became flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). As such, Jesus is the King who loves His people, including you!

Can you grasp that? Jesus’ understanding of God’s kingdom surprised everyone. They wanted a Messiah that was a military leader, but Jesus emphasized how much God loves you. You are made in His image. He wants you to belong to His family in His kingdom – forever!

Jesus came to bring God’s Kingdom to earth. That’s why He said, “Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). His Kingdom is both here and also in the future. In Jesus’ heart, you belong in His Kingdom! As you repent for your rebellion, you become aware of the good news that you can live forever in of His kingdom.

Question #2:

Why must you be
“born again”
to enter into His Kingdom?

“Unless one is born again,
he cannot see the Kingdom of God” John 3:3

Jesus continued, “Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). Nicodemus struggled and asked, “How can these things be” (John 3:9)?

Now that God has written the Bible for us, it’s not difficult to look back and understand. Jesus was talking about a spiritual rebirth.

Nicodemus knew that God had warned Adam and Eve, “If you eat the fruit of the forbidden tree, you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). They did eat, and they died, first a spiritual death, and then a physical death. (Read about it in Genesis 3:1-21).

Our understanding continues to develop as we learn that it was Satan who deceived Adam and Eve. Then they doubted God’s word. They rebelled against the Lord. As a result, “They hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God” (Genesis 3:8). They were afraid of Him. Their relationship with Him was broken.

We’ve all sinned like they did. “The wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:33). In our sin, we are spiritually dead. As such, we are trapped in Satan’s “domain of darkness” (Colossians 1:13). That explains why Jesus insisted that Nicodemus (and all of us) must be “born again by the Spirit.” It’s the only way to be restored into God’s Kingdom (John 3:8).

Question #3:

Why did Jesus
die on the cross?

“The Son of Man must be lifted up” John 3:14

Jesus then steered the conversation to discuss the cross. He told Nicodemus, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so, must the Son of Man be lifted up" (John 3:14).

Jesus was referring to a time when the Jews were complaining as they were being led by Moses across the desert to their promised land. As a punishment, God sent serpents into their camp who were biting and killing them. But the Lord told Moses, "Make a serpent and set it on a pole, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live" (Numbers 21:8).

Our sin is like a fatal snakebite. For the rebellious Jews in the desert, one look of faith was all that was needed to remove their poison.

What does the cross have to do with this? Jesus prophesied to Nicodemus that “the Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14). Peter, one of Jesus' disciples, later explained why Jesus was crucified this way: "Jesus bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that He might bring us to God. For by His wounds we have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24, 3:18). In short, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).

Nicodemus was beginning to understand the cross. After all, it was Jesus who was personally teaching him. How are you doing?

After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus taught His disciples that "Repentance for the forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in His name to all nations" (Luke 24:47). Jesus gave us the ultimate answer to "Why the cross?" He explained to Nicodemus that it's all about God's love:" For God so loved the world that He gave His Son" to die on the cross as the payment for our sins! Further, whosoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life. (John 3:16).

Question #4:

What do you have to believe
in order to enter
His eternal Kingdom?

“Whoever believes in Him” John 3:16

In order to enter into God’s eternal Kingdom there are five essential truths about Jesus that you must believe. As we explain, we largely answer our question, “Who Was He?” (by underlining His names and the descriptions of what He did).

1.) Jesus was fully God: “The Word was God” (John 1:3). As the Messiah, He was a healer, deliverer, Good Shepherd and the One who loved us.

2.) Jesus was fully human: “The Word became flesh” (John 1:14). He was the Christ, the Anointed One, who did miracles and lived a holy, sinless life.

3.) Jesus made full payment for our sin on the cross: “He released us from our sins by His blood” (John in Revelation 1:5). “He has redeemed us from the hand of the adversary” (Psalm 107:2). In reality, He bought us off the slave market of Satan and then set us free to live in His kingdom.

