Yahweh, the great God and creator of the universe, is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and filled with kindness and truth. To the one who repents He has mercy, forgiving their wrongdoing and sin. He is invisible, eternal and all powerful yet loves us as his children. God chose Jesus to be His mediator to show all people the way to come close to their heavenly ‘Father’ and Almighty God.
Jesus was a Jewish man who lived for about 33 years. He was the long-awaited Messiah whose coming was foretold by prophets of Old. They foretold that the Messiah was to descend from Israel’s King David, that he would restore Israel and usher in world peace. He would deliver his people from their sins and open the way to eternal life. (‘Christ’ is the Greek for Messiah which means the Chosen or Anointed One).
Jesus was born (created) of God through a virgin named Mary. He responded to his calling by leading a holy and obedient life, showing great love both for his God and fellow man. Because he was a perfect example of living according to God’s word the Bible describes him as ‘the word of God made flesh’.
Jesus’ most significant work was to conquer sin and death by his holy and righteous life. His victory was proven by his resurrection to immortality. Though wicked people killed him, the God of the universe raised Jesus back to life because he was sinless. Jesus has opened the way for humans to be reconciled with God and attain eternal life. By following Jesus’ example of faith and love, people of any nation can attain eternal life in the wonderful future promised by God.
The Bible teaches that Jesus will return at a day of Gods choosing. He is coming to judge the world in righteousness and fulfil the remaining prophecies by establishing the worldwide government of his Father and God (Yahweh). Jesus will then be King of Kings and Lord of Lords, and finally there will be true “Peace on Earth”.
THE NEW AGREEMENT (OR TESTAMENT OR COVENANT)
The Old Covenant was an agreement made between God and Israel, and mediated by Moses. The New Covenant is an agreement between God and people from all nations, which is mediated by Jesus Christ.
Moses and many of the prophets foretold the coming of the ultimate saviour and looked forward to this time. When the time came, according to God’s plan, Jesus was born. God knew that Jesus would lead a perfect and sinless life, and would provide the sacrifice that would lead many people to be saved from sin & the curse of death. People who desire to enter into this new agreement with God need to commit their lives to serving God with their whole heart and to following the teachings of Jesus Christ. To be part of the agreement people must acknowledge that Jesus is the only way to God and has been appointed ruler and saviour of the entire world.
By believing in Jesus we express our trust and confidence in God’s promises. Believing in Jesus also implies a change of life. In particular we are required to repent of our past wrongs and to commit ourselves not to redo past sins in our future.
Baptism is a physical requirement of salvation under the New Testament, which symbolizes the commitment that people make to get rid of their old habits and sins and to follow Jesus Christ in a new way. The act of Baptism involved immersion in water, and symbolizes God washing away sins and making a commitment to follow a new way of righteous living. Going under water symbolizes the death of the old person i.e. giving up of the old way of life. Going under water also has the association to Christ’s death. If we want to be saved we have to associate ourselves with the sacrifice of Jesus and be prepared like him to give our lives in service to God. The coming out of water signifies the commitment to a new way of life and freedom from sin and death. Coming out from under the water also signifies the resurrection with Christ.
Jesus gave a commandment to his disciples that until he returns they should meet together often and encourage one another. In particular he commanded that when they meet together they should share a simple meal of bread and wine in memory of his sacrifice. The bread represents Jesus’ body and the wine represents Jesus blood that was poured out for the atonement of sins and for the reconciliation of mankind with God. By taking these symbols we associate ourselves with his sacrifice and acknowledge him as our savior. This simple meal helps disciples to remember Jesus’ life and sacrifice of love and encourages them to dedicate their lives to serve God and to be like Jesus.
The Bible tells us that Jesus is the most important man in the world’s past, present and future. Our count of years is even based on his birth. (e.g. 300 B.C.= 300 years before Christ, and we are ~2003 years since his birth). His life and teachings have inspired millions of people all over the world for 2000 years.
