Chapter OneHOW TO KNOW JESUS PERSONALLY
GOD WANTS each of us to experience an abundant life filled with
meaning, direction, love, and peace. God makes this kind of life
possible through a personal relationship with his Son, Jesus
Christ. You can start this relationship by accepting Jesus as your
Savior and inviting him into your life. But before doing that, here
are five truths that will help you understand God's desire for you:
1. God has a plan for your life. "No one can receive anything unless
God gives it from heaven" (John 3:27). God created you and has
good plans for your life. To know those plans, you must know God
2. God's plan gives meaning. "Jesus replied, 'I am the bread of life.
Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes
in me will never be thirsty"' (John 6:35). Many people seek meaning
and purpose for their life. But they never find it because they look
for meaning in the wrong things and the wrong people. When you
follow God's plans for your life, the most important of which is to
know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you will find meaning and purpose
in all that you do.
3. God's plan gives direction. "Jesus spoke to the people once more
and said, `I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won't
have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to
life"' (John 8:12). Without God's direction, you may not know what
to do with your life. You may try a lot of things, hoping to find meaning
in each one. But if you have God in your life, he will lead you and
show you how to make your life count for him and his Kingdom.
4. God's plan brings peace. "I am leaving you with a gift-peace of
mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.
So don't be troubled or afraid" (John 14:27). When you follow Jesus
as your Lord and Savior, you will be at peace with God. You will also
be filled with God's peace. So when troubles come, you will be able to
have peace as you endure hardships.
5. God's plan is for you to live kith him in heaven. "For God loved
the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone
who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (John
3:16). Before Adam and Eve sinned, they had a good relationship
with God. Therefore, they were not ashamed to come into God's presence.
But after they sinned, their relationship with God changed, and
they were ashamed to come into God's physical presence. Sin had
separated them and the entire human race-including you-from God.
But God did not want sin to keep people from having a relationship
with him. So he provided a way in which people could be cleansed of
their sins and live with him in heaven forever. He gave his only Son,
Jesus, as the perfect payment for everyone's sins.
Here are three things you must do in order to know Jesus personally
as your Lord and Savior:
1. Recognize that you are a sinner. "For everyone has sinned; we all
fall short of God's glorious standard" (Romans 3:23). "As the Scriptures
say, `No one is righteous-not even one"' (Romans 3:10). Because
everyone is a sinner, no one deserves eternal life with God in
heaven. In addition, no one can work hard enough to earn this life.
Instead, God gives eternal life to everyone who believes that Jesus
Christ is his Son. Before you can appreciate what Jesus has done for
you, you need to recognize that you are a sinner in need of God's forgiveness.
If you never acknowledge this, you will never receive God's
forgiveness for your sins. And you will never enter into heaven.
2. Ask Jesus to forgive you. "Yet now he has reconciled you to himself
through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he
has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless
as you stand before him without a single fault" (Colossians 1:22).
If you recognize that you are sinner, then you may be ready to ask
Jesus to forgive you. Do you believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of
God, who died to pay for your sins? If you do and you have never
thanked Christ for dying for you, thank him right now in a simple
prayer. Pray, "Lord, I thank you for paying for the sins I have committed.
I give my life to you. Teach me the right way to live. Amen."
If you have believed in Christ now for the first time, write your name
and today's date on the blank lines as a record of the time of your
3. Turn away front your sins. "Those who have been born into
God's family do not make a practice of sinning, because God's life is
in them. So they can't keep on sinning, because they are children of
God" (1 John 3:9). As a Christian, you may sin from time to time. But
you should not continue to live a sinful lifestyle. Putting your faith in
Jesus means that you are willingly turning away from your old sinful
nature. It also means that you are living to please God. You can live to
please God by obeying the commands he has given everyone in the
Bible. If you obey God, you can be sure that you are a Christian and
will one day have eternal life in heaven.
The Ancestors of Jesus the Messiah
1 This is a record of the ancestors of Jesus the
Messiah, a descendant of David and of
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac.
Isaac was the father of Jacob.
Jacob was the father of Judah and his
3 Judah was the father of Perez and Zerah
(whose mother was Tamar).
Perez was the father of Hezron.
Hezron was the father of Ram.
4 Ram was the father of Amminadab.
Amminadab was the father of Nahshon.
Nahshon was the father of Salmon.
5 Salmon was the father of Boaz (whose
mother was Rahab).
Boaz was the father of Obed (whose mother
Obed was the father of Jesse.
6 Jesse was the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon (whose
mother was Bathsheba, the widow
7 Solomon was the father of Rehoboam.
Rehoboam was the father of Abij ah.
Abijah was the father of Asa.
8 Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat.
Jehoshaphat was the father of Jehoram.
Jehoram was the father of Uzziah.
9 Uzziah was the father of Jotham.
Jotham was the father of Ahaz.
Ahaz was the father of Hezekiah.
10 Hezekiah was the father of Manasseh.
Manasseh was the father of Amon
Amon was the father of Josiah.
11 Josiah was the father of Jehoiachin and his
brothers (born at the time of the exile
12 After the Babylonian exile:
Jehoiachin was the father of Shealtiel.
Shealriel was the father of Zerubbabel.
13 Zerubbabel was the father of Abiud.
Abiud was the father of Eliakim.
