What Jesus Does
No Other Prophet Can Do
By Hung Tran and Arthur Wright
Mankind's Greatest Need
The purpose of Religion is to bridge the gap between man and God. The Bible tells us that the first man and woman disobeyed God's simple commandment because thev wanted to be like the angels rather than remain as human beings. For this rebellion. God put them out of the beautiful garden which he had made for them and made them work to grow their own food and He told them that they would eventually die and return to the dust from which he had made them. This history is found in Genesis chapter 3.
There we fmd the woman in the Garden of Eden talking to a snake. The snake told her the oldest lie ever recorded, which was that God didn 't mean what He said. This is how the story goes:
Genesis 3. 1 Now the serpent was more crafty, than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. He said to the woman, "Did God ready say, 'You must not eat from any tree in the garden'?" 2 The woman said to the serpent, "We may eat fruit from the trees in the garden, 3 but God did say, 'You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must no( touch it, or you will die. "' 4 "You will not surely die, " the serpent said to the woman. 5 "For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like gods (or angels), knowing good and evil " 6 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it
From that time forward, man has had a guilty conscience. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman were immediately aware that they were naked and they hid from God. But no-one can hide from God. He knew what they had done and asked them to come out and confess their sin to Him. Of course, God was very angry, but He told them that they would have children and that one day one of the descendants of the woman would be able to live a life without sin and would destroy sin's power.
He said this in a sort of prophetic riddle in which God used the serpent to represent sin because it was the serpent (or snake) which put wrong ideas into the mind of Eve, who then tempted her husband. This is the riddle:
Genesis 3:14 (NIV) So the LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. 15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel
Then God turned to the woman and told her that because she had been the first to disobey, she would have pain in childbearing and would be subject to the authority of her husband. The man had to take the responsibility and so God said to Adam:
Genesis 3:17 (NIV) "Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, 'You must not eat of it, "Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. 18 it will produce thorns and thistles for you and you will eat the plants of the field. 19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground since from it you were taken, for dust you are and to dust you will return. "
So here is the terrible dilemma of mankind - a being made in the image of God but with a limited life span of about 70 years - if we are so blessed!
The Bible shows us that God had a plan to break the power of sin through one of Eve's descendants. In other words, God had an idea and this idea is called God's "Logos" in the Greek New Testament and it is translated "Word" in most English Bibles.
Death the result of Sin
We saw that death resulted from disobedience to God. Such disobedience is called sin in the Bible. But how do we know that we are being disobedient to God ? This was a problem. Soon after the first sin by Adam and Eve, men became murderers, thieves and excessively violent. They grew worse and worse to the point that, about 2000 years after Creation, God decided to destroy every one of them and everything else on the earth!
There was one man and his family, who were not like the others. So God had this man, Noah, make a huge ark, which God filled with thousands of pairs of animals. A tremendous flood destroyed everything - except Noah and his family and the animals preserved in the ark. A new start was made, and God promised not to destroy man by a flood again. The rainbow confirms this.
Mankind had not learned its lesson. It wasn't long after the flood that the people decided they would not believe God's promise, so, just in case He did send another flood, they built a huge tower at a place called Babel where they intended to flee if a flood came.
God realised that if men congregated in one place they would become so knowledgeable that they would be able to do almost anything, like they can today. The thing that has stopped mankind doing what he does today, is the fact that way back some 4000 years ago God confounded the languages of the human race so that they could not understand one another. This had the effect of scattering mankind over the face of the earth. Mankind has overcome this problem since the invention of radio and communication. With the result that they can now blow the whole civilized world apart! Human nature always seems to use its superior knowledge for evil rather than good.
After Babel, God decided to choose someone who He could mould into a man who would trust Him completely. He chose a man named Abraham from the city of Ur in what we now know as Iraq and told him to go to a land that God would later show him. Without hesitation he went! The absolute trust he showed in God is called faith. Eventually, after many years, God brought Abraham to the land we now know as Israel and there God promised to give it to him and his descendants forever.
Genesis 13:14 (NIV) The LORD said to Abraham after Lot had parted from him, "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. 15 All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. 16 I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that anyone could count the dust then your offspring could be counted 17 Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you." 18 So Abraham moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the LORD.