Jesus was different from all other people in that he had a miraculous birth as foretold in the Old Testament – he was born of a woman who was virgin. Before he was born an angel came to his mother and told her that the child in her womb would be the Son of God and that he would become a great King. The angel also brought this message to Joseph, her husband-to-be, telling him to go ahead with the marriage because she was still a virgin and was in fact pregnant by the power of God. And so it was that Jesus was born and brought up under the care of both his mother Mary and her husband Joseph, and spent his youth in a normal family environment with brothers and sisters. Joseph was a carpenter, and it is likely that Jesus carried on this trade
At the age of 30 Jesus started publicly teaching about God. Jesus’ teachings overturned many discriminatory ideas. His teachings centered on unselfish love towards others and presented the true and fullest meaning and of God’s laws. As a result he was opposed by the corrupt religious rulers, who has disregarded the intention of God’s law and twisted their interpretations to promote and enrich themselves. Jesus teachings were revolutionary not only to individuals but to also entire nations, greatly influencing the early development of justice systems, and civil culture in the western world.
God gave Jesus unlimited power to perform great miracles such as giving complete sight to people born blind, and even bringing back someone from death. These miracles showed people that his teachings were directly from God.
Jesus was a Jew and lived at a time when the Roman Empire ruled over Israel. The Jews were oppressed by Roman power and hence were desperate for God to send the promised deliverer or Messiah to overthrow the Romans and bring them independence. Jesus was indeed the promised Messiah, but his mission was not to bring instant deliverance or justice at that time. Rather his mission was to deliver people of all nations from the greatest oppressor of all time – death.
Jesus did not try to escape the unjust sentence of death. He knew that it was God’s will that he should endure this suffering, and that through his death many people would be reconciled to God. He had absolute faith that God would raise him back to life.
Three days after his burial, God brought Jesus back to life and gave him immortality. He spent another 40 days on earth with his followers before being taken into heaven to sit at the right hand of God. The Bible tells that Jesus is the mediator between God and man, and promises that he will return to earth to bring peace to the world.
Jesus’ birth – God speaks to Mary through his Angel
26 …the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee,
27 To a virgin who was to be married to a man named Joseph, of
the family of David; and the name of the virgin was Mary.
28 And the angel came in to her and said, Peace be with you, to
whom special grace has been given; the Lord is with you.
29 But she was greatly troubled at his words, and said to herself,
What may be the purpose of these words?
30 And the angel said to her, Have no fear, Mary, for you have
31 And see, you will give birth to a son, and his name will be
32 He will be great, and will be named the Son of the Most High:
and the Lord God will give him the kingdom of David, his father:
33 He will have rule over the house of Jacob for ever, and of his
kingdom there will be no end.
34 And Mary said to the angel, How may this be, because I have
had no knowledge of a man?
35 And the angel in answer said to her, The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will come to rest on you, and so that which will come to birth will be named holy, Son of God.
Reasoning: List five things that the angel foretold about Jesus’ life?
- He would be great
- He was to be the son of Most High God
- God would give him the kingdom of his father David
- He will have rule over the house of Jacob for ever
- His Kingdom will last forever.
Jesus’ birth had been promised hundreds of years beforehand by the Old Testament prophets. For instance, the prophet Isaiah predicted the nature of his miraculous birth when he wrote:
“The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold! The virgin will conceive and will bring forth a son; and she shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
The prophet Jeremiah also under inspiration of the same Holy Spirit (God’s power) wrote about his kingship:
“See, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will give to David a true Branch, and he will be ruling as king, acting wisely, doing what is right, and judging uprightly in the land. In his days Judah will have salvation and Israel will be living without fear: and this is the name by which he will be named, The Lord is our righteousness.” Jeremiah 23:5-6
JESUS AS MEDAITOR
As the writer to the Hebrews puts it:
Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs. [Hebrews 1:1-4]
God reached out to mankind down the ages through various people to turn people to their maker but in end reached out through Jesus the perfect man. Jesus is seen as a mediator between God and man. Note the following verses:
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time. [1 Timothy 2:5-6]
Whoever does not love me does not keep my words. And the word that you hear is not mine but the Father’s who sent me. [John 14:24]
One of the first things Jesus preached was:
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” [Matthew 4:17]
JESUS AS SAVIOR
Jesus is seen as the “second” Adam. The first Adam though he was created perfect but disobeyed God and brought sin and death into the world. The second Adam (man) – Jesus obeyed God and brought everlasting life to people who choose to follow in his ways. Jesus is the only way to God. Jesus’ life of obedience and sacrifice on across not only brought about his own salvation but also the salvation of the whole world, especially those who believe.
