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1. Jesus Christ - Our Saviour

Before we begin dealing verse by verse with Acts 8:26-40 (the portion of the Bible we are going to study in this course) we must first briefly ask and answer a few questions. This will help us understand much better the portion we are going to study.

The first question is: Who is the most important person we read about  in Acts 8:26-40?

We have already mentioned two people of whom we read in this passage. One is Philip the evangelist. The other is the official from Ethiopia. And yet neither of these is the most important person of whom the Bible speaks.

The most important person is Jesus Christ. He is the Son of God. He is the Saviour of mankind. It is He alone who can make people really happy.

This is why Philip spoke about none other than Jesus Christ when he wanted to make the message clear. This is also why the official could go home rejoicing. He had come to know Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ is the main person about whom the Bible speaks. For that reason this course concerns, in the first place, the Person and work of Jesus Christ. We trust that you too will come to know Jesus Christ better while you work at this study. Then you, likewise, will be really happy.

Now a second question: Why are people unhappy?

There is a lot of unhappiness in life. People hate each other. They try to hurt each other, take each other's things, and even kill each other. Others go about with evil thoughts and wrong desires. Still others are dissatisfied about many things, or they are unhappy or just cannot get on with other people.

Why is this so? Because we are all sinful people. We have disobeyed God and served Satan.

God did not intend this. When He made the first people (read Genesis 1 and 2 in your Bible), He intended them to be happy. People were meant to love God and to love one another. They would all be one in the service of the Lord.

Satan did not like that. He is the tempter who wants to bring God's good work to nothing. For this reason he tried to tempt the first people to rebel against God. And what did they do? They listened to Satan. They turned their backs on God. So they came under the devil's power (read Genesis 3 in your Bible).

However, people soon realized that happiness had vanished from their lives. Moreover, they found God's punishment upon them. They would die in sin and be lost forever.

It was not only Adam and Eve (the first two people) who were disobedient to God and were punished. All their descendants (that is, all people who have ever lived and those alive now) are affected by their sin. We have all become sinful people. That is why we are unhappy. And if we are not somehow saved from sin, we will die in sin and be lost forever. That is what the Bible says.

Luckily this is not all that the Bible says: God wants to save us from sin. He wants us to be his children once again, just as He originally intended. That is why He sent his Son Jesus Christ to earth.

This brings us to the very important question:

Who is Jesus Christ, and what has He done to free us from our sins?

It all happened in a tiny country in the Middle East. It was called Palestine. Today we know it as Israel. A boy was born almost two thousand years ago in that country. This happened in Bethlehem - in the province of Judea. His name was Jesus. When He grew up, He worked like a doctor and a teacher. To heal people He performed miracles. And, while doing this, He taught the people with exceptional authority and wisdom. He also acted as leader of a small group of followers who went about all over with Him. Many people admired Him. But some hated Him. Eventually they nailed his hands and feet to a cross on Golgotha, a hill outside Jerusalem, and there He died.

On the first Sunday after his death He became alive again, and on that same day surprised his followers. He appeared unexpectedly among them and spent the evening with them! Forty days later they stood astonished and gazed as He was taken away from them, hack to his Father in heaven. But He did not forget them, because a further ten days later they were suddenly filled with his Spirit, the Holy Spirit.

It was only at that stage that they finally began to understand what had happened among them. Jesus is the only Son of God. He was sent to earth by God to save us from our sins.

Someone had to pay the debt we sinners owed to God. We could not do it ourselves. God still loves us although we are sinful people. That is why He decided to save us.

When Jesus died on the cross, He actually bore God's punishment for our sins in our place. He paid our debt. He overcame Satan. And because He is God's Son, and has power over all things, He rose from the dead.

Jesus still lives today. He lives and works among his people through his Spirit. And to this day He frees people from their sins. He still makes people happy. All who believe in Him are not punished by God. They become children of God. They receive eternal life - the greatest gift a person can receive, the greatest joy a person can have!

Look up John 3:16. Listen to the way this verse sums up the message of Jesus. Fill in the missing words here.
(NKJ) "For God so ________ the world that He gave His only begotten ______, that whoever ____________ in Him should not _______________ but have everlasting ________."

Have you already become a child of God? Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your Saviour?

Questions to answer:

1. Why are people unhappy?
2. Is it only a certain number of people who are sinners? Give reasons for  your answer.
3. Who tempted mankind to commit sin?
4. What has Jesus done to free us from sin?