Loading...
Menu

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

p<>{color:#000;}.

My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Copyright 2016 Zion S. Kwok

Published by Zion S. Kwok at Shakespir

Quotations from the World English Bible (WEB) are in the Public Domain.

Shakespir Edition License Notes

Thank you for downloading this e-book. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to your favorite e-book retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Darkness

Chapter 2: The King of the Jews

Chapter 3: The Son of God

Chapter 4: Was Jesus a Good Man?

Chapter 5: Does God Care?

Chapter 6: God’s Silence

Chapter 7: God’s Master Plan

Chapter 8: What Is That to Us?

Chapter 9: What Shall We Do?

Appendix 1: Prophecies about Jesus Christ

Appendix 2: Trinity

Appendix 3: Was Jesus Separated from God?

Chapter 1: Darkness

An eerie darkness enveloped the land where Jesus hung on the cross – dying slowly, yet visibly alive. It was supposed to be a festive season in Jerusalem, when many thousands of Jews flocked for Passover. But for the small crowd that gathered there, the city devoid of sunlight, and for the man languishing on the cross, the dread of what was to come was deafening.

“ELI, ELI, LIMA SABACHTHANI?”

Jesus’ cry echoed off the rocky slopes. Confused by the sudden outburst, some people thought Jesus was calling for the prophet Elijah. But before long, He was dead. What did Jesus say? What did He mean? Jesus was quoting the first line of a familiar poem set to music, Psalm 22, written by King David 1000 years earlier.

[Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?
2 My God, I cry in the daytime, but you don’t answer;
in the night season, and am not silent.]

It was a cry of distress that came from Jesus’ lips. His God had forsaken him. How did Jesus end up dying? Why should God help Him? Was He mistaken in what He believed?

How Did Jesus End Up Dying?

Jesus was a very popular teacher, telling parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. These stories were welcomed by young and old alike. He was also a powerful healer. Multitudes came to see Him to be cured of their various illnesses, and he healed even those with debilitating ailments such as paralysis and blindness. But the latest news was that in the village of Bethany, just three kilometers or two miles from Jerusalem, a dead man, Lazarus, had been raised to life! Having been dead four days and buried in a tomb, Jesus came to the tomb and called for the man to come out, and he did! So excited were the crowds that they lined the road and shouted as Jesus passed by on His way into the city of Jerusalem.

John 12:13 they took the branches of the palm trees, and went out to meet him, and cried out, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the King of Israel!”

These were remarkable words in a day when Judea was still a Roman province and governed by Pontius Pilate. So how did such a popular figure get killed just five days later? Did the Romans crush His rebellion in its tracks? The answer is a little more complicated.

Although Jesus was popular among the people, the chief priests, the scribes, and the Pharisees loathed Him. Jesus presented Himself as the new authority, telling the people what was right and what was wrong. The teachings of the priests, the scribes, and the Pharisees were often empty traditions. Jesus’ calls for reform also included the valuing of heavenly treasures above earthly treasures – a departure from what Jesus pointed out as greed and hypocrisy in the religious leaders of His day. He also seemed to break the Sabbath rules from time to time – healing the woman with the withered hand, healing a man who was sick for 38 years, giving sight to a man born blind. But more than that, Jesus claimed to be someone special: those who believe in Him would have living water, and they would never die. He also declared the sins of the paralyzed man forgiven. Jesus was claiming to be the Christ and the Son of God! But they could not easily catch Him saying those exact words publicly.

Finally, the chief priests paid one of Jesus’ disciples, Judas Iscariot, thirty silver coins, and he led soldiers to arrest Jesus at night in an olive grove when He was not surrounded by a crowd. Gathering witnesses to testify against Him, they could not find any convicting testimony. Finally, the chief priest used an oath to ask Jesus Himself.

Matthew 26:62 The high priest stood up, and said to him, “Have you no answer? What is this that these testify against you?” 63 But Jesus held his peace. The high priest answered him, “I adjure you by the living God, that you tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God.”

