(Following is a short summary of the second part of the story I tell the pastors in each conference. I usually take one or two hours to develop what I’ve summarized below.)
The story of Jesus begins in eternity past with God the Son, part of the Trinity. He volunteered to come to earth to pay for man’s sin. It was the only way God could give mankind a free will so he could voluntarily choose to follow Him, yet pay for the sin and disobedience that was sure to be part of every person’s life. This put Him in direct conflict with Satan and his kingdom of darkness.
That battle started in Eden when God said Satan would painfully would Jesus but that Jesus would be the ultimate victor and destroy Satan. Throughout the Old Testament God kept revealing more and more of His plan of redemption to man: a substitute provided for Isaac, the Passover Lamb being sacrificed, Ruth’s kinsman-redeemer, blood sacrifices, Joshua leading the people to victory against their enemies, prophets who gave many prophecies about the coming Messiah and many others. So when Jesus came the stage had been set, the foundation laid, and all was in order for God’s plan of redemption to be accomplished.
Jesus, the perfect One who was both God and man, was miraculously, born into a human family. He grew to manhood, facing all the temptations anyone faces, but never sinning. At 30 years of age He publically committed Himself to following God’s will and beginning walking the path that led to the cross. He was baptized by John and tempted by Satan in the wilderness, a continuation of His battle with Satan which began in heaven and moved to earth in Eden.
Jesus used miracles to show He was God and had power over nature and even demons. If He could heal physical bodies He could heal spiritual souls. Slowly He gathered a small following of those who traveled with Him and learned from Him. He taught and trained them to carry His story to others who would pass it on to still others until it would reach everyone on earth.
Most, however, rejected His teachings because they didn’t want to admit their sin and recognize their need of His forgiveness. This culminated with His crucifixion, a most horrible and painful death. While on the cross the battle between Him and Satan reached its climax. God the Father and Spirit withdrew their presence and Jesus, as a man, faced the penalty for all the sin of the world alone. As was prophesied in Genesis 3:15, though, despite being badly beaten, Jesus was the ultimate victor over sin, Satan and death.
His resurrection 3 days later followed by His ascension back to heaven concluded this part of the story of redemption. God is the victor, redemption is provided!
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.
John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Think about this greatest of all stories today. Keep bringing your thoughts back to this part of it. Meditate on it. Thank God for it over and over and over. Think where your life would be without it!
(A future blog will conclude this short summary of that wonderful story.)