Hebron is still recognised in Israel as the home of Abraham.
The Righteousness that comes from Faith
This man, Abraham became the father of the nations of Israel and also the Arabs. However, for many years he and his wife, Sarah, had no children, yet God promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the stars of heaven and Abraham believed God that it would be as God had said. Because he believed with such unshakable faith, God accounted Abraham as being righteous.
Genesis 15:5 (NIV) God took him (Abraham) outside and said, "Look up at the heavens and count the stars-if indeed you can count them." Then he said to him, "So shall your offspring be." 6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. 7 He also said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it."
Abraham later had a son. Ishmael, by Sarah's slave girl. The Arabs come form Ishmael. Abraham was 100 years old when his son Isaac was born. He never doubted that God could do anything. Even raise his son Isaac if he should die. Because of Abraham's complete faith in Him, God became the friend of Abraham and promised that the Saviour of the world would come through Abraham's descendants (Genesis 22:1-18).
It was through the nation of Israel that God was to bring the salvation of mankind. This was done in a most logical and just way.
What is Sin?
The descendants of Abraham, through the line of his son Isaac and his grandson Jacob (whose name was changed to Israel by God Himself), lived in Canaan (Israel) until they were 70 in number. Then came a great drought and they moved to Egypt where one of Jacob's sons, Joseph, had become governor. Over the next 430 years they became so numerous that the Egyptians put them into slavery for fear that they might side with Egypt's enemies. God decided it was time to deliver them from slavery and make them into the nation He had promised to Abraham.
He did this by first saving an Israeli baby boy from being murdered by the Egyptians, then having him trained as a leader in Pharaoh's courts. This future deliverer of Israel was named Moses.
God brought ten terrible plagues on the Egyptians and this enabled the Israelis to eventually escape into the Sinai wilderness. Now, it was while they were in Sinai that God gave them, through their great leader, Moses, a most wonderful code of ethics. This consisted of ten principal commandments and laws of all sorts; even regulations about foods that could be eaten and how to remain healthy by washing themselves, their pots and pans; and other matters of hygene. God even gave them times for feasts so that the people could be happy together. In all of these things there was to be a remembering of how it was God who had delivered them from Egypt and turned them from a slave-rabble into a great nation.
The sacrifices of animals which they had to make, reminded the nation that sin was the cause of death. Sacrifices also showed that God was merciful and would forgive them if their hearts were right.
Sacrifice means, giving up something of value so that we can obtain something of higher value.
This great book of commandments became known as The Law of Moses even though it was really God's Law. It revealed for the first time in an ordered form, the mind of God and it defined what sin was. To have their sins forgiven, the Israelis had to offer their best goat or bull. They must give up something of value if they thought God's approval was of greater value.
Israel was called by God "a nation of priests". It was their responsibility to make that Law known to the rest of the world. By the time of Jesus Christ that Law was available in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. The Greek text is the same today as it was in Jesus' time. Our Bibles are translated from these texts.
Thus sin has been defined for us. There is no excuse for mankind. The Apostle Paul said "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Man, made in the image of God, has fallen far short of that image. The recent history of the world is a sad tale of bloodshed and violence. God is a God of love. When He proclaimed His name to Moses, these are the very words God spoke:
Exodus 34: 6 (NIV) And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, 'The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.
This is how God is. He feeds us all, sending the seasons and the rain. Jesus told us to look how God cares for all the other animals, the birds and the flowers. He does the same for us, but we will not acknowledge it. Yet we know that when mankind breaks God's commandments and commits sexually immoral acts, they often contract diseases which are passed on to the third and fourth generation.
God's laws are immutable. That is to say, they are permanent. Paul said in Romans 6.23 "For the wages of sin is death..." That is an immutable law. Paul wrote this to the Romans:
Romans 5.12 (NIV) Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned - for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
What he means is that the law which said "the wages of sin is death" was there since Adam first sinned, just as the law of gravity has always been there, even though it is only a few hundred years since that law was discovered by Newton, the British scientist. If anyone fell over a cliff, they still went down, even though they knew nothing about the law of gravity.