64 Jesus said to him, “You have said it. Nevertheless, I tell you, after this you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power, and coming on the clouds of the sky.”

65 Then the high priest tore his clothing, saying, “He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Behold, now you have heard his blasphemy. 66 What do you think?”

They answered, “He is worthy of death!” 67 Then they spit in his face and beat him with their fists, and some slapped him, 68 saying, “Prophesy to us, you Christ! Who hit you?”

When Jesus proudly admitted that He was the Christ, the Son of God, his fate was quickly decided. But His admission is only blasphemous and dishonouring to God if it were false. But how could a man say things like he would sit at God’s right hand and come in the clouds of the sky? Consider an earlier episode:

John 10:33 The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

How could a man, Jesus, be God? And what does “Christ” mean? We’ll revisit these questions in later chapters.

The Roman Cross

But Jesus didn’t die at the hands of the Jewish religious leaders. He was crucified by Roman soldiers, as the occupying power reserved for itself the right to apply the death penalty. While the Roman law recognized Judaism as a permitted religion, the Romans were more concerned about keeping the peace than settling disputes about the Jewish faith. Therefore, Jesus was handed over to the Roman governor Pontius Pilate with the charge of treason against Rome. Incredibly, Pontius Pilate asked Jesus a few questions and then wanted to release Him.

John 18:33 Pilate therefore entered again into the Praetorium, called Jesus, and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

34 Jesus answered him, “Do you say this by yourself, or did others tell you about me?”

35 Pilate answered, “I’m not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests delivered you to me. What have you done?”

36 Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not of this world. If my Kingdom were of this world, then my servants would fight, that I wouldn’t be delivered to the Jews. But now my Kingdom is not from here.”

37 Pilate therefore said to him, “Are you a king then?”

Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this reason I have been born, and for this reason I have come into the world, that I should testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

38 Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

When he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them, “I find no basis for a charge against him. 39 But you have a custom, that I should release someone to you at the Passover. Therefore do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?”

Pilate really did not see any threat from this unarmed, idealistic King, who spoke so sensibly to him. But the chief priests must have been furious! They stirred up the crowds of people with their charge of blasphemy and demanded in unison that Jesus be crucified. Witnessing the frenzy of the mob, Pilate still did not give in. But when they accused Pilate of disloyalty to Caesar if he were to abet a rival King of the Jews, Pilate was unnerved and gave the order to his soldiers to crucify Jesus. He died the same day.

Why did Jesus die? How does this story affect you? We invite you to patiently weave through prophecies, poetry, and stories as we seek to discover the answers to these questions.

Back to Top

Chapter 2: The King of the Jews

John 19:19 Pilate wrote a title also, and put it on the cross. There was written, “JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

Jesus died at the hands of the Romans because He was the King of the Jews. What made Jesus the King of the Jews? What were the rules for inheriting the throne of Israel? Moses wrote:

Deuteronomy 17:14 When you have come to the land which Yahweh your God gives you, and possess it, and dwell in it, and say, “I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me”; 15 you shall surely set him king over yourselves, whom Yahweh your God chooses. You shall set as king over you one from among your brothers. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother.

So first, the king must be an Israelite that God chooses. God chose a number of kings during the course of Israel’s history: Saul, David, Solomon, Jeroboam, and Jehu. But Jesus was not just claiming to be a king. He was also the Christ. Christ is a Greek word that means “anointed”, which directly translates the Hebrew word Messiah. The anointing refers to the action where the prophet Samuel poured olive oil on Saul’s head to indicate that God had chosen him to be Israel’s first king. In Jewish thought, the Christ was the ultimate king who would rule forever.

