Way back in Genesis chapters 12 to 25 we are told that God chose one man out of all the others, and promised that the whole world would be blessed through him. Mary, the mother of Jesus, came from this family and by the time Jesus was born into the nation of Israel very many people were looking for a Saviour and a King. They all knew the promises and were expecting someone great and strong to chase away the Romans, who had conquered them, and to be their king.
Jesus was a Jew, and he lived in the land which is now called Israel, which was then part of the Roman Empire. The birth of Jesus was a miracle, because his mother was a virgin. His only Father was God Almighty. Jesus is the Son of God, born of the virgin Mary. He is not God the Son as we read in John chapter 5 verse 19:
“The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do”.
It is true that Jesus once said in John chapter 10 verse 30 :
“I and my Father are one”
… and he meant that he and his Father were united in purpose and intention, and he prayed that in the same way his disciples would be one. We see this in John chapter 17 verse 21:
“I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
The Bible tells us very little about Jesus as a child. It moves quickly on to his baptism by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. This baptism was not a sprinkling with water. It took place in the river, and afterwards they came up out of the water as we read in Mark chapter 1 verse 10 and 11:
“And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him: And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
During his life on earth Jesus was tempted in every way but he never sinned. Look at these passages, all taken from the book of Hebrews, that show that Jesus shared our human nature when he was living on the earth as we find in the book of Hebrews chapter 2 verse 9:
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and I honour; that he by the grace of God I should taste death for every man.”
Jesus knew that he was God’s Son, and that he was to rule over all the kingdoms of the world. He would picture these kingdoms and their glory in his mind when he was in the wilderness. But Jesus also knew from the Old Testament that he had to die first, before he could rule the world. This can be read in Isaiah chapter 53 for example.
Jesus was arrested, tried, and found guilty of claiming to be a king. His body was hung on a cross between two thieves when he was crucified. We can read of that in John chapter 18.
Jesus was “in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” So Jesus had to die because he had human nature, but he did not deserve to die because he had not sinned. Because of this God was able to raise Jesus from the dead without breaking His own law that “the wages of sin is death”. After his resurrection God gave Jesus a new nature – a nature that was no longer dying because of Adam’s sin and also a nature that could no longer be tempted to sin. We can have our sins forgiven by being associated with the sacrifice of Jesus in baptism and confessing and repenting. When Jesus comes again we can also overcome death.
When Jesus rose from the dead, he confirmed his identity as the Son of God and his work of atonement, redemption, reconciliation, and salvation. The resurrection was a real, literal, physical raising of Jesus’ body from the dead. Following his resurrection, for 40 days, appeared at various times and talked with his disciples, strengthening their faith. We read in the first chapter of Acts that he was then taken up into heaven and this is found in Acts chapter 1 verse 9:
“And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.”
Though Jesus is now in heaven, he will not remain there forever. When he left the disciples on the Mount of Olives near Jerusalem and was taken up into heaven, two angels appeared and said to the disciples in Acts chapter 1 verses 10 and 11:
“And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”
Jesus will return to the earth, to the same Mount of Olives. The same Jesus, whom his disciples could touch and handle, whose body was composed of flesh and bones, will come again. The whole world will be forced to accept the fact of his resurrection, the proof that he is indeed the Son of God. Zechariah chapter 14: verse 4 tells us:
“And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.”
Teaching about how we should live according to Jesus can be found in the book of Matthew chapters 5, 6 and 7 and are full of wise teaching. These three chapters are known as ‘the Sermon on the Mount’. The first thing Jesus said in Matthew chapter 5 verse 3 was:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
This means hope for all who believe in him!
Jesus also taught by parables. Parables are earthly stories with heavenly meaning. The book of Matthew chapter 13 is full of parables. You will notice that many of these are about the Kingdom. The parables in Luke chapter 15 show us how much God wants us to renounce the world, and find His truth
Matthew chapter 24 is a prophecy that Jesus gave because his disciples wanted to know when the temple in Jerusalem would be destroyed, as Jesus had said it would be. (This happened in A.D.70.) They also wanted to know what would be the sign of Jesus’ coming and of the end of the world.
In Mark chapter 1 verse 1 we are told Jesus is to be the Christ, the long-awaited Messiah, as well as the one and only Son of God:
“The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”
On a personal note, what does Jesus mean to me?
He has transformed and influenced my life and He is my hope; my spiritual food and my reason for being. He is my strength at all times. He is my way of approaching God, my friend and my Saviour. He can be yours too!
What a friend we have in Jesus, All our sins and griefs to bear! What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! O what peace we often forfeit. O what needless pain we bear. All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer!
Have we trials and temptation? Is there trouble anywhere? We should never be discouraged; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Can we find a friend so faithful who will all our sorrows share? Jesus knows our every weakness; Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden, cumbered with a load of care? Precious Savior, still our refuge; Take it to the Lord in prayer. Do thy friends despise forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer! In His arms he’ll take and shield thee: Thou wilt find a solace there.