In the same way, all men die and remain in the grave because they sin, whether they want to acknowledge God's Laws or not! It was Adam's sin which made us inherit a mortal body which dies and returns to the dust. Innocent babies die and return to dust because we are all mortal through Adam.
God's laws of nature were put in place at the beginning of creation. The Law of Moses was a long list of commandments which came much later to show man what sin was and to plainly demonstrate that all mankind are sinners and have no claim to eternal life.
Romans 6:23 (NIV) For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Here is God's remedy for this apparently hopeless situation!
Even though many good men had lived who tried as best they could to perfectly keep God's laws, they always found that the natural laws within us, the law of self-preservation and the law of procreation were so strong that at some time in their life, they committed sin by disobeying God's laws.
The time eventually came for God's idea, to be put into operation. This Logos had to be revealed to mankind. You will remember that this was God's Word that He would provide a Saviour who, though born through a woman, would be able to defeat the power of sin and thus be able to break the bonds of death.
Mankind had proved that, for over 4000 years, no-one had been able to defeat the serpent-power of sin, therefore God Himself would supply the champion who would "slay the dragon ". This is using the language we found in Genesis chapter 3. How was God to do this?
Lets us use an illustration here, which we all know well, and can recognise the meaning:
|We know when it is getting light in the morning that the sun is about to rise. We cannot imagine sunlight without the sun, nor can we imagines the sun withour the sunlight which comes from it.|
|In the same way, we cannot imagine imagine God without His Spirit, for His Spirit is the power which comes from God just as the sunlight radiates from the sun.|
|If we wish to use the sunlight, we can concentrate it with a magnifying glass to a particular spot. We can even start a fire in this way, for, although it is the same sunlight, it is now focussed to perform a particular task.|
|In the same way, God can concentrate His Spirit Power for some special purpose - this is called His Holy Spirit.|
|God chose a young virgin named Mary on whom to focus His Spirit Power. The child she conceived by this operation of the Holy Spirit was Jesus Christ. He thus became "the Son of God."**|
God thus provided the One who had been promised to Eve and to Abraham, and also to the first king of Israel to reign in Jerusalem. His name was David, hence the reference to him by the angel. (See 2 Samuel 7.12-16).
The Apostle John wrote about the birth of Jesus this way:
John 1:14 (NIV) The Word (Logos) became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
The Apostle Paul wrote many letters to the early Christians. In a number of them be explains how God's plan was fulfilled in Jesus. In his letter to the Hebrews (2:16), Paul tells us that it was necessary for Jesus to be a man and not an angel in order to break the power of sin.
Hebrews 2:16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. 18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
Notice also what he wrote to the Galatians:
Galatians 4.4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. 6 Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit which calls out, "Abba, Father." 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir.
These words tell us that Jesus had to come as a man so that he could experience all that we do. He knew the Law of Moses well, being brought up as a Jewish boy, yet, by his love for, and trust in God his Father; he was able to resist all temptation.
In Jesus - God's Idea becomes a Reality
We have seen how the Logos or Word or idea of God materialised in the form of a baby born of the young virgin, Mary. Like Mary, his stepfather Joseph was a royal descendant of King David, but worked as a carpenter. God's Son was not born in great pomp and ceremony as are most princes, but He was born in a stable! His parents laid Jesus in a feed-trough in that stable.
It soon became evident that Jesus was no ordinary child. By the time he was 12 years old, he could reason with the most learned men in Israel. But he worked with Joseph as a carpenter until he was 30 years old, and we are told that He "grew in favour with God and man." (Luke 2:52).
At the age of 30 Jesus left home and was baptized by John the Baptist. As Jesus rose from the water (Baptism means being buried in water), God sent down His Spirit (or Power) in the form of a dove and His voice was heard by those around as God proclaimed. "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased."
After that, Jesus started on his mission of preaching and healing.
The four Gospel records are full of the good deeds that Jesus did in healing the sick, raising the dead, and preaching the words of God about the Kingdom of God to the people of Israel. It could take many pages to even start to tell of those wonderful days when Jesus walked here on earth. In everything that Jesus did, he was putting into practice the attributes of His Father. There was mercy, loving kindness, compassion, patience, gentleness and goodness. It wasn't what the Jews wanted. They wanted a champion to get rid of the Romans who occupied their land at the time.
