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Faith Matters: There is no one like Jesus

  • Pastor Bob Emberley of the Community Bible Church at Camp Northfield in Northfield. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz

  • Camp Northfield in Northfield, where the Community Bible Church meets. December 22, 2017. Recorder Staff/Paul Franz



Community Bible Church
Friday, December 29, 2017

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 265.)

Soon after I learned to read, I found that I loved reading biographies. In second grade my teacher, Mrs. Bellows, introduced the class to biographies by taking us up to the library and showing us a brand new set of 150 biographies. Then and there, I made it my goal to read every book in the series. These life-stories captivated my attention.

As we open the Gospel of John, we are reading, in one sense, a biography of Jesus. It, along with the other three gospels in the New Testament, is a historical record of Jesus’ life and claims, written from the perspective of the testimony of eyewitnesses.

John, however, writes as more than a biographer. John writes as an evangelist. He writes to persuade us that there is no one like Jesus. He wants to make converts of everyone who takes the time to read his biography of Jesus. He says, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:30-31)

In those simple biographies I read as a kid, usually within the first few pages, I would read “so and so” was born on this date and in this place. John, however, confronts us with this remarkable statement in the prologue of his biography of Jesus: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him; and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” (John 1:1-3, 14) He claims that before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, he was already existing from eternity. There never was a time when he was not. You cannot say this about anyone else.

Why is there something rather than nothing? The Bible declares the answer in the very first words of Scripture: “In the beginning, God.” (Genesis 1:1) And in the first words of his biography, John tells us that Jesus is God — the self-existing, eternal Creator. John is saying that behind it all is Jesus. He is more than the “reason for the season;” he is the reason for everything. (Read Colossians 1:15-23)

Around the same time I was studying these first verses in the gospel of John for this year’s Advent series at our church, I also came across an article about stars, and in particular, neutron stars. I learned that the matter that makes up the core of a neutron star is some of the most dense material in the universe. Think of all the material of our Sun squeezed into the size of the town of Northfield. This is a neutron star. And the result is material with enormous weight. How heavy? It is estimated that one teaspoon of the material at the core of a neutron star would weigh 10 billion tons, or roughly the weight of a large mountain.

So here is what I am thinking. Consider Jesus. If “glory” could be measured on a scale, there is nothing that carries the weight of importance, value, honor, significance and worth as Jesus, for compressed into the humanity of that child who grew to be a man, our Savior, is all the glory of God. There is nothing small or trivial about the claims of Christianity, for it is connected to the One who is the creator of the physical laws and mysteries of the universe.

There is no mistaking that John is saying something about Jesus that can’t be said about anyone else. He does not tell us that Jesus is one of many good teachers or even that he is the preferred option of other extraordinary options. He makes the same bold and exclusive claim that Peter, with John at his side, declared with urgency and honesty in one of the first Christian sermons preached following Jesus’ bodily resurrection after his death on the cross for our sins. “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

About the Community Bible Church

Having outgrown our little building on South Mountain Road, over the past four years we have met on the Northfield campus at the Dolben Library, but with the coming of Thomas Aquinas College to the campus, that space is no longer available. We hope to construct a new church at 24 Main St. in Northfield. In the meantime, our current location is Camp Northfield (Hilliker Lodge) 96 Wanamaker Road (on Route 10 just south of the NH border).

In addition to our Sunday morning service at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday evening prayer meeting at 6 p.m., both at Camp Northfield, we have a teen group that meets on Wednesdays (6:30 p.m.) at the Emberley’s home in Northfield. Small group Bible studies and support groups take place throughout the year. A new “Christianity Explored” class will be forming soon. The course provides an opportunity to learn and discuss the claims of Jesus — who he is, why he came, and what it means to follow him.

Contact Bob Emberley at rwemberley@gmail.com for further information. Our website is www.cbcnorthfield.com. You can listen or download sermons from our services at www.sermonaudio.com/cbcnorthfield.