Understanding Jesus Christ - who he is - and what he came to do - is the foundation for understanding everything involved in our Christian Faith.

Just as we paused and spent a second week considering the place of the prophetic ministry, so we take a slightly closer look at Jesus and his preaching and teaching - as we seek to sweep through the Bible in ten weeks, and have an overview.

Reviewing the life and ministry of Jesus can be inspiring - because it is Jesus who says, "Follow me".

This can also help us explain to other people what we believe and why we believe it - and this knowledge is the most precious knowledge we can have.

When we see Jesus Christ, there should be that desire - that longing - that yearning - not only to admire and follow - not only to obey Him - but to seek to become like Jesus - and that is the challenge each of us faces.

John Chapter 20 verses 19 to 29 - we have this responsibility to trust the biblical message.

Four Gospels - they were written around 60 to 90 A.D. They complement each other.

Matthew speaks of Jesus as king - and the kingdom of heaven. Mark presents Jesus as a servant.

Luke focuses on Jesus as Man - and John highlights Jesus as God. These are four pictures of Jesus from different angles.

Jesus' name - Saviour - he shall save his people from their sins - Matthew 1 verses 21 and 23 - Immanuel - God with us.

John 1 verse 41 - Messiah - Christ. Jesus the Christ - or the Saviour, who is the anointed one - or the anointed Saviour - and anointed of God. Messiah was a term for consecrated servants of high position at that time. Future kings were anointed for their task - as was Jesus.

Jesus is the Hebrew word Joshua - which means - God saves - or God's salvation. (It is interesting how the name "Jesus" arose - but that is for another day.)

Jesus was born of Mary and the conception was miraculous and supernatural. The birth was 'normal' - although the setting was unusual.

God the Father used the Holy Spirit to bring about the conception - and if anyone asks a biological question, we cannot give a biological answer. There isn't one!

We know Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea - not the West Bank!

Jesus grew up with his mother - stepfather Joseph - and several younger siblings - the natural children of Mary and Joseph.

Jesus was certainly a precocious child - able at 12 years of age to discuss Scripture with the scholars and theologians at the Temple. Luke Chapter 2.

In order to make the perfect sacrifice on the cross, Jesus never sinned. Hebrews Chapter 4 verse 15.

At the age of 30 Jesus began His ministry - Luke Chapter 3 verse 23.

Jesus was baptised by John in the River Jordan to fulfil all righteousness - and then went into the wilderness for 40 days fasting and praying, where he was tempted.

Interestingly, Saul of Tarsus fasted and prayed for 3 days - after the risen Jesus met him outside Damascus - what a way to begin one's ministry. I have often thought that if we began our Christian lives with prayer and fasting fewer people might fall away later on - the foundation we lay is vital.

Jesus came preaching the kingdom of God - Jesus preached repentance - and called people to believe the Gospel - Mark Chapter 1 verses 14 and 15.

Gospel means 'good news' - the kingdom where Jesus is king - forgiveness from sin - salvation - eternal life.

Matthew Chapter 4 verse 23 - Jesus comes teaching - preaching - healing.

Matthew Chapter 9 verse 6 - Jesus had authority to forgive sin and heal us of our spiritual problems.

Jesus is the chief corner who is jesus  of the Church - and the Head of the Church. Colossians 1 verse 18.

Jesus willingly allowed Himself to be arrested - tortured - crucified - killed. Jesus Christ laid down his life - John 10 verses 11 and 15 and 17 and 18 - this is the amazing Saviour Jesus Christ was and is - no man took his life - Jesus laid down his life - Jesus gave his life willingly and sacrificially.

Three days later Jesus Christ rose from the dead - just as Jesus prophesied - or foretold - Matthew Chapter 12 verses 38 to 40. No other leader has done this - Jesus Christ is unique.

Jesus was crucified, probably on a Wednesday - he spent three days and three nights in the tomb - you cannot work that into a Friday crucifixion.

Jesus rose from the dead and forty days later ascended - promising one day to return - with great power and glory - Mark Chapter 13 verses 26 and 27.

What shall we do? Peter in Acts Chapter 2 verses 36 to 38 on the Day of Pentecost gives us the answer.

It was when these people were convinced that Jesus was Lord and Christ - that they wanted to do something. They knew they needed to take action - they realised they needed to act.

Peter's instruction is just as valid today as it was then. When you realise who Jesus is and when you come to believe in Jesus - repent of your sins - be baptised in water - receive the Holy Spirit.

I know of no other way of coming into the Church of Jesus Christ. Do you?

"For the breadth and the depth of the ministry of Jesus we give You thanks and praise, O Loving Father God. For showing us so clearly how to come into the Church of Jesus Christ we give thanks - for every blessing we receive through the Word of God, and fellowship with others, we say "Thank You". Enable us to take the opportunities for witness and service that come our way - in Jesus Name. Amen