What they didn't realise was that their real enemy was Sin which keeps us all chained to the grave. Jesus' mission was to defeat that enemy. He had lived a sinless life, and because of this, God had given him the Holy Spirit - power to even raise the dead!
Yet for all the good he did, the Jewish religious leaders were envious of him. They bribed one of Jesus' twelve closest disciples to betray him. Judas Iscariot lead them at night to a secret garden which Jesus and the twelve regularly used for privacy and prayer. It was named Gethsemane because it was hidden behind a 'factory' where they pressed olives to make olive oil.
Jesus had rebuked the Jewish religious leaders many times. He had called them 'a generation of vipers' or snakes and told them that like many religious leaders today, they were robbing the people.
So they rejected him and had him put to death in the cruelest way possible - by torture and crucifixion. They had him nailed to a cross to die slowly and painfully between two thieves. One of the thieves taunted Jesus by saying "If you are the Son of God, save yourself and us." The other one realised that this was a great injustice. His words are significant:
Luke 23.40 (NIV)... "Don't you fear God, " he said, "since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong. " 42 Then he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. " 43 Jesus answered him, "I tell you the truth today, you will be with me in paradise. "
Jesus and the two thieves died there that day. A rich disciple named Joseph of Arimathea had a new tomb, which was hewed from rock near Golgotha (the place outside Jerusalem where they had been crucified). He and a disciple named Nicodemus, wrapped Jesus' body and buried it in that tomb.
God's Solution to the Prophetic Riddle
Jesus' life was a life of righteousness, yet he received the wages of sin - DEATH !
God showed that He was angry at the death of His Son. There was darkness over the land for three hours. There was an earthquake. Some tombs opened up. The huge curtain in the temple in Jerusalem was split from top to bottom as if the hand of God had gone right through it!
The situation for mankind now was desperate! If Jesus remained in the grave Sin would have won!
The Jewish leaders had heard Jesus prophesy that when they killed him (he knew they would) God would raise him again after three days, so they placed a huge rock in front of the tomb and sealed it.
But God had promised that whoever kept His Laws perfectly would live forever! True to His word, God raised Jesus on the third day.
We can see now how the riddle that God gave when Adam and Eve first sinned has come to pass.
|The seed of the serpent (the sinful religious leaders and the people whom Jesus called vipers), by putting Jesus to death, (making him suffer "the wages of sin") had only 'bruised him on the heel,' for he rose from the dead.|
|The seed of the woman, Jesus, by breaking the bonds of death, had dealt sin a fatal blow - he bruised the serpent (sin) on the head by conquering death!|
The Triumph of Love!
Why did God choose such a method? A method which involved the suffering and death of His own Son?
It showed that God is a just God. He had given mankind His Law, but mankind bad been unable to keep it, so God provided One who would show mankind how to live a godly life.
As the Son of God, though born of a woman and inheriting his mother's nature with all its weakness, Jesus lived to please His Father. But God knew that men were evil and that the presence of such a righteous man would cause such friction and envy that tbey would eventually fulfil His riddle.
Jesus knew it too. But it did not worry Jesus. He had faith that God would raise Him from the dead. It was His love for mankind which motivated him to complete the task God had given Him - to save mankind and break the power of sin and death.
It wasn't until Jesus had risen from the dead that the disciples were able to understand that Jesus' first mission was to break the power of sin and death by the sacrifice of Himself to God and so gain immortality.
The Apostle John wrote:
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
When writing about the conquest of sin by Jesus, the apostle Paul wrote:
Romans 5:10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
JESUS - Our High Priest Forever
For 40 davs after his resurrection Jesus appeared at various times to over 500 disciples. He often stayed with those who had followed him from his early days of preaching in Galilee, teaching them more about the Gospel message. He had previously told them that he had to die and rise again, but they had not understood. Even at this time, they thought that Jesus would set up the Kingdom of David in Jerusalem again. This was not to be the time.
