If there has ever been a dark place, anywhere in this universe, it has been the world of mankind. Man has darkened his own heart, his conscience and his world, by continually breaking God’s laws. In his rebellion, man has been making this world more and more like the hell that he is journeying towards. However, one day something wonderful happened. A pure light broke through the darkness into our world, in the person of Jesus Christ. For two thousand years now, souls have been coming to this light.
The Bible says of Jesus Christ; “In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.” (John 1:4-5 ASV), and; “Then Jesus again spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.’” (John 8:12 NASB).
Preceding Christ’s birth, an angel appeared to His mother, Mary, and we read:
And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. And Mary said unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee: wherefore also the holy thing which is begotten shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:30-35 ASV).
From these verses, we learn that Jesus is more than just the son of Mary. He is the Son of the Highest. He is the Son of God. He is given a throne from which He reigns and His kingdom shall know no end. An angel appeared not only to Mary but, also, to her fiancé, Joseph. We read:
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But when he thought on these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she shall bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for it is he that shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:18-21 ASV).
So we learn further, that Jesus was born of a virgin and the angel said of Him that He would one day save His people from their sins. This same Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem, grew from childhood into adulthood and He travelled from town to town teaching the people, healing the sick and performing miracles. The Bible also says; “For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him.” (John 3:17 ASV).
His disciples clearly proclaimed His divine nature and His purpose in coming to Earth. John, the disciple, called Him “… the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 ASV). John the Baptist called Him “…the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 ASV). Paul, the apostle, called Him “… the chief corner stone;” (Ephesians 2:20 ASV) and “… the righteous Judge, … ” (2 Timothy 4:8 ASV). Peter, the disciple, called Him “… the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16 ASV), and “… the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” (1 Peter 2:25 ASV). The prophets spoke of Him also. For example:
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:6-7 ASV).
So God, in His mercy, sent His Light into this world in the person of Jesus Christ. His birth was announced by angels who declared Him to be the Son of God, Who would reign from His throne and would save His people from their sins. The grace and truth, that so filled His being, He shared with those around Him. His disciples testified of His deity, His lordship and His position as the Christ. Jesus said:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through him. He that believeth on him is not judged: he that believeth not hath been judged already, because he hath not believed on the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved. But he that doeth the truth cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, that they have been wrought in God. (John 3:16-21 ASV).
Here Jesus teaches that salvation comes through Himself. Jesus is the only provision for salvation. We read; “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NASB). Jesus is the only means of salvation for our souls. The salvation that He gives is eternal and trustworthy. That is why He said; “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth may in him have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15 ASV).
One of Jesus’ offices is that of High Priest and, in that office, He has made reconciliation between God and sinful men and women, who have repented, come to Him and received Him as Savior and Lord. This act of reconciliation was necessary because sin has separated man from God. Reconciliation between God and people was paid for, at great cost, by the death of Jesus Christ on a cross. This act of reconciliation was an act of love.
A hymnist wrote; “He breaks the power of canceled sin. He sets the prisoner free.” 1 Jesus does, indeed, set us free. It cannot happen any other way. Only Jesus’ blood and sacrifice is worthy to satisfy God’s requirement for justice. Both God’s love and justice were displayed that day as Jesus hung from the cross. It was a gift of love like none other ever known.
How did Jesus’ death reconcile people to God? It did so by providing “redemption.” To “redeem” literally means to “purchase back, to ransom, to liberate from slavery, captivity, or death, by the payment of a price.” 2 An example of redemption would be the provision that some Israelite slaves had, of paying a price, in money, to purchase their freedom. On a much grander and wider scale, Jesus Christ offered His life as a ransom. He said; “even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28 ASV), and the Bible further says of Him; “who gave himself a ransom for all; the testimony to be borne in its own times;” (1 Timothy 2:6 ASV). We also read; “being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:” (Romans 3:24 ASV), and; “in whom we have our redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,” (Ephesians 1:7 ASV).
The account of the life of Jesus Christ does not end with His death on the cross, but it triumphs with His resurrection from the dead. Before His death, Jesus repeatedly spoke about this great miracle that would occur:
Then He took the twelve aside and said to them, ‘Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and all things which are written through the prophets about the Son of Man will be accomplished. For He will be handed over to the Gentiles, and will be mocked and mistreated and spit upon, and after they have scourged Him, they will kill Him; and the third day He will rise again.’
Jesus died for us, in our place. Once we accept His lordship and His grace, by faith, we are reconciled to God and redeemed by Him. Jesus does a further work for those who are His own; He reveals His Father to them. Jesus said; “ … and no one knoweth the Son, save the Father; neither doth any know the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27 ASV). God, the Father, is known by Jesus. When we begin following Jesus, we begin to know the Father too. This is because Jesus reveals Him. Thus, the true Christian is forgiven, reconciled, redeemed and put in a relationship with God.
This is, in fact, mankind’s greatest need, to be in a right relationship with God.
A relationship with God is not solely an intellectual experience. Instead, it is a faith experience which involves our spirit, soul and even our body. A relationship between Himself and mankind is something that God desires.
Friend, have you entered into a relationship with the Almighty? Is your spirituality an intellectual experience, or do you have the kind of living faith experience that the Scriptures call for? Have you yielded and surrendered your body, soul and spirit to His lordship? Does every part of you respond to God’s presence? Are you a worshiper of God?
One day Jesus Christ stepped into this world, sent from God, not to condemn the world, but to save it. Now He steps into your world, so to speak, as you are faced with the choice of receiving Him or rejecting Him. He suffered, for you and for me. He suffered, the just (Himself) for the unjust (us), that He might bring us to God. If you have not done so already, now is the time to respond to Him. Now is the time to turn your life over to His control and to His will. Now is the time to pray with faith. Call out to Him in your own words. Call out and make your surrender.
I offer this prayer for your soul:
Jesus, I pray for this seeker who, even now, is lifting his or her eyes off of this world and placing them on You. You are our only hope. You are the One Who came to this dark world and lighted it wherever You walked. Now You are coming to the heart of this one with Your light. Jesus, You are the One Who can save us from our sins. You are the One Who loves us. You are the One Who can redeem us. You are the One Who’s death can purchase us back and liberate our souls. You are the One Who gave Your life as a ransom for us. You have already paid the price. Now it is for us to respond in repentance and faith. And now, Lord, help this seeker, Lord, in this moment, this moment of faith and prayer, to call out to You from their heart. Help them to make the decision which throughout every age You have called men and women to make. Help them to make the choice, once and for all, to surrender their lives to You. As they ask for Your forgiveness, let them feel Your great love. As they call out, relinquishing control of their lives and of their will to You, reconcile them. Lord, show them the Father. Break the power of sin and set the prisoner free. Amen.
1. Charles Wesley, O, For a Thousand Tongues (1739).
2. John Miley, D.D., LL.D., Systematic Theology, Vol. 2 (Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989), 84. “Systematic Theology, Vol. 2 by John Miley, D.D., LL.D., copyright 1989, by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
Miley, John, D.D., L.L.D. Systematic Theology, Vol. 2. Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers, 1989.
Wesley, Charles. O, For a Thousand Tongues. 1739.
Scripture taken from the American Standard Version. 1901.
and the New American Standard Version
“Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®,
Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973,
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Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)