The Oneness of God
Zusammenfassung: Many Scriptures in this script. 1. There is only one God and we are commanded to love Him. 2. God has made man in His own image. 3. Our obligations to God. 4. God judges man for disobeying the law. 5. God told His prophets that He would come among men. 6. The birth and ministry of Jesus. 7. How the disciples believed that Jesus was the Messiah. 8. How the Religious Leaders Wanted to Kill Jesus 9. God Raised Jesus from the Dead 10. The Challenge
Skript Nummer: 020
Thema: Resurrection of Jesus; Nature, character of God; Law of God; Death of Christ; Life of Christ; Multiple themes
The Tawrat (Torah, Pentateuch, first five books of the Bible) which was revealed to the prophet Moses, forbids every kind of idolatry. Listen to the first two of the Ten Commandments from Exodus 20. These declare that there is no God but God, and He alone is to be worshipped.
"Then God spoke all these words, saying, `I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above (birds) or on the earth beneath (people or animals) or in the water under the earth (fish), for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God (I will not share your affection with any other god), visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, (I do not leave unpunished the sins of those who hate me, but I punish the children for the sins of their parents to the third and fourth generations) but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep (obey) My commandments.'" Exodus 20:1-6
1. There is only one God, and we are commanded to love Him.
"Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall (must) love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (strength)." Deut. 6:4-5
The Old Testament prophets repeatedly condemn idolatry. The prophet Isaiah shows how foolish it is. He argues that if we believe in one Creator God, then we cannot possible accept the idea of idols.
"To whom then will you liken (compare) God? Or what likeness (image) will you compare with Him? As for the idol, a craftsman casts it(forms it in a mold), a goldsmith plates (overlays) it with gold. And a silversmith fashions (decorates it with) chains of silver. He who is too impoverished (poor) for such an offering selects a tree that does not rot; he seeks out for himself a skillful craftsman to prepare an idol that will not totter (fall down).
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? Has it not been declared to you from the beginning? Have you not understood from the foundations of the earth? It is He (God) Who sits above the vault (circle) of the earth. And its inhabitants are like grasshoppers. He is the One Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in. He is the One Who reduces rulers to nothing, who makes the judges of the earth meaningless (He judges the great people of the world and beings them all to nothing). Scarcely have they been planted, Scarcely have they been sown, Scarcely has their stock taken root in the earth (They hardly get started, barely taking root like little plants), but He merely blows on them, and they wither, and the storm carries them away like stubble (straw). To whom then will you liken Me, that I should be his equal?' asks the Holy One." Isaiah 40:18-25
One day the Lord Jesus Christ was asked which of the commandments in the Old Testament was most important. From the Gospel of St. Mark we hear His reply.
And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, "What commandment is the foremost of all (the most important)?" Jesus answered, "The foremost (most important commandment) is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.'" Mark 12:28-30
The Apostle Paul condemns idolatry, along with other serious sins. Listen to his words:
"Now the deeds of the flesh (actions of your sinful nature) are evident, which are: (sexual) immorality, impurity (unclean thoughts), sensuality (eagerness for lustful pleasure), idolatry, sorcery (participation in demonic activity), enmities (hatred, hostility), strife (fighting, quarreling), jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes (arguing), dissensions (disagreements that lead to discord), factions (the feeling that everyone is wrong except your little group), envying, drunkenness, carousing (drinking a lot of alcohol and being noisy), and things like these, of which I forewarn (tell you again, warn) you just as I have forewarned you before, that those who practice such things shall not inherit the Kingdom of God." Gal. 5:19-21.
The Apostle John includes idolatry among other deadly sins which deserves the judgement of God in hell:
"But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." Rev. 21:8.
So the Apostle John appeals to all believers to avoid any kind of idolatry. In the first letter of John he writes:
"Little children, guard yourselves from idols." I John 5:21.
This prayer of praise comes from Psalm 95:1-7:
"O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving: Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods, in Whose hand are the depths of the earth; the peaks of the mountains are His also. The sea is His, for it was He who made it; and His hands formed the dry land.