At the end of the 40 days, Jesus was taken up to his Father in heaven. The disciples were with Him when it happened, but angels appeared and gave them this amazing hope:
Acts 1: I 1 (NIV) "Men of Gallilee, " they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. "
For the next 7 days the disciples stayed in Jerusalem. praying and remembering the things Jesus had taught them. Suddenly there was a loud sound like rushing wind and little tongues of fire danced across their heads. Jesus had sent the Holy Spirit power of God to his disciples! This was proof to them that Jesus was now at the right hand of God and was acting as the true High Priest for all mankind!
The Apostle Paul wrote in the Letter to the Hebrews:
Hebrews 4.14 (NIV) Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are - yet was without sin. 16 Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
This is the great work which Jesus has been doing since he went into heaven. He knows all our weaknesses, for he trod this path himself. He knows our pain, for he suffered more cruelly than most men. He knows our sorrow when we lose a loved one, for he sorrowed too, at the death of his friends. Speaking of the High Priest, Paul wrote:
"He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. " (Hebrews 5:2).
But. the great advantage Jesus has over all other priests and prophets is - Jesus is immortal - he is alive forever - and God has given him the right to be the mediator for our sins.
God even forgave the Jews who crucified Jesus - on certain conditions. Let us look at what Peter said to the people in Jerusalem just after the disciples had received the Holy Spirit.
Acts 2:22 (NIV) "Men ofIsrael, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge, and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him: 'I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.' 29 "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "'The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet." 36 "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ. "
When the people realised what they had done, some of them were horrified. They appealed to Peter to tell them what they could do. His answer was very simple. God did not ask them to afflict themselves with all sorts of trials or punishments. Instead. he said that if they wanted to show that they believed what he had said then they should change their way of life. The other thing they should do was be baptsed into Jesus.
Baptism is a complete, momentary burial in water. It is a symbol which shows that we are admitting, like the thief on the cross, that we indeed justly deserve death because we are sinners, but we want to put those sins aside and be like Jesus. So we bury our old life in the water and rise, like Jesus, to a new life which will be guided by the words and ways of Jesus. If we do this, we have the assurance that Jesus gave to the thief on the cross, that we will be with Jesus in Paradise.
Paul wrote about it in Galatians-.
Galatians 3:26 You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise.
The promise to Abraham was that through him the Saviour would come in whom all the world would be blessed. It also said that he would own all the land of Israel. but he died without owning more than a field in which was a cave to bury his wife. This means that he will have to be raised from the dead in order to possess that land.
Shortly after Pentecost Peter was preaching again in Jerusalem. He and John had just healed a man who had been lame from birth. First. he explained that they had not healed the man by their own power. but by the power of their risen Lord, Jesus, and the man's faith in that Name. Then he told them that Jesus was coming back again. Here is what be said:
Acts 3:13 (NIV) The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disaitned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14 You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16 By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing tohim, as you can all see. 17 "Now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did your leaders. 18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Christ would suffer. 19 Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins might be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, 20 and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you - even Jesus. 21 He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. 22 For Moses said, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your owm people; you must listen to everying he tells you.
There is no other prophet like this prophet. A man who has been promised since the foundation of the world. A man who would be also the Son of God. Though made like us and tempted like us, he never sinned. He broke the bonds of death and rose to live forever, being made immortal . Now he is in heaven as our High Priest. Soon he will come again. Look at Peter's words again-
Acts 3:21 (NIV) He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore eveything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets.
God is going to send Jesus back to earth again to restore the earth to the beautiful place it was in the beginning - before man sinned. The curse will be taken away and mankind will walk with God as they in the Garden of Eden. The Bible finishes with this promise:
Revelation 21:1 (NIV) Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw, the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he win live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There wil be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Here is a word-picture of true religion. Mankind has been reconciled to God through the triumph of Jesus Christ over sin! There is more........
Revelation 22:1 (NIV) Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruil, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light And they will reign for ever and ever.
For those who obey God's simple invitation to become one of His children through faith and baptism into Jesus Christ, there will be a place in this Paradise on Earth.
Before we finish, let us read the words in the first of the Apostle Peter's letters:
1 Peter 1:18 (NIV) For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was reveakd in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. 22 Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart. 23 For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For, "All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field - the grass withers and the flowers fall, 25 but the word of the Lord stands forever." And this is the word that was preached to you.
Isn't it true that Jesus has done what no other prophet can do?
H.T. & A.W.W.
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