- Jesus is Born
Jesus taught that the way to gain forgiveness for our sin and the righteousness required to be reconciled to God is by repentance and faith. This is consistent with how people were saved all the back to Adam and Eve.
Remember that God is a Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. These three are distinct persons but are one God. After 400 years of silence, God the Father sent God the Son to be born as a human being. This person was 100% God and 100% man. He is Jesus Christ. As God, Jesus was completely holy and sinless. As a human, He experienced everything that we go through, yet without sin.
- Jesus’ Ministry
When Jesus was about 30 years old, He began His earthly ministry. He was baptized by water and by the Holy Spirit and declared to be the Son of God by God the Father. Jesus gathered people to Himself and traveled around the cities of Israel calling them to repent and trust in Him as the Promised Savior, or Messiah. He chose 12 men that He called His disciples or “learners.” He trained these men to follow Him in order to be His witnesses and make disciples to the ends of the earth. As Jesus traveled He taught people what it is like in His kingdom. This included living in God’s presence, sacrificially serving others in God’s community, and living out a sin-free existence. His call to repentance revealed that only those that choose to turn from sin and trust in Jesus will enter this kingdom to finally live as God intended: in right relationship with Him. Jesus also demonstrated what it was like in the kingdom by redeeming many of the damaging effects of sin on people’s lives. He healed people of their diseases, gave sight to the blind, and even raised the dead. Truly Jesus is a Savior and redeemer for anyone that chooses to trust in Him. As Jesus showed Israel God’s kingdom, He offered it to them as their King. However, the leaders of Israel chose to harden their hearts against Christ’s call to repentance and offer as their King. Instead, they chose to side with the world and get rid of Jesus.
- Jesus’ Death, Burial, and Resurrection
Jesus knew that Israel would reject Him as their King. He knew that many of them would reject His offer of salvation. He knew that the leaders would work towards putting Him to death. Yet, even before He came to earth He chose to die. When God inspired the prophets in the Old testament, He had them record many prophecies about where the Savior would be born and details about how He would die. The leaders of Israel falsely accused Jesus of blasphemy and threw together an illegal trial to get Him convicted. The Roman leader, Pontus Pilate, turned Jesus over to the will of the people of Israel who pleaded for His execution. Pilate allowed this and had Him flogged. This was a severe beating that left Jesus near death. The Roman soldiers mocked Him by putting a robe on His back and a crown of thorns on His head. They placed a cross beam on Jesus’ shoulders and made Him carry it to a place of death outside of the city. There they crucified Him along with two other criminals. Despite the excruciating horror of this experience, Jesus intended for it. He embraced the cross. Before He breathed His last breath, Jesus cried out “Paid in Full,” bowed His head and gave up His spirit. A Roman soldier pierced His side and attempted to break His legs to speed up His death. When He saw that Jesus was dead, the soldier decided not to break any of His bones.Two men that secretly followed Jesus wrapped Jesus’ body in strips of linen accompanied by about 75 pounds of spiced and laid Him in a tomb. The Roman officials secured the tomb with a Roman seal and placed soldiers on watch to prevent anyone Jesus’ disciples from stealing the body. To temper with that tomb would have been to contend with the fiercest military force in the world of that day, and to earn for oneself the death penalty.
After three days (according to Jewish estimates), a woman named Mary went to Jesus’ tomb only to find that the soldiers were gone and the stone was far removed from the tomb. She asked whom she thought was the gardener what happened to Jesus. it was then that Jesus revealed Himself to her physically alive from the dead! He told her to tell His disciples of His resurrection. Over the next month or so, Jesus physically appeared to His disciples several times, and one time to over 500 people. He explained to the the significance of His death, burial, and resurrection:
- Promised Savior – Just as God promised a Savior to Adam and Eve, Jesus is that Savior. He paid the penalty of sin (death) on the cross for the whole world. In this way, He crushed all of Satan’s efforts to get people to sin and experience eternal separation from God. Now, because of Christ’s payment for sin, anyone that repents and trusts in His sacrifice on their behalf gets freedom from the punishment of sin, and is given eternal life as a gift.
- Covering – Just as an animal needed to die to provide Adam and Eve with an acceptable covering for their guilt and shame, Jesus died in our place. Our guilt and shame is covered by Christ.
- Sacrifice – Just as Abel sacrificed a lamb as a substitute for his sin; the lamb dying in his place for his sin, Jesus died as a sacrificial lamb in our place for our sin.
- Ark – Just as God provided one way of salvation from the worldwide punishment of death for the people of Noah’s day, Jesus is the one way of salvation from the worldwide punishment of eternal death for the entire world.
- Abraham – Just as Abraham was credited with righteousness when he believed God’s promise, we are credited with Christ’s righteousness when we trust that Jesus died in our place and rose from the dead. When we place out faith in Christ’s payment on our behalf we are then forgiven (all our sin is taken away, paid for by Jesus) and we are given righteousness equal to God’s righteousness as a free gift.
- Substitute – Just as God provided a ram to die as a substitute for Isaac, Jesus is our substitute in paying the price our sin.
- Passover – Just as the Passover lamb was without defect, Jesus had no sin of His own to pay. Just as the bones of the Passover lamb were not to be broken, Christ’s bones were not broken (fulfilling Psalm 22). Just as the Passover lamb died in place of the firstborn son, Jesus died in our place. Just as any first born son that was covered by the blood of the lamb was saved from the curse of death, anyone that trusts in Christ is covered by His blood shed on the cross.
- The Law – No one has ever obeyed the law completely earning their own righteousness equal to God’s righteousness – except Jesus. He obeyed God’s laws in every way and had no sin of His own. This is what enabled Him to pay for our sins in our place.
- The Prophets – Jesus fulfilled every prophecy in the Old Testament that pertained to His first coming. The chances of any man fulfilling just 8 of these is 1 in 10 to the 17th power.
- Christ’s Ministry – Jesus taught that the way to gain forgiveness for our sin and the righteousness required to be reconciled to God is by repentance and faith. This is consistent with how people were saved all the back to Adam and Eve.