"Come, let us worship and bow down; Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker. For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Today, if you would hear His voice, do not harden your hearts."
2. God has made man in His own image
We will hear that mankind is in a special relationship with God - God has made man in His own image.
The story of creation is written in the first chapter of Genesis in the Tawrat. There God declares that He will make human beings `in His own image' and they will be stewards of the world he has created. Listen to Genesis 1:26-27:
"Then God said, `Let us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.' And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them."
In the Bible, the Psalmist writes of how God has created man to be His steward (overseer) over the creation.
"When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained; What is man, that You do take thought of him? And the son of man, that You do care for him? Yet You have made him a little lower than God, and do crown him with glory and majesty! You do make him to rule over the works of Your hands; You have put all things under his feet: all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes through the paths of the seas. O Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Your Name in all the earth!" Psa. 8:3-9.
Because man has been made in the image of God, then it is possible for us to speak about God in human terms, using human language. The Psalmist believes that God is like a King, because He is in complete control of the universe. He also says that God is like a Father, who loves and cares for His children.
"The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness. He will not always strive with us; nor will He keep His anger forever. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness toward those who fear Him. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust. As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more; And its place acknowledges it no longer. But the lovingkindness of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children's children, to those who keep His covenant, and who remember His precepts to do them. The Lord has established His throne in the heavens; and His sovereignty rules over all." Psa. 103:8-19.
God reveals more of His will to the prophet, Jeremiah. God says that He wants man to know Him as God, and to understand His ways and His character. Jeremiah 9:23-24 talks about knowing God:
"Thus says the Lord, `Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might; let not a rich man boast of his riches: but let him who boasts, boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord Who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,' declares the Lord."
Another prophet from the Old Testament, the prophet Micah, writes of what God expects of us as his creatures. Listen to Micah 6:6-8:
"With what shall I come to the Lord, and bow myself before the God on high? Shall I come to Him with burnt offerings, with yearling calves? Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my first-born for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
Also, listen to Psalm 23. "The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; for You are with me. Your rod and your staff are my comfort. You have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever."
3. Our obligations to God
Our obligations towards God. God has given us His laws. The Tawrat was revealed to the Prophet Moses more than three thousand years ago. Included in this revelation is what is known as the Ten Commandments. They are written in the book of Exodus in the Tawrat.
"Then God spoke all these words, saying, `I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the Lord your God gives you. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife or his male servant or his female servant or his ox or his donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor.'" Exodus 20:1-17
Moses the Prophet emphasizes that obedience to God brings life, while disobedience brings death, and destruction. Listen again to the Tawrat:
"See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, and death and adversity; in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes ad His judgements, that you may live and multiply, and that the Lord your God may bless you in the land where you are entering to possess it. But if your heart turns away and you will not obey, but are drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish. You shall not prolong your days in the land where you are crossing the Jordan to enter and posses it. I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants, by loving the Lord your God, by obeying His voice, and by holding fast to Him; for this is your life and the length of your days, that you may live in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them." Deut. 30:15-20.
The Lord Jesus confirms the teaching of the law and the prophets. We read His words in the Bible, in the book of Matthew:
"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the Law, until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and so teaches others, shall be called least in the Kingdom of Heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the Kngdom of Heaven. For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." Matt. 5:17-20.
The Lord Jesus summed up the Ten Commandments into two basic commandments for all people. Hear the words of Jesus Christ in Mark 12:28-31:
"And one of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing hat He had answered them well, asked Him, `What commandment is the foremost (most important) of all?' Jesus answered, `The foremost (most important) is, hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, ad with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.'"
