Two great moments in our lives are when we are born and when we discover why we were born. We were created for a reason-a divine purpose. Our lives are not accidents or fate. God has a personal plan for each of us. His purpose in our lives can only be accomplished because of Jesus Christ.
The life of Jesus Christ is the turning point of all history. Our calendar is hinged on His birth. Who was this man from the small town of Nazareth in the Middle East? Hundreds of years before He came, prophets announced His coming. Many great men have appeared in this world, yet none were divine and announced beforehand, except this one man-Jesus.
Almost 2,000 years ago, four writers recorded the life and teachings of Jesus. The first four books in the New Testament bear their names: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
Mark's record is the earliest of the four accounts. He was only a boy during Jesus' ministry on earth, but he later traveled with the apostle Peter. Mark wrote what Peter preached about Jesus to all who would listen.
Matthew, like Peter, was one of Jesus' twelve disciples. He offers a first-hand account of what Jesus said and did over the three-year period. Luke was a physician who became a follower of Jesus after His life on earth. He spent time with many who were close to Jesus during His earthly ministry. Jesus' mother, Mary, gave Luke a mother's insight into Jesus' birth and early life.
The apostle John was the disciple who stood alone at the foot of the cross. When Jesus died, He demonstrated His great trust in John by committing the care of His mother, Mary, to him. At the time he wrote the last of the four histories, John was the only remaining disciple still living.
Were Jesus' followers telling the truth about Him? The proofs that Christ came back to life from death were so convincing, the early Christians gave their lives rather than deny that Jesus was the Son of God.
The apostle Peter was a fisherman who traveled with Jesus for more than three years, listening to His teaching and observing His life. Peter was one of Jesus' first followers and became one of His closest friends. In a letter Peter wrote to churches late in his life, he said, "We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." 1