4.) Jesus is alive and rules in heaven: Jesus had to “rise again from the dead” (John 20:9).”You purchased us with Your blood. You made us to be a kingdom. We will reign with You upon the earth” (Revelation 5:10).

5.) Jesus can be trusted as the Lord and Savior of your life: When are you born again into an eternal relationship with God? When you tell Him that you are placing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior. “For God loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have eternal life” (John 3:16).

Question #5:

How do Jesus’ disciples
“practice the truth?”

“He who practices truth comes to the light” John 3:21

Jesus concluded His conversation with Nicodemus by saying, “Everyone who does evil hates the light. But he who practices the truth comes to the light” (John 3:21).

In this way, Jesus calls every one who practices the truth to be His disciple: ”He found Philip and Jesus said, ‘Follow Me’” (John 1:43). “Three days later there was a wedding in Cana. Jesus also was invited, and His disciples” (John 2:1-2). Once we believe and commit to follow Him, we become His disciple. He teaches us how to “practice the truth” (John 3:21).

Later on, Jesus realized some were following Him primarily to get fed. ” They said, “Give us this bread” (John 6:35). Jesus decided to separate the men from the boys. He taught “He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me and I in Him” (John 6:56). He was talking about taking the Lord’s supper. However, “As a result of this, many of His disciples withdrew” (John 6:66).

But His fully committed followers said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life” (John 6:68). Jesus affirmed them. He then gave us the test of a true disciple when He said, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

At the end of His life on earth, Jesus taught His disciples to “Go and make disciples of the whole world” (Matthew 28:19. He said “Teach them to obey all that I commanded you” (Matthew 28:19).

Here’s the reality we often do not hear taught in the Western world. One who believes in Jesus as Savior also follows Him as Lord. Ask yourself, “Do I believe in Jesus as my Savior? Will I follow the Lord Jesus as His disciple?” Now we come to a point of decision. Are you ready to put your trust in Jesus as your Lord and Savior?

Become His follower Today!

Count the Cost

Jesus once asked a crowd, “Which one of you who wants to build a tower will not first sit down, and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to finish it” (Luke 14:28)? He was illustrating counting the cost of being His disciple.

Jesus stated, “Whoever does not carry his cross and come after me cannot be My disciple” (John 12:25). True repentance for our rebellion and sin is where we confess, “My fleshly self has been crucified with Christ. Now Christ lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

Take a moment and consider what it will cost you. This is the biggest decision of your life! Trusting Jesus to be your Savior includes trusting Him to be your Lord. Your rebellious and independent lifestyle has to come to an end. He is the Lord Jesus Christ, your King Jesus, and your Savior. It simply doesn’t work to claim Jesus as your Savior but continue to reject Him as your Lord (although this is often what is taught in America).

In reality, when you place your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you become a member of His church. You are “transferred from the domain of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s beloved Son” (Colossians 1:9). The Bible describes it as marrying Jesus. “His bride has made herself ready” (Revelation 19:7). The story of you coming to know God is pictured as you trusting and loving the Lord Jesus as His bride.

Being a fully-committed disciple of Jesus is the only way to live in His kingdom, both now and forever. In essence, it’s a love story. The greatest commandment is to “Love the Lord” with all your being (Luke 10:27). Jesus promised, “Do this and you will live” (Luke 10:28).

Do you know who He is? Will you trust His love? Are you ready to transfer your allegiance from your self to your Lord and Savior?

A suggested prayer

Are you ready to become a fully committed disciple of Jesus? In the end, Nicodemus believed. When it came time to take away Jesus’ dead body from the cross, “Nicodemus came also” (John 20:39).

Trusting Christ is a personal decision that is made between you and the Lord Jesus. Each person must believe in Him individually.

In prayer, tell the Lord Jesus that you have decided to place your faith in His suffering and death on the cross as the full payment for your sins.