“For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.” [1 Corinthians 15:21-23]
For one will scarcely die for a righteous person–though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die– but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. [Romans 5:7-9]
JESUS CONQUERER OF SIN AND LIGHT OF THE WORLD
Jesus’ prayer to God shortly before his crucifixion. He won the ultimate ‘battle of wills’ by submitting to God
42 “Father, if it is your will, take this cup of suffering away from me. However, your will must be done, not mine.”
Jesus is the only person to have resisted all temptation & overcome sin
….We have a superior chief priest [mediator] who has gone through the heavens. That person is Jesus, the Son of God.
We have a chief priest who is able to sympathize with our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin. So we can go confidently to the throne of God’s kindness to receive mercy and find kindness, which will help us at the right time
IS JESUS GOD?
Jesus was really a man, with normal human feelings, and was severely tried by the suffering inflicted by his enemies. However, he patiently endured in accordance with his own teaching. The suffering he endured was very harsh and cruel, but he trusted in God’s deliverance.
Jesus is different from God in the following ways:
God raised Jesus from the dead because he was perfectly obedient (ie sinless) and therefore overcame the sentence of death. Jesus said “For I came down from Heaven, not to do My own will but the will of Him who sent Me.” John 6:38
But obedience did not come automatically to Jesus. Obedience was the outcome of his immense faith and constant communication with God throughout the various trials and sufferings of his life, as described in Hebrews:
“For Jesus, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong cryings and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared, though being a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. And being perfected, He became the Author of eternal salvation to all those who obey Him” Hebrews 5:7-9
The distinction between God and Jesus is important, because God intended it. In relation to temptation it important to understand that:
“God can’t be tempted by evil” James 1:13,
Jesus ” was tempted in every way that we are, but he didn’t sin.” Hebrews 4:14-16
The Bible does teach that Jesus and God had a complete spiritual unity and sense of purpose because Jesus was prepared to say “not my will yours be done”. As a result the Bible sometimes described God and Jesus ‘one’ in this context. However the Bible does not teach the doctrine of the Trinity held by many Christians who claim God and Jesus are physically one.
Regarding God raising Christ from the dead, this had been prophesied in the Psalms.
“For you will not leave my soul in Sheol, Neither will you allow your holy one to see corruption.” Psalms 16:10
The resurrection of Jesus further highlights important distinctions between God and his son Jesus.. If Jesus were God, it would be impossible for Jesus to die, and further it would be impossible for him to be raised from the dead, because God would be dead. God is immortal and only he can give immortality. Jesus died the same death that Adam experienced but the difference was he rose by the power of God on the third day. Jesus is referred to as the second Adam because he is able to free humans from the results of the first Adam’s sin. The contrast is also made in terms of the second Adam being spiritually minded while the first being earthly minded.
“So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However that which is spiritual isn’t first, but that which is natural, then that which is spiritual. The first man is of the earth, made of dust. The second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the one made of dust, such are those who are also made of dust; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. As we have borne the image of those made of dust, let’s also bear the image of the heavenly. “ 1 Corinthians 15:45-49
Jesus is very clearly under the authority of his God (Yahweh or Jehovah)
1 Corinthians 15
24 Then the end will come. Christ will hand over the kingdom to God the Father as he destroys every ruler, authority, and power.
25 Christ must rule until God has put every enemy under his control.
26 The last enemy he will destroy is death.
27 Clearly, God has put everything under Christ’s authority. When God says that everything has been put under Christ’s authority, this clearly excludes God, since God has put everything under Christ’s authority.
28 But when God puts everything under Christ’s authority, the Son will put himself under God’s authority, since God had put everything under the Son’s authority. Then God will be in control of everything.