The Lord Jesus Christ
This lesson will consider the Lord Jesus Christ – the centre of the purpose of God.
Jesus was the name given to the little babe born at Bethlehem nearly 2,000 years ago. The name means ‘Saviour’ and the name was given as the angel instructed:
‘You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1 v 21)
‘Christ’ is really a title and means ‘anointed’, therefore ‘Specially chosen’. Jesus was THE CHRIST just as John was spoken of as THE BAPTIST.
GOD’S PURPOSE IN THE BEGINNING
In the last lesson it was shown that God planned in the very beginning, in Eden, to provide a Saviour – one who would overcome the power of sin. The lesson showed that the one who would bring such blessing upon the human race would be in the line of Abraham. Mary recognised that her son was the one promised and in her Song of Rejoicing she sang,
‘My soul magnifies the Lord. My spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour. He has given help to Israel, his servant, that he might remember mercy, As he spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his seed forever’ (Luke 1 v 46-47, 54-5).
The prophet Daniel spoke of the time when the Messiah would appear. The prophet Micah wrote of the place of his birth. Matthew records the visit of the Wise Men to Herod. Notice how many times Matthew records that events happen in fulfilment of the words of the Old Testament prophets
Matthew 1 v 22 Matthew 2 v 5 Matthew 2 v 15 etc.
It was God’s purpose from the beginning to send Jesus and, when the right time came, God’s purpose was put into effect. John wrote,
‘The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth’ (John 1 v 14).
WHY DID JESUS COME?
A well-known verse quoted before in these lessons says,
‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ (John 3 v 16).
Jesus was given to the world by God in a very real sense. The angel Gabriel had appeared to Mary to tell her she was to have a son. Mary asked how this was possible as she was a virgin. The angel replied,
‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore also the holy one who is born from you will be called the Son of God’ (Luke 1 v 35).
This, too, had been the subject of prophecy as Matthew records (Matthew 1 v 22-23).
You may know that in Old Testament times, animals were sacrificed as a continual reminder of the consequence of sin and of a way of deliverance. The man who offered, recognised that death was the result of sin, and sometimes he had to associate himself with the death of the animal as a sign that he recognised this principle (Leviticus 1 v 3-4). Paul wrote, ‘The wages of sin is death’ (Romans 6 v 23).
In the Letter to the Hebrews, three points about sacrifices are made very clearly:
1. The sacrifices in Old Testament times provided a reminder of the principle that sin brings death – a principle established in the beginning (Hebrews 10 v 3).
2. As the animals had done no wrong, they only represented the teaching, ‘For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect’ (Hebrews 10 v 1).
3. The sacrifice of animals could never take away sin. ‘For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins’ (Hebrews 10 v 4).
The Bible makes it clear that what the sacrifice of animals could never do, Jesus was able to by giving his life as a perfect sacrifice:
‘But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God’ (Hebrews 10 v 12).
A NEW BEGINNING
The Bible shows that as Adam brought sin and, therefore, death into the world by his disobedience, so Jesus by his perfect life, ‘brought life and immortality to light’ (2 Timothy 1 v 10).
Because Jesus lived a perfect life, when he died it was ‘not possible’ that he should remain dead (Acts 2 v 24). God raised him from the dead.
The contrast between the effect of Adam’s disobedience and the effect of the obedience of Jesus is referred to many times:
‘Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.’
‘For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.’
‘That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 5 v 12, 19, 21).
As we follow the pattern set by Adam, so we can be related to the pattern set by Jesus. We can be related to the life he came to bring:
‘For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive’ (1 Corinthians 15 v 22).
Lesson 4 explained that man naturally is mortal and dies and that faith is needed to relate him to the life that God has offered. That lesson pointed out that this has only been made possible by the work of Jesus:
‘The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Romans 6 v 23).
So the salvation that God offers is conditional,
‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believee in him should not perish …’ (John 3 v 16).
This is why the Son of God was called Jesus:
‘He shall save his people from their sins’ (Matthew 1 v 21).
THE WORK OF JESUS NOW
After his resurrection Jesus ascended to heaven. At his ascension, two angels declared he would return again:
‘This Jesus, who was received up from you into the sky will come back in the same way as you saw him going into the sky’ (Acts 1 v 11).
Peter said that Jesus would remain in heaven until the ‘restoration of all things’ (Acts 3 v 19-21).
Jesus will return to fulfil the rest of God’s purpose in him. Meanwhile, He is a mediator – one who is in between God and man. He is described as a High Priest who can intercede for us to the Almighty:
‘There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus’ (1 Timothy 2 v 5)
The Letter to the Hebrews explains that because Jesus lived his life on earth and was made in every way ‘like unto his brethren’ (Hebrews 2 v 17) He can understand how we feel and can be sympathetic to our needs:
‘For we don’t have a high priest who can’t be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but one who has been in all points tempted like we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore draw near with boldness to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy, and may find grace for help in time of need.’ (Hebrews 4 v 15-16).
1. Jesus was born by the action of the Holy Spirit upon the virgin Mary. He was, therefore, the Son of God.
2. The name ‘Jesus’ means ‘Saviour’, and it was the purpose of God from the beginning to provide a way of escape from the natural consequences of man’s sin.
3. The wages of sin is death. The sacrifice of animals provided a regular reminder of this principle, but could never ‘take away sin’.
4. Jesus provided the perfect sacrifice.
5. Jesus is now in heaven where he is able to be a merciful High Priest because he understands from his own experiences.
6. God has promised to send Jesus Christ back to the earth to complete His purpose in him when he comes to be King.
PASSAGES FOR BIBLE READING
Matthew 1 v 18-25 Luke 1 v 26-38 Luke 2 Matthew 2 John 1 v 1-14 Romans 5