Also, commit to Him that you have decided to trust in His resurrection as the full proof that your resurrection into eternal life in His Kingdom is certain. As You identify with His death, also identify that you are being raised up to live a new life with Him.

Now here is a suggested prayer. This is where you commit to Him that you are becoming His disciple and that you are trusting Him to lead you to advance His kingdom for the rest of your life.

The words are yours and God knows and hears your heart. Here’s the suggested prayer:

Dear Lord Jesus, I believe You were fully God and fully human while on earth. I believe You died on the cross to fully pay for my sins. I believe God the Father raised You from the dead and that You now rule the earth from heaven as King.

I know that my sin separated me from You and Your Kingdom. I repent of my sin and rebellion. I trust You to forgive my sin. Right now, I place my faith in You, Jesus, as my personal Savior and Lord. Thank You for forgiving me. Thank You for welcoming me into Your kingdom and giving me eternal life.

Enter me now and fill me with Your Spirit. I renounce any demonic connection, lie, attack, wound or curse in my body or soul. I believe You are healing me from every demonic illness and infirmity. I choose to live my life for You, drawing on Your strength, as I have been born again. The purpose of my life is to love You, Lord. My first calling is to follow You, Lord Jesus, as Your disciple.

In Your word your said to me, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. Whoever believes in Him will not be disappointed” (Rom 10:9-11). I do that right now! I confess you are my Lord. I believe God raised You from the dead. I trust You, Lord Jesus Christ, as my Savior!

By faith in You, I will proclaim the good news of Your kingdom. I will make disciples and teach them to obey Your commands. I trust You and believe that becoming Your follower is the best decision of my life! As I take my place in Your kingdom, I will “set the presence of the Lord continually before me. Therefore, my heart is glad. You will make known to me the path of life” (Ps 16:8-11).

My dear Jesus, thank you for introducing me to Your Father and filling me with Your Spirit. I will forever love, trust and follow You, my Savior, Lord, and King. Amen!

LA

I have decided
to follow Jesus:
What’s next?

Celebrate!

If you decided to follow Jesus, it’s time to celebrate!

One writer in the book of Psalms put it this way: “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His loving kindness is everlasting. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so” (Ps 107:1-2)!

You can take many practical steps as you begin this new journey. Tell your friends, family, and neighbors about your decision to follow Jesus and spread the good news of the Lord.

If you have no one to talk to about your decision to follow Jesus, please share your good news with us using the form at the end.

We have some other recommendations:

Read and study your Bible

Reading and studying the Bible is important for several reasons. First and foremost, the Bible is considered the inspired, inerrant Word of God. That means that God faithfully wrote and recorded accurately every word. The Bible contains His teachings, guidance, and wisdom. By studying the Bible, we can deepen our understanding of God's character, His plans for humanity, and His will for our lives.

Additionally, the Bible serves as a source of encouragement, comfort, and hope. It offers guidance for making wise decisions, navigating challenges, and finding peace in the midst of trials. By studying the Bible, we can grow in our faith, develop a closer relationship with God, and experience spiritual transformation.

Moreover, the Bible provides a historical and cultural context for understanding past events, people, and teachings. It offers insights into the origins of Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ. By studying the Bible, we can better appreciate the faith and great works of God that have shaped the world.

Lastly, the Bible equips us to share our faith with others and defend our beliefs. It provides a solid foundation for our worldview and helps us discern truth from falsehood. By studying the Bible, we can be prepared to give a reason for our hope and engage in meaningful conversations about our faith.

If you would like a free Bible, click the link below. We also recommend the “You Version” free Bible app. It’s amazing!

Learn how to pray

prayers

Prayer is talking with God. Through faith in the Lord Jesus, you have come to KNOW GOD. Coming to the Creator of the Universe and claiming His magnificent promises as written in the Bible is one of the most powerful activities you will ever do.

