Jesus Christ, the man who is considered to be the founder of Christianity, was not welcome in the influential circles of His time. How He lived and what He taught was considered too extreme for those in the corridors of power in Israel (the place where He lived), and by the occupying forces which controlled the region at the time. He was too radical for them, especially for the religious hierarchy who rejected His claim that the God of Israel cared little for their ceremonies and petty attitudes. They thought that their rituals pleased God, but He argued that God looks at what we are like on the inside, not at what we do on the outside.
When making this point on one occasion, He told them about two men who went to pray. The first (a religious man) prayed, “God, I thank You that I am not like other men - extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this man.” The man he scorned worked for the occupation forces, collecting taxes on their behalf. By contrast, when the turncoat prayed he dared not even look up, but appealed “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” It was this man, not the religious one, Jesus said that His Father heard and helped.
Another time Jesus told the religious leaders, “Those who are well have no need of a doctor, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” His sarcasm did not go down well with these people, for they knew it was aimed at them. They were complaining that He kept company with the wrong type of people, and He was making it clear that their self-importance was really a hollow self-righteousness that prevented them from seeing their own real needs. In contrast to this, the people Jesus was spending time with were those who knew they needed help. Over two thousand years later, Jesus can still help those who know they need help, but those who think they are all right still cannot be helped.
One of Christ’s better known statements is, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.” This emphasises what has been said above. Jesus' offer to help people is a conditional offer - people have to be thirsty, they have to recognise that they have a need and want help in satisfying that need. What follows is written to help people who are looking for such help. If you are reading this and are satisfied with yourself at the present time, then there is no point in reading any further. Whatever the foundation of your self-confidence, be it religion or “fine being in charge of my own life, thank you very much,” independence, until you recognise your needs you will not benefit from the Bible or this summary. What follows is for those who know that there is something fundamentally wrong with their life as it is, that they need help and are trying to discover where such help can be found. Please keep reading if you are in that situation.
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