INTRODUCTION

This week in “What’s in the Bible?” we examined the pinnacle of history as Jesus comes to bring redemption.  The story of the Old Testament brings into focus two distinct realities: (1) God is holy and faithful; and (2) Mankind is not holy or faithful.  Mankind has been exposed as a poor image bearer, incapable of following God’s word.  But God has promised redemption and he will do what he has promised.  As history records the failure of Man it is also recording God’s faithfulness to his promise of redemption.  A redeemer is coming.  But from where will he come?

MAJOR THEMES

This week we looked closely at the person and work of Jesus, the Church, and God’s final victory over sin, death, and Satan.  Specifically we looked at the following themes:

  1. Jesus the prophet & His message;
  2. Jesus the priest & His New Covenant;
  3. Jesus the king & His Kingdom;
  4. The Church; and
  5. The new Heaven and the new Earth.

These themes only skim the surface of the New Testament’s profound depths.  However, they are essential themes to understanding the scope of Scripture.

BEHOLD THE MAN

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!"

~ John 19:5

Redemptive history was awaiting its Redeemer.  The Old Testament history was full of prophets who declared God’s truth, priests who sacrificed to atone for the sins of God’s people, and kings who ruled.  But redemption did not come through any of them.  They were all flawed.  The prophets all had doubts.  The priests had to offer sacrifices for their own sin.  Power corrupted all kings.  Redemption would not come from men.  But in the fullness of time, God sent His son, the Redeemer, to do what Mankind was incapable of doing.  

Jesus began his ministry as the Prophet of Prophets declaring the truth of God without doubt.  Jesus announced the coming Kingdom of God, that all men must repent, and that God would judge all the earth.  Jesus spoke and taught with authority and boldness.  His bold teaching was confirmed by his ability to work miracles.  He healed the sick, made the lame walk, gave the blind sight, calmed storms, walked on water, cast out demons, and even raised the dead.  He feared nothing.  He clashed with the established religious authority and declared that men must follow him.  He declared that his own purpose was to do nothing but the will of his Father in Heaven.  He announced that he would fulfill every one of God’s commands.  He would be totally righteous.  He would be obedient even unto death.  He even predicted his own death, resurrection, and his own coming in judgment.  He said: “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me….” [John 5:39]  He was the one who had been promised.  Jesus’ boldness to declare God’s truth and usher in the Kingdom of God made him an enemy to the kingdoms of this world and they plotted to kill him.


In the Old Testament we saw how Joseph’s brothers betrayed him and sold him into slavery in Egypt.  Yet, their betrayal was the opportunity for God to show His sovereignty, raise Joseph to the highest office in the land, and save even those brothers who plotted to kill him.  Even so with Jesus, the wickedness of men became the opportunity for God to save the whole world. Jesus became the Priest of Priests on the night before he was crucified.  Celebrating the Passover feast with his disciples he ushered in a New Covenant by taking bread, breaking it, declaring it his body broken for us; and taking wine, offering it, and declaring it his blood shed on our behalf.  The perfect priest, the one who needed no sacrifice to atone for his own sins, was offering himself for our sins.   

Jesus was betrayed and arrested just as he had predicted.  As Jesus stood at his trial before the Roman governor Pontius Pilate it is Pilate who asked him if he is a king.  Jesus answered: “My kingdom is not of this world.” [John 18:36]  After his examination, Pilate renders his verdict and declares: “I find no guilt in him.” [John 19:4]  It is then that Pilate brings out Jesus and invites us to “Behold the man!” [John 19:5]  No court has ever rendered a truer verdict.   Jesus was perfect.  He had no guilt.  But that brief moment of pure justice was quickly replaced by the most unjust act in human history.  Pilate, giving in to the pressure of the mob calling for Jesus’ death, renders judgment that Jesus should be taken outside the city to be crucified.   The innocent man is put to death.

It is in this tragic event that Jesus reveals himself to be the King of Kings.  The Apostle Paul puts it this way:

[He] did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men…. he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

In John 10:17-18 Jesus declared: “For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again.”  Jesus statement comes true in his resurrection.  Dying on a cross, Jesus is raised three days later.  Then he appears, first to his disciples, and then to over 500 of those who followed him.  When Jesus appeared to his disciples he tells them “All authority on heaven and on earth has been given to me.” [Matthew 28:18].  God had made him king; Jesus resurrection instituted his reign as the king.

The long awaited Redeemer had come.  God’s son came to follow every command, every word, of his Father.  He did what Mankind fails to do.  He told the truth, he lived the truth, and he was the truth.  He was faithful even to death.  He accomplished God’s will perfectly; he saved us by taking the punishment that we deserved.  He sacrificed himself for us.  It was for this that God raised him up as the king over all creation.

THE CHURCH & GOD’S ULTIMATE VICTORY 

Jesus’ resurrection is the beginning of his reign as king.  But Jesus first act as king is to commission his followers to go throughout the world and make disciples.  Jesus commission is to create a Church; a body of people who will worship, serve, and act as witnesses to King Jesus.  It is a people who will become more like Jesus and who will do what God commands.  Those who believe in Jesus and who follow him, who become God’s image bearers, God promises eternal life and adoption into His family.

We read of the arrival of God’s Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts.  God sends the Holy Spirit to the Church to empower it to take the Gospel to the world.  It is the Holy Spirit that convicts the heart of sin, that leads people to repentance, and that produces faith in the heart of the believer.  The first example of the Holy Spirit’s work is at Pentecost.  Peter, preaching with the power of the Holy Spirit, delivers the Gospel to the crowds gathering in Jerusalem.  Three thousand were added to the Church that day.   

The Book of Acts also describes the ministry of the Apostle Paul.  While the entire Old Testament had restricted God’s covenant to the people of Israel, Christ’s New Covenant opens up God’s promise of redemption to the Gentiles.  Paul is the Apostle to the Gentiles.  He spends his life as a missionary to the whole world and carries the Gospel far beyond the borders of Judea planting churches and creating disciples.  It is through the expansion of God’s Kingdom to the whole earth that God’s promise to bless the world through Abraham’s offspring is finally fulfilled. 

The final book of the Bible is The Revelation of Jesus Christ {“Revelation”).  Revelation gives an account of the vision of the Apostle John.  John witnesses God’s final victory, judgment of the world, and re-institution of the paradise that was lost with Adam and Eve’s first sin.  God wins.  We await the final fulfillment of God’s total victory and the consummation of Christ’s Kingdom on this earth.

CONCLUSION 

All of God’s promises in the Old Testament came true in the person of Jesus Christ.  Jesus is God’s redeemer.  Jesus is God’s image bearer on this earth.  He is what man ought to be.  His appearance on the stage of world history begins the final chapter of God’s drama of redemption.  We are a part of that final chapter of God’s plan.  We are his disciples if we believe on him.  It is the duty of disciples to become more like their master.  As we conform to the image of Christ we seek to do the will of our Father in Heaven; to live by his Word.  But first we must know God’s Word.

Study the Bible.  It is the only way to know what God has commanded.  It is the only way to grow as a disciple.  It is the only way to become like Jesus.

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