Jesus modeled a life of prayer for His followers. Jesus liked to start His day with prayer. “In the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out to a solitary place, and was praying there” (Mark 1:35). Like Jesus, set aside a time and place to pray every morning. After that, you can share your heart and hear from Him anywhere, anytime. Driving home from work. Washing the dishes. Going for a run. Laying in bed at night.

Then, “It came about that while He was praying in a certain place, one of His disciples said to Him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples’” (Luke 11:1). He went on and taught what is now known as ”The Lord’s Prayer” (Luke 11:2-4). It’s easy to memorize and use as a pattern for prayer.

God’s encouragement to you is found in this promise, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” (James 4:8). Prayer enables you to stay in His presence and claim His promises.

He’s always available and eager to have a conversation with you. Learning how to pray is a lifelong adventure with God!

Get a Free Bible

free

Carry Christ to your world

Carrying Christ to our world is essential to the Christian faith. As believers, we are called to be ambassadors of Christ, sharing His love, grace, and truth with others. There are several reasons why we should carry Christ into our world:

The Great Commission: In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus commands His disciples to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them to obey His commandments. Carrying Christ to our world is our response to His commission, spreading the message of salvation and inviting others to follow Jesus.

Love for Others: Jesus taught us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39). Sharing Christ with others is an expression of love, as we desire for them to experience the forgiveness, hope, and eternal life that comes through a relationship with Him.

Fulfilling God's Plan: God's desire is for all people to come to repentance and knowledge of the truth (2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4). By carrying Christ to our world, we participate in God's plan of redemption and reconciliation, bringing people into a relationship with Him.

Reflecting Christ's Light: In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus describes believers as “the light of the world.” By carrying Christ into our world, we reflect His light and bear witness to His transformative power. Our words, actions, and lifestyle can point others to Him and draw them closer to God.

Sharing the Good News: The gospel, or the good news of Jesus Christ, is the message of salvation and life in His kingdom. Carrying Christ to our world means sharing this message with those who have not heard or understood it. It is our opportunity to bring others hope, healing, and eternal life.

Share your story

In Acts 26:1-29, Paul shares his story with two Roman officials. As he does so, he equips you with guidelines to share your story. Here’s how he unfolds his story. You can gain insight as you read how he did it:

Start by introducing your story (Acts 26:1-3). Develop the theme of your life, like, “I was searching for love.” Tell about your life before you met Jesus (Acts 26:5-8).

Then, share how Jesus came to you (Acts 26:9-11). Tell how you met Jesus (Acts 26:12-15). Include specifically the process of how you made the decision to place your faith in Jesus as your Lord and Savior.

Take time to explain your new purpose in life (Acts 26:16-18). Finally, tell your listeners about your life after meeting Jesus (Acts 26:19-23).

Paul concluded by asking others to believe in Jesus. You can do that, as well (Acts 26:24-29)!

The more you share how Jesus changed your life, the easier it will become.

Begin Your Online Discipleship Training

Now that you have been introduced to the Lord Jesus through the Rising Movement, we would like to continue our discipleship relationship with you. Our base is our local hub church (if you are in the Glendora/Azusa area, please join us). Then we minister online through RISE Discipleship Training to create a network of disciples, fire teams, Bible studies and house churches around America and the English speaking world.

With God’s help, over the next year, we encourage you to engage in at least one spiritual conversation per week with a non-Christian. Start by reaching out to your 10 closest friends and neighbors.

We also suggest that you set a goal to make two or three new disciples every year for the rest of your life. We will help you do that! I (Rick) want to personally disciple emerging harvest leaders and help you develop harvest teams.

- I welcome your email at rickclark@risingmvmt.org.

- To begin RISE Discipleship Training, go to https://risingmvmt.org/ and click on “Training.”

- We also recommend that you download Rumble and begin to listen to Rick and others by going to RickJClark.

- Please fill out the contact form and we will be in contact with you.

- THANK YOU for exploring and discovering who the Lord Jesus is. God will bless you as you walk with Him!

Let’s stay in contact!

Who was he?