Before everything. Before anything. There was God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit…
God’s story to us begins with God the Father creating everything.
And it was good. Very good. Man walked with God unhindered. There was no pain, suffering, or death. Fruit was plentiful and life was good.
BUT…the devil was lurking around. Ready to test out his arsenal of lies and trickery to turn God’s creation against Him by turning their eyes on themselves.
God’s creation, created in HIS image and likeness, fell right into the devil’s hand. They took a bite. And with that bite, sin entered the world. Now separation from God, pain, toil, suffering, and death is their (our) new reality.
God had a plan, though. God always has a plan. He is never surprised. He knows all things and all things are under His authority.
His plan unfolds slowly, over a great deal of time. He sets a people apart for Himself. He gives them instructions for living. There are laws, sacrifices, worship, festivals, wanderings, remembrances. He raises up judges, prophets, and kings.
For thousands of years, God’s people try (or not) to follow these instructions. They add to them, take from them, memorize them, study them, teach them, forget them, forsake them. The one thing they can’t do is follow them perfectly.
Something happens one day that changes everything. It was foretold about in hundreds of places in the Jewish people’s beloved books, but they fail to recognize it. God in the flesh is BORN. The Son of God, Messiah, Lord, Savior prophesied about and long-awaited for is here. The Kingdom of God is at Hand.
He grows in wisdom and stature. He teaches, proclaims the good news, serves others, models holy living, heals, feeds, cures, cares, casts out evil, loves, calms the storms, restores, raises the dead to life, comforts…
Some believe in this Messiah, but many don’t. In fact, the religious leaders of the day are the most offended by Him. He calls them out and He threatens their power. He is not at all what they have been waiting for, so they plot to have Him killed in a horrific and humiliating fashion. They intend to get rid of this nuisance for good.
His lifeless body, beaten and bloody, hangs on a cross for all to see.
They think they have victory over Him, but this was all part of God’s plan from the beginning. In His death, all of our sins were nailed between His bloody hands and the cross. The perfect and righteous Son of God – God in the flesh – took our sins and in turn gave us His righteousness. After three days in the tomb, as He told His disciples many times, He is raised from the dead. His death and resurrection was the final, perfect, ultimate sacrifice. After 40 days and some earthly reunions, He returns to be seated at the right hand of His Father.
As Jesus promises, His departure does not leave us here alone. God in the flesh may be back home, but God the Holy Spirit has arrived. And this time, God doesn’t dwell in a temple, or in a human form, but in each of us who believe.
God’s story to us closes with the Revelation to John. We get a glimpse into how it all ends. Similar to how it begins; walking with God unhindered, no tears, no pain, no suffering, no death for those who believe.
Full and final restoration.
God’s story to us spans many lifetimes and extends into eternity, but it all about one person…JESUS.
The Old Testament points to Jesus. Any good works is in response to what Jesus has done for us.
We can’t save ourselves. God knows, the Jewish people tried. All other religions try. Only Jesus can save us. Only the recognition of who Jesus is and what He has done for us can result in righteous living, obedience, and eternal life.
The commandments, laws, customs, temple worship and sacrifices weren’t the point; they foreshadow THE point.
The signs and miracles weren’t the point; they merely point to THE point.
Tithing, forgiving, loving, serving isn’t the point; they are simply a right response to THE point.
JESUS is THE point.