Upholding the official beliefs and doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and spreading the three angels' message of Revelation 14:6-12
LESSON 6 - HE LIVES - FOR YOU
HE LIVES - FOR YOU
In the streets of Jerusalem the throng presses forward. The feast has begun. Everywhere there is joyful activity, then suddenly great excitement. A Roman death squad beats a Prisoner as He makes His way through the alleyways. The people move back. Under the curses of the Romans the condemned Man staggers under the weight of a heavy wooden cross on His back. Outside the town He is executed with two criminals, nailed on to a cross.
Who is this Jesus? He is from Nazareth, the son of poor people. Until His thirtieth year He was a carpenter. After that, for three-and-a-half years, a roaming preacher. His speeches and doings attracted the crowds. Now He hangs here. Nobody stands by His side any more. Everything seems to be finished.
What has brought Him to the cross?
His disciples link Him with hopes which are not fulfilled (Luke 24:21). For the Jews He is a blasphemer, and the heathens mock His message (1 Corinthians 1:23). For His fellow-countrymen He is too weak because He does not drive the Romans out (Matthew 22:17,21). He moves among fringe groups and cries at the grave of a friend. He is too presumptuous for them because He places Himself above Abraham (John 8:57).
His opponents fix His trial, but there is not enough on Him for the death sentence to be passed.
How do they eventually find a judicial excuse to be rid of Him?
After an inconclusive trial the high priest implores Him:
'"I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God."
'"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven." Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! ... He is worthy of death."'
Contemporary chroniclers mentioned Jesus Christ. He was certainly an historical figure. The four gospels, the record of His life, carry the ring of truth. But what is really remarkable is that the main facts about His life were prophesied centuries before His birth.
Here are a few examples:
|The birthplace is named.||'"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judab, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times."'
|'So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, ... to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.'
|He will have a forerunner.
(About 700 years BC.)
|Isaiah 40:3.||Matthew 3:1-3.|
|Sick people will be healed.||Isaiah 35:5,6.||Matthew 11:1-6.|
|He will enter Jerusalem in regal splendour.||Zechariah 9:9.||Matthew 21:1-5.|
|He will give His life for the sins of the world.||Isaiah 53:4-6.||2 Corinthians 5:21.|
|The exact amount paid for His betrayal.||Zechariah 11:12,13.||Matthew 26:15; 27:7.|
|His death on the cross.
|Isaiah 53||John 19:17,18.|
|The resurrection.||Psalm 16:10.||1 Corinthians 15:3-8.|
Jesus Himself refers to these predictions: 'And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.' Luke 24:27.
The disciples said:
'"We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote."' John 1:45.
THE BEGINNING BEFORE THE BEGINNING
The prophets proclaimed the birth and life of the Man who would enter history as Jesus Christ. But that is not the beginning.
'"Before Abraham was born, I am!"' John 8:58.
Here He gives us to understand that He existed before Abraham, a declaration which is strengthened by the prayer shortly before the time of His suffering:
'"And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."' John 17:5.
Here Jesus looks back to the communion which He had had with His Father in the eternal past, and which He will have once again after His resurrection.
Right from the beginning Christ was with God. As the Son of God He was also the Creator of the world.
'In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets as many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.' Hebrews 1:1,2.
HOW HE LIVED
Christ is the predicted Saviour, the eternal Son of God and Creator of the world.
His life as a human being was also extraordinary. He encountered everybody without prejudice. He gave the same opportunity to all. His incorruptibility was well known. He separated Church and State, just as He did business and religion (Matthew 22:21; John 2:13ff). Like no other man, He lived what He preached. He owed no man anything. He was without sin. But that did not prevent Him from mixing with sinful people and making contact with them. For them He was there. He sat at table with those of ill repute. Full of love and compassion He healed the sick. He cared for the weakest in society. He served people with His whole life. In this very way He showed us what God is like and how He looks upon us.
'No-one has ever seen God, but God the only Son, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.'
'"Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father."'
The whole of Christ's life is a revelation of God, the clearest which has been given to us.
'"I AM THE WAY AND THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.
NO-ONE COMES TO THE FATHER EXCEPT THROUGH ME."'
Significant as the life of Jesus may have been, even more decisive for us human beings is His death. Jesus said to His disciples:
'"The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life."'
"'For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give his life as a ransom for many."'
According to these words, Jesus Himself did not understand His death as a normal end of a human life, nor did He understand it as a failure of His life's work. Rather His death was the predicted, necessary aim of His life as a human being. He died our death, in our place.
Our sins were nailed to His cross. Thus His death made possible the redemption of all people in all ages. It is only because Jesus took our guilt upon Himself that we can once again appear pure in the sight of God. Thank God that He took the initiative and did for us what no other would have been in a position to do.
HE LIVES FOR EVER
That is really the Gospel, the Good News. Jesus died for us; but more than that, He conquered the grave and death, and rose again. Jesus lives (Matthew 28: 1 - 8) as a kind of Advocate. He represents us now in the presence of God.
'Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.'
'Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.'
But theoretical knowledge about Jesus, His death, resurrection and mediation is not sufficient. The Gospel only becomes effective for us when we trust in Jesus as in a good friend, believe His promises and follow His directions. Only then has He become our personal Saviour. In all areas of life we will experience His help. He takes away our guilt and its consequences. We experience the liberating effect of the Gospel and the closeness of God the Father.
LIVING WITH HIM
The life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus lie in the past. His work as an Advocate is in the present. For the future He promises Himself:
'"If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."'
Here begins the visible setting up of the kingdom of God, life without sin, suffering or death (Revelation 21:2-4). A life with Jesus Christ.
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