Eliakim was the father of Azor.
14 Azor was the father of Zadok.
Zadok was the father of Akim.
Akim was the father of Eliud.
15 Eliud was the father of Eleazar.
Eleazar was the father of Matthan.
Matthan was the father of Jacob.
16 Jacob was the father of Joseph, the husband
Mary gave birth to Jesus, who is called
17 All those listed above include fourteen generations
from Abraham to David, fourteen from
David to the Babylonian exile, and fourteen
from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah.
The Birth of Jesus the Messiah
18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His
mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph.
But before the marriage took place, while
she was still a virgin, she became pregnant
through the power of the Holy Spirit. "Joseph,
her fiancé, was a good man and did not want to
disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the
20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord
appeared to him in a dream. "Joseph, son of
David;" the angel said, "do not be afraid to take
Mary as your wife. For the child within her was
conceived by the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will have
a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will
save his people from their sins."
22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord's message
through his prophet:
23 "Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel,
which means'God is with us."'
24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel
of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his
wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with
her until her son was born. And Joseph named
Visitors from the East
2 Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during
the reign of King Herod. About that time
some wise men from eastern lands arrived in
Jerusalem, asking, 2 "Where is the newborn king
of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we
have come to worship him."
3 King Herod was deeply disturbed when he
heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. 4 He
called a meeting of the leading priests and
teachers of religious law and asked, "Where is
the Messiah supposed to be born?"
5 "In Bethlehem in Judea," they said, "for this is
what the prophet wrote:
6 'And you, 0 Bethlehem in the land of Judah,
are not least among the ruling cities of
for a ruler will come from you
who will be the shepherd for my people
7 Then Herod called for a private meeting with
the wise men, and he learned from them the
time when the star first appeared. 8 Then he told
them, "Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for
the child. And when you find him, come back
and tell me so that I can go and worship him,
9 After this interview the wise men went their
way. And the star they had seen in the east
guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of
them and stopped over the place where the
child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were
filled with joy! 11 They entered the house and
saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they
bowed down and worshiped him. Then they
opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts
of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 When it was time to leave, they returned to
their own country by another route, for God had
warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
The Escape to Egypt
13 After the wise men were gone, an angel of the
Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up!
Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother;" the
angel said. "Stay there until I tell you to return,
because Herod is going to search for the child to
14 That night Joseph left for Egypt with the
child and Mary, his mother, 15 and they stayed
there until Herod's death. This fulfilled what the
Lord had spoken through the prophet: "I called
my Son out of Egypt."
16 Herod was furious when he realized that
the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers
to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem
who were two years old and under, based
on the wise men's report of the star's first appearance.
17 Herod's brutal action fulfilled what
God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah:
18 "A cry was heard in Ramah-
weeping and great mourning.
Rachel weeps for her children,
refusing to be comforted,
for they are dead."
The Return to Nazareth
19 When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared
in a dream to Joseph in Egypt. 20 "Get up!"
the angel said. "Take the child and his mother
back to the land of Israel, because those who
were trying to kill the child are dead."
21 So Joseph got up and returned to the land of
Israel with Jesus and his mother. 22 But when he
learned that the new ruler of Judea was Herod's
son Archelaus, he was afraid to go there. Then,
after being warned in a dream, he left for the region
of Galilee. 23 SO the family went and lived in
a town called Nazareth. This fulfilled what the
prophets had said: "He will be called a Nazarene."
John the Baptist Prepares the Way
3 In those days John the Baptist came to the
Judean wilderness and began preaching.
His message was, 2 "Repent of your sins and turn
to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near."
3 The prophet Isaiah was speaking about John
when he said,
"He is a voice shouting in the wilderness,
'Prepare the way for the Lord's coming!
Clear the road for him!"'
4 John's clothes were woven from coarse
camel hair, and he wore a leather belt around his
waist. For food he ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea
and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see
and hear John. 6 And when they confessed their
sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River.
7 But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees
coming to watch him baptize, he denounced
them. "You brood of snakes!" he
exclaimed. "Who warned you to flee God's coming
wrath? 8 Prove by the way you live that you
have repented of your sins and turned to God.
9 Don't just say to each other, 'We're safe, for we
are descendants of Abraham.' That means nothing,
for I tell you, God can create children of
Abraham from these very stones. 10 Even now
the ax of God's judgment is poised, ready to
sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that
does not produce good fruit will be chopped
down and thrown into the fire.
11 "I baptize with water those who repent of
their sins and turn to God. But someone is coming
soon who is greater than I am-so much
greater that I'm not worthy even to be his slave
and carry his sandals. He will baptize you with
the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 He is ready to
separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing
fork. Then he will clean up the threshing
area, gathering the wheat into his barn but
burning the chaff with never-ending fire."
The Baptism of Jesus
13 Then Jesus went from Galilee to the Jordan
River to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to
talk him out of it. "I am the one who needs to be
baptized by you," he said, "so why are you coming
15 But Jesus said, "It should be done, for we
must carry out all that God requires." So John
agreed to baptize him.
16 After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of
the water, the heavens were opened and he saw
the Spirit of God descending like a dove and settling
on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said,
"This is my dearly loved Son, who brings me
The Temptation of Jesus
4 Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness
to be tempted there by the devil.
2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and
became very hungry.