God's laws do not only apply to outward actions. The Lord Jesus taught this when He showed that God's law also applies to our inward thoughts. Listen to His words from Matthew 5:21-24, 27-30:
"You have heard that the ancients were told, `You shall not commit murder, and whoever commits murder shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to your that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever shall say to his brother, `Raca' (a term of contempt, like 'idiot') shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever shall say, `You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell. If therefore you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar, and go your way; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering. You have heard that it was said, `You shall not commit adultery'; but I say to you that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart. And if your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand makes you stumble; cut it off, and throw it from you; for it is better for you that one of the parts of your body perish, than for your whole body to go into hell."
And listen to Psalm 119:1-16. "How blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the Lord. How blessed are those who observe His testimonies, who seek Him with all their heart. They also do no unrighteousness; they walk in His ways. You have ordained Your precepts, that we should keep them diligently. Oh that my ways may be established to keep Your statues! Then I shall not be ashamed when I look upon all Your commandments. I shall give thanks to You with uprightness of heart, when I learn Your righteous judgments. I shall keep Your statutes; do not forsake me utterly."
"How can a young man keep his way pure? By keeping it according to Your Word. With all my heart I have sought You. Do not let me wander from Your commandments. Your Word I have treasured in my heart, that I may not sin against You. Blessed are You, O Lord; teach me Your statutes. With my lips I have told of all the ordinances of Your mouth. I have rejoiced in the way of Your testimonies, as much as in all riches. I will meditate on Your precepts, and regard Your ways. I shall delight in Your statues; I shall not forget Your word."
4. God judges man for disobeying the Law
We will hear how God judges man for disobedience to His law. When God created Adam and Eve, and placed them in the Garden of Eden, He warned them that if they disobeyed His command, they would die. This meant that their physical death would be a symbol of their spiritual death, and their separation from God.
Genesis 2:15-17: "Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, `From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.'"
When Adam and Eve sinned against God, God expelled them from the garden. This was to show that they no longer had any right to fellowship with God. Genesis 3:23-24: "Therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. So He drove the man out; at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned every direction, to guard the way to the tree of life."
Who is to blame for sin in the world? The prophet Ezekiel explains to the people that God holds every man responsible for his own sins. We cannot blame fate, or our prophets, or anyone else.
"Then the word of the Lord came to me saying, `What do you mean by using this proverb concerning the land of Israel saying, the fathers eat the sour grapes, but the children's teeth are set on edge? As I live, declares the Lord God, you are surely not going to use this proverb in Israel anymore. Behold, all souls are Mine; the soul of the father as well as the soul of the son is Mine. The soul who sins will die. But if a man is righteous, and practices justice and righteousness, and does not oppress anyone, but restores to the debtor his pledge, does not commit robbery, but gives his bread to the hungry, and covers the naked with clothing, if he does not lend money on interest or take increase, if he keeps his hand from evil-doing, has kept faith between man and man, and has been guided by My rules and has kept My ordinances so as to deal faithfully - he is righteous and will surely live,' declares the Lord God." Ezekiel 18:1-9.
"'Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, each according to his conduct,' declares the Lord God. `Repent and turn away from all your transgressions, so that iniquity may not become a stumbling block to you. Cast away from you all your transgressions which you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! For why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone who dies,' declares the Lord God. `Therefore, repent and live.'" Ezekiel 18:30-32.
In the Bible, the Apostle James writes that whoever breaks one commandment, is guilty of breaking them all. "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all." James 2:10.
5. God told His prophets that He would come among men
We will hear how God told His prophets that he would come among men.
In the Tawrat, God commanded the prophet Moses to make a tabernacle. This 'tent temple' was to be a symbol of His presence among His people. God is the Sovereign Lord. But He also wants to be in a close relationship with His people. These are the commands that were revealed to the prophet Moses.
"And I will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar; I will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. And I will dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt, that I might dwell among them; I am the Lord their God." Exodus 29:44-46.
"Moreover, I will make My dwelling among you, and My soul will not reject you. I will also walk among you and be your God, and you shall be My people." Leviticus 26:11-12.
Through the Prophet Ezekiel, God reveals that He will one day come to live among His people in a new way:
"And I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will place them and multiply them, and will set My sanctuary in their midst forever. My dwelling place also will be with them: and I will be their God, and they will be My people. And the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when My sanctuary is in their midst forever." Ezekiel 37:26-28.
Similarly, the prophet Malachi declares that God is coming to His temple:
"Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,' says the Lord of hosts." Malachi 3:1.
And through the Prophet Isaiah God makes known that He is going to reveal His glory to all mankind:
"A voice is calling, `Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God. Let every valley be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; and the rough ground become a plain, and the rugged terrain a broad valley. Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all flesh will see it together; for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.'" Isaiah 40:3-5.
The Psalmist is full of joy because God is going to come to rule His world with justice. Listen to Psalm 96:10-13:
"Say among the nations, `The Lord reigns; indeed, the world is firmly established, it will not be moved; He will judge the peoples with equity.' Let the heaves be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all it contains; let the field exalt, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy before the Lord, for He is coming: for He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness, and the peoples in His faithfulness." Psalms 96:10-13.
The Old Testament includes many promises and prophesies that God is going to reveal Himself more fully. Prophet Moses, for example, speaks of the coming of the Great Prophet:
"The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen. You shall listen to him." Deuteronomy 18:15.
And the prophet Micah speaks of a descendant of King David who will be a king like David: "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, although you are little among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." Micah 5:2.
Listen to a prayer written in the book of Isaiah 64, verses 1 to 9.
"Oh, that You would rend the heaves and come down, that the mountains might quake at Your presence - as when fire kindles the brushwood, and the fire causes water to boil - To make Your name known to Your adversaries, that the nations may tremble at Your presence! When You did awesome things which we did not expect, You did come down, the mountains quaked at Your presence. For from of old they have not heard nor perceived by ear, neither has the eye seen a God besides You, Who acts in behalf of the one who waits for Him. You do meet him who rejoices in doing righteousness, who remember You in Your ways. Behold, You were angry, for we sinned. We continued in them a long time; and shall we be saved?
"For all of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who arouses himself to take hold of You; For You have hidden Your face from us, and have delivered us into the power of our iniquities. But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; and all of us are the work of Your hand. Do not be angry beyond measure, O Lord, neither remember iniquity forever; behold, look, we beseech You, all of us are Your people." Isaiah. 64:1-9.
The Apostle Paul declares that all men are under the power of sin. Hear the words of St. Paul:
"What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin." "But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Romans 3:9, 21-23.
"Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against You, You only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Your sight. So that You are justified when You speak, and blameless when You judge. Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You wilt make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Make me to hear joy and gladness. Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities." Psalm 51:1-9.
6. The birth and ministry of Jesus
The birth and ministry of Jesus. When Joseph was engaged to Mary, God sent an angel to Joseph to reveal to him in a dream, that Mary would give birth to the child, Jesus.
The Gospel according to Matthew 1:18-25 says:
"Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: When His mother May had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not wanting to disgrace her, desired to put her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, `Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for that which has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.' Now all this took place that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, `Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,' which translated means, `God with us.' And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took her as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus."
Here is the remarkable story of the birth of Jesus as recorded by St. Luke 2:1-20:
"Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his won city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And the angel said to them, `Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger.' And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, `Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.' And it came about when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, `Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, ad see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.' And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them."
Many of the highlights of the life of Jesus Christ are recorded for us in the Gospel. In Luke chapter 8 is the account of Jesus calming a storm:
"Now it came about on one of the days, that He and His disciples got into a boat, and He said to them, `Let us go over to the other side of the lake.' And they launched out. But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger. And they came to Him and woke Him up, saying, `Master, Master, we are perishing!' And being aroused, He rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm. And He said to them, `Where is your faith?' And they were fearful and amazed, saying to one another, `Who then is this, that He commands even the winds and the waves and they obey Him?'" Lk. 8:22-25.
Jesus Christ performs another miracle when He drives an evil spirit out of a man. Lk. 4:31-37:
"And He came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, And He was teaching them on the Sabbath; and they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority. And there was a man in the synagogue possessed by the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice, `Ha! What do we have to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Have You come to destroy us? I know who You are - the Holy One of God!' And Jesus rebuked him, saying, `Be quiet and come out of him!' And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him without doing him any harm. And amazement came up on them all, and they began discussing with one another saying, `What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits, and they come out.' And the report about Him was getting out into ever locality in the surrounding district."
On another occasion, Jesus miraculously feeds five thousand people. Luke 9:10-17:
"And when the apostles returned, they gave an account to Him of all that they had done. And taking them with Him, He withdrew by Himself to a city called Bethsaida. But the multitudes were aware of this and followed Him; and welcoming them, He began speaking to them about the kingdom of God and curing those who had need of healing. And the day began to decline, and the twelve came and said to Him, `Send the multitude away, that they may go into the surrounding villages and countryside and find lodging and get something to eat; for here we are in a desolate place.' But He said to them, `You give them something to eat!' And they said, `We have no more than five loaves and two fish, unless perhaps we go and buy food for all these people.' (For there were about five thousand men.) And He said to His disciples, `Have them recline to eat in groups of about fifty each.' And they did so, and had them all recline. And he took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed them, and broke them, and kept gibing them to the disciples to set before the multitude. And they all ate and were satisfied; and the broken pieces which they had left over were picked up, twelve baskets full."
Near the beginning of His ministry, Jesus Christ chose twelve men to be with Him. He called these disciples Apostles.
"And He went up to the mountain and summoned those whom He Himself wanted, and they came to Him. And He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them out to preach, and to have authority to cast out the demons." Mark 3:13-15.
"Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant - as He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old - salvation from our enemies, and from the hand of all who hate us; to show mercy toward our fathers, and to remember His holy covenant, the oath which He swore to Abraham our father, to grant us that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve Him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him all our days." Luke 1:68-75.
7. How the disciples believed that Jesus was the Messiah.
We are going to hear how the disciples came to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, the One promised by God in the Old Testament.
John the Baptist had prepared the way for the coming of Jesus. In the Gospel of John, chapter 1, verses 19 to 28, John the Baptist speaks of both himself and Jesus Christ.
"And this is the witness of John, when the Jews sent to him priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ` Who are you?' And he confessed, and did not deny, and he confessed, `I am not the Christ.' And they asked him, `What, then, are you Elijah?' And he answered, `No.' They said then to him, `Who are you, so that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?' He said, `I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as Isaiah the prophet said.' Now, they had been sent from the Pharisees. And they asked him, and said to him, `Why then are you baptizing, if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?' John answered them saying, `I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.' These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing." John 1:19-28.
When John the Baptist was in prison, he began to have doubts. So he sent his own followers to Jesus to find out if He really was the Messiah.
After Jesus had fed the 5000, the people thought that Jesus must be the prophet promised in the Old Testament, and they wanted to make Him King.
The Apostle Peter was the first to say openly that Jesus was the promised one, the Messiah. We read about this in Luke.
Jesus did not want the Apostles to speak of Him as 'Messiah,' as this would have caused misunderstanding. At that time everyone thought of the Messiah as a political or military leader, one who could defeat the Romans. Instead, Jesus immediately began to teach His disciples that He would have to suffer and die.
One of the most surprising things in the teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ is that He claimed to be able to forgive sins. Listen to this account of Jesus healing a paralyzed man.
Matthew 6:9-13, commonly known as the Lord's Prayer.
8. How the Jews [Religious Leaders] Wanted to Kill Jesus
We will hear how the Jews wanted to kill Jesus because of His claims about Himself.
One time, after Jesus had healed a man, He spoke of God as 'My Father.' The Jews understood from this, that Jesus was claiming to be equal with God.
Before His arrest, Jesus prayed that He might be saved from suffering and death. But if it was God's will for Him, then He was willing to suffer and die. Listen to Jesus' prayer.
When Jesus was arrested, He rebuked the apostle Peter for trying to defend Him. Jesus explained that if He wanted to, He could ask God, and God would send angels to rescue Him.
At the trial before the supreme Jewish court, the High Priest accused Jesus of blasphemy.
Luke 22:66 - 23:2
The Jews persuaded the governor, Pilate, to have Jesus crucified.
Jesus was executed, nailed to a cross.
Finally, Jesus died on the cross.
Luke 23: 44-49
Psalm 22:1, 6-8. 16-18, 27-28
9. God Raised Jesus from the Dead
We will hear that God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.
After Jesus had died on the cross, His body was buried.
Luke 23: 60-66
On the third day after Jesus' death, the disciples discovered that the tomb was empty.
The risen Jesus appeared to two of the disciples.
After this, the risen Jesus appeared to the disciples, who had gathered together.
Luke 24: 36-49
After these meetings with the disciples, Jesus was then raised to Heaven.
Psalm 16: 1-11
10. The Challenge (written by Michael Abel)
Listen, the Lord your God is one and there is no other like Him. This statement is repeated many times in the Book of God, and it is true because God's Word is truth. God has commanded us throughout history not to hold any created thing as an equal to Him. This causes offence to Him.
We are also told in God's Book that man was made in the image of God. God wanted man to be His friend. In an attempt to be like God, man sinned and spoiled his relationship with his Creator. Because of sin coming into man's life, the image of God in man was spoiled. God's Book tells us that because of the sin of the first man, all mankind has fallen into sin. As a result, man has lost his friendship with God. The wages of sin is death. Thus, we are all dead in our sins.
In this state of death, cause by sin, we are faced with God's judgment. The sentence of judgment is hell. Some people think that by doing good deeds, they can earn freedom from sin and God's judgment. God says that our deeds are like filthy rags in His sight. But we are reminded again that there is only one God and He has not equals. So you may ask, "What can I do to be saved from the judgment?"
God loves man whom He created in His own image. He does not want him to remain in this state of death. Rather, God wants to restore man to his original state as a friend of God. God knew that man in his own strength could not find his way back to Him. So God decided to make a way for man to follow which will lead him back to his Creator. God said He himself would come among men and save them from the burden and guilt of sin. This way is the Messiah. The Messiah was promised by God through His prophets. The Messiah would redeem man from sin.
Ever since the beginning of time, God required an animal to be sacrificed. Only the animals could tone for the sins of man. Animal sacrifices, however, could not atone for all the sins of all mankind. A much greater sacrifice was needed to atone for all sins, past, present and future. Man would not offer any sacrifice so great. In His infinite mercy and love for man, God Himself became the Messiah. He took upon Himself the form of man. God's Book says that God in His love for man did not consider His glory a thing to be grasped; rather, He emptied Himself and dwelt with man.
The Messiah lived with man and performed many miracles and powerful deeds. Because of their sin, the people did not recognize the Messiah. The people took hold of Him and persecuted Him. Filled with hate, they crucified Him on a cross. The Messiah did not retaliate. In this way, He paid the price for the sin of all mankind. [This was] a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice for all mankind.
The process of redemption did not stop at the cross. As the prophets had said, the Messiah rose up from the dead on the third day. He lived on earth for 40 days eating with His followers and teaching them. After 40 days He ascended into Heaven in full view of many witnesses.
The Messiah is Jesus Christ. This name means, "Jesus the Messiah," Jesus the Anointed One. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." Those who have accepted Jesus as their Saviour know that His is the only way to salvation. We know He is the truth about God. He is also the life from God.
Today, too, Jesus is calling people to Himself that they might become friends of God. Believing in Him, they obtain forgiveness of sins. It is never too late to accept Jesus as your Saviour. You do not know when you will die. Take Jesus at His word and commit your life to Him.
If you want to be forgiven of your sins and be a friend of God forever, then you can pray like this:
"Lord, through my many sins I have hurt You. My disobedience caused You, the Messiah, to suffer for my sake. Thank You for taking my place on the cross. Please take away all my sins and forgive me. Help me to walk in Your