The Expected Jewish Messiah

Many things were written in the Old Testament Scriptures about this Christ from ancient times. Some of the dates mentioned below are specified as BC, or the number of years “Before Christ”. Time progresses from higher numbers to lower numbers in the years before Christ until 1 AD, when we start counting up from Anno Domini, or the “year of our Lord”, up to the current time of 2016 AD. So it has been over two thousand years since Jesus was born around the year 4 BC.

Long before Jesus’ birth, the prophet Daniel wrote around 500 BC:

Daniel 7:13 I saw in the night visions, and behold, there came with the clouds of the sky one like a son of man, and he came even to the ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. 14 There was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations, and languages should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

In Daniel’s vision, a man approached God and received an everlasting kingdom, over all the nations of the earth! To gather more details about this everlasting kingdom, let us consider God’s earlier promise to King David around 1000 BC:

2 Samuel 7:12 When your days are fulfilled, and you sleep with your fathers, I will set up your offspring after you, who will proceed out of your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He will build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

So a descendant of David would be king in the everlasting kingdom – Jesus was a descendant of David.

Matthew 1:1 The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. 2 Abraham became the father of Isaac. Isaac became the father of Jacob. Jacob became the father of Judah and his brothers… 6 Jesse became the father of King David. David became the father of Solomon by her who had been Uriah’s wife. 7 Solomon became the father of Rehoboam. Rehoboam became the father of Abijah. Abijah became the father of Asa… 15 Eliud became the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan. Matthan became the father of Jacob. 16 Jacob became the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, from whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

And what would this king do? The prophet Jeremiah wrote around 600 BC:

Jeremiah 23:5 Behold, the days come, says Yahweh, that I will raise to David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 6 In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely; and this is his name by which he shall be called: Yahweh our righteousness.

This king would rule with righteousness, rescuing the Israelite tribe of Judah and keeping all of Israel safe. But we don’t see Jesus ruling over the world today, so how could this king be Jesus? Is there anything else written about the Christ? Why, yes!

The Birthplace of the Christ

Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of King Herod, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is he who is born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east, and have come to worship him.” 3 When King Herod heard it, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he asked them where the Christ would be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is written through the prophet,

[6 ‘You Bethlehem, land of Judah,
are in no way least among the princes of Judah:
for out of you shall come a governor,
who shall shepherd my people, Israel.’”]

The Jewish Bible scholars knew that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem. But there’s more.

Christ’s Appearance in Galilee

The prophet Isaiah wrote around 700 BC:

Isaiah 9:1 But there shall be no more gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time, he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali; but in the latter time he has made it glorious, by the way of the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

[2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.
Those who lived in the land of the shadow of death, on them the light has shined.
3 You have multiplied the nation.
You have increased their joy.]

They rejoice before you according to the joy in harvest, as men rejoice when they divide the plunder. 4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff of his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as in the day of Midian. 5 For all the armor of the armed man in the noisy battle, and the garments rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire.

6 For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, on David’s throne, and on his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from that time on, even forever. The zeal of Yahweh of Armies will perform this.

This passage describes the son to be born who will sit on David’s throne forever. He will bring peace and joy. But there is a special emphasis on the tribal lands of Zebulun and Naphtali, which are near the Sea of Galilee. Did Jesus spend any time near the Sea of Galilee? Yes!

Luke 4:14 Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit into Galilee, and news about him spread through all the surrounding area. 15 He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.

Matthew 4:12 Now when Jesus heard that John was delivered up, he withdrew into Galilee. 13 Leaving Nazareth, he came and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali, 14 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through Isaiah the prophet, saying,

[15 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
toward the sea, beyond the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles,
16 the people who sat in darkness saw a great light,
to those who sat in the region and shadow of death,
to them light has dawned.”]

17 From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, “Repent! For the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” 18 Walking by the sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers: Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew, his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. 19 He said to them, “Come after me, and I will make you fishers for men.”

Jesus grew up Nazareth in Galilee, and spent much of His time there teaching His disciples, who were mostly residents of Galilee. He also performed many miracles in cities like Chorazin, Bethsaida, and Capernaum. The people in Galilee had indeed seen a great light.

Matthew 11:20 Then he began to denounce the cities in which most of his mighty works had been done, because they didn’t repent. 21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon which were done in you, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. 22 But I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon on the day of judgment than for you. 23 You, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, you will go down to Hades. For if the mighty works had been done in Sodom which were done in you, it would have remained until today. 24 But I tell you that it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom, on the day of judgment, than for you.”

But for some unknown reason, the Jewish Bible scholars of the day did not seem to recognize the significance of the Christ being present in Galilee. Perhaps they considered that no place could rival their beloved Jerusalem.

Luke 7:46 The officers answered, “No man ever spoke like this man!”

47 The Pharisees therefore answered them, “You aren’t also led astray, are you? 48 Have any of the rulers believed in him, or of the Pharisees? 49 But this multitude that doesn’t know the law is accursed.”

50 Nicodemus (he who came to him by night, being one of them) said to them, 51 “Does our law judge a man, unless it first hears from him personally and knows what he does?”

52 They answered him, “Are you also from Galilee? Search, and see that no prophet has arisen out of Galilee.”

The King’s Coming to Jerusalem

Another prophecy about this king involved a donkey:

Matthew 21:1 When they came near to Jerusalem, and came to Bethsphage, to the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village that is opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them, and bring them to me. 3 If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and immediately he will send them.”

4 All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying,

[5 “Tell the daughter of Zion,
behold, your King comes to you,
humble, and riding on a donkey,
on a colt, the foal of a donkey.”]

6 The disciples went, and did just as Jesus commanded them, 7 and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their clothes on them; and he sat on them. 8 A very great multitude spread their clothes on the road. Others cut branches from the trees, and spread them on the road. 9 The multitudes who went in front of him, and those who followed, kept shouting, “Hosanna to the son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

10 When he had come into Jerusalem, all the city was stirred up, saying, “Who is this?” 11 The multitudes said, “This is the prophet, Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee.”

A Messenger

But such an important king would not just come without any fanfare. A messenger would announce his arrival. The prophet Malachi wrote around 400 BC:

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says Yahweh of Armies.

John the Baptist was known all over Israel for calling people to repent and be baptized in water. And John told the people to believe in Jesus as the Son of God. However, his preaching on righteousness was cut short when his rebuke of King Herod landed him in jail. While John languished in prison, he sought reassurance from the One he had been promoting. “Are you really the Christ?”

Matthew 11:1 When Jesus had finished directing his twelve disciples, he departed from there to teach and preach in their cities. 2 Now when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?”

4 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 Blessed is he who finds no occasion for stumbling in me.”

7 As these went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John, “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind? 8 But what did you go out to see? A man in soft clothing? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in king’s houses. 9 But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and much more than a prophet. 10 For this is he, of whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you.’

Jesus reminded John about all the miracles He had performed, demonstrating the very power of God. On other occasions, Jesus also pointed to His special powers to support His claim to be the Christ.

John 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But the testimony which I have is greater than that of John, for the works which the Father gave me to accomplish, the very works that I do, testify about me, that the Father has sent me.

John 10:24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.” 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me.

Historical Dates

And there is yet another prophecy that tells us when the Christ would appear.

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed on your people and on your holy city, to finish disobedience, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy. 25 Know therefore and discern, that from the going out of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem to the Anointed One, the prince, shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: it shall be built again, with street and moat, even in troubled times. 26 After the sixty-two weeks the Anointed One shall be cut off, and shall have nothing: and the people of the prince who shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and its end shall be with a flood, and even to the end shall be war; desolations are determined. 27 He shall make a firm covenant with many for one week: and in the middle of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the offering to cease; and on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate; and even to the full end, and that determined, shall wrath be poured out on the desolate.

This prophecy talks about the rebuilding of Jerusalem after the city was destroyