Growing up I loved watching superhero movies with my brother…. Okay, okay, I still love superhero movies. I’ve actually seen every Marvel and DC movie released since 1990. Just watching the good guys kick the bad guys’ butts makes my heart happy. Maybe this is why I love the bible so much. Jesus Christ is the savior of the world. Jesus is the hero of our stories, and that is what makes this relationship with him so special. Christianity is about a relationship with Christ not following the law. Following the law is just the response we have to the love Jesus has for us.
GOD IS OUR CREATOR
God is our creator, he is omniscient (all-knowing), omnipresent (always present), and omnipotent (all-powerful). He knew we would need a savior even before creation and Jesus was there from the very beginning. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness.’” (Genesis 1:26) In Hebrew the word Jesus means Yeshua which is directly translated to Ye (God) shua (deliver).
Before I tell you about our savior I have to tell you why we need one, which takes us all the way back to the beginning of time when God created the world. “In the beginning of history, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1) He desired wholehearted love from His children, He knew the only way to receive that true love was by giving us the ability to choose to love him.
THE FALL OF MANKIND
After God finished creation and man he said to Adam, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.”(Genesis 2:16-17) Then God created Adam’s bride, Eve. Everything was perfect after God made creation. Adam and Eve walked and talked with God in the garden of Eden.
Then the fall occurred. “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” The woman said to the serpent, “We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, but God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.” “ you will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-5)
Eve in her flesh wanted to be like God, ate the fruit and gave it to Adam to eat. As soon as they ate the fruit their eyes were opened to shame. That day sin entered the world. God was so merciful and took them out of the garden with the tree of life so that they would not be forever condemned in the garden.
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
Before Christ, human beings had to follow the law in order to maintain their right standing with God. Without right standing, we would be condemned and separated from God’s love. God cares too much for us not to guide us and show us what is right and wrong. He gave Moses the 10 Commandments in the book of Exodus to guide us.
- There is ONLY one God. (Exodus 20:3) Do not put anything above God in your heart.
- ONLY worship God. (Exodus 20:4)
- Do not dishonor God with your mouth. (Exodus 20:5)
- Rest on the Sabbath day. (Exodus 20:6)
- Honor your parents. (Exodus 20:7)
- Do not murder. (Exodus 20:13) Even being angry with your brother or sister is subject to judgment. (Matthew 5:22)
- Do not commit adultery. (Exodus 20:14) Even looking at someone with lust has committed adultery in our hearts. (Matthew 5:28)
- Do not steal. (Exodus 20:15)
- Do not lie. (Exodus 20:16)
- Don’t be jealous. (Exodus 20:17)
The truth is we all have committed one of these sins if not all of them. In the old testament, God’s people would have to give sacrifices to God in order to be in right standing with God. Fortunately, we do not have to make sacrifices to be right with God. All we need to do is accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and the sacrifice of his life cover our sins.
GOD IS A PROMISE KEEPER
Throughout the out testament, Jesus is prophesied as the messiah. God promised a savior, a sacrificial lamb that would bridge the gap between us and God. God is a promise keeper. He promised Abraham that he would be blessed with a nation of descendants. (Genesis 17:1-6) He promised King David with an offspring that would remain on the throne forever. (2 Samuel 7:12-16)
I love how the first chapter in the Gospel lists the bloodline of Jesus Christ because it reveals the fulfilled promises to Abraham and David. “This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Issac.” (Matthew 1:1-2)
The Hebrew word for Immanuel is God with us. Jesus was equal parts of God and man. In order for Jesus to be equal parts God and man, He would have needed to be born in a miraculous way. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 “‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I’m a virgin.’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’” Luke 1:34-35
Jesus of Nazareth was a carpenter by trade and didn’t start his ministry until the age of 30-years-old. Throughout Jesus’ ministry, He healed people, loved sinners, upset religious people, forgave everyone, raised people from the dead, was rejected by family, told a ton of incredible stories, took naps on boats, cursed a fig tree, and so much more.
Jesus lived a selfless life as an example of how we are to live our lives. He lived it completely without sin so that He could die a sinner’s death on the cross and bear the burdens of our sins so that we could be saved by God’s grace. “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)
Jesus knew what would need to be done to bring humanity redemption. He predicted His death three times. It was also prophesied that Jesus would be betrayed by a friend in Psalm 41:9 “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me.”
Then at the last supper, Jesus prophesied the betrayal again. “And while they were eating, he said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me.” They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, “Surely you don’t mean me, Lord?” Jesus replied, “The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born.” Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” Jesus answered, “You have said so.” (Matthew 26:21-25)
After the last supper, Jesus and a few of the apostles went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. While they were talking, Judas showed up with the Pharisees to take Jesus captive. Jesus who had the power to stop the crucifixion decided not to and endured all the pain of a sinner’s death. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
He was mocked and slandered but continued to endure the pain for us. “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the king of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” (Matthew 27:42-43)
Something else that is so crucial to our story goes back to the book of Exodus in the tabernacle (the first synagogue). The Lord directed Moses, “Hang the curtain from the clasps and place the ark of the covenant law behind the curtain. The curtain will separate the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place.” (Exodus 26:33) The Most Holy Place was only meant for the holiest priests. They were required to be cleaned and wear special garments in order to enter this place.
When Jesus died it tore the curtain between God the Father and his followers. “With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.” (Mark 15:37-38) This is so significant because we can now approach the throne of God wherever we are, in any sin, in any situation, and ask him for help and forgiveness with a truly repentant heart.
After Jesus died, his apostles took his body and buried him in his father Joseph’s tomb. Three days later, Mary Magdalene and his mother Mary went to the tomb and they found it empty with an angel standing there. “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.” (Matthew 28:5-7)
Jesus appeared to His Disciples. “He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.” (Luke 24:44-48)
RECEIVING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
Because of Jesus, our sins are forgiven and we are in right standing with God. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.” (Isaiah 1:18) Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies, and God continues to keep and fulfill promises. One last vital thing. Once we admit Jesus is the Messiah, that he died on the cross to save us from condemnation. We must accept the Holy Spirit into our hearts. “But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you.” (John 16:7) The Holy Spirit guides us and advocates to the Father for us. This bond is eternal and will keep us with God for all eternity.
What a beautiful story of love and sacrifice, the most beautiful part, it is our story. Jesus is OUR Messiah. He is our savior and the way to eternal life with God the Father. When we begin to open our bibles and learn about God who created you, and Jesus who died for you, and the Holy Spirit who guides you- the more you will grow into your full identity as a child of God. And the more this will enable you to walk into the Fullness of Life that He created you to have.
** To learn more about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all you need to do is open your bible and start somewhere. If you would like some help, we are here for you. We have many small groups that are open to newcomers who are interested in learning more about Jesus. Please connect with us via our contact page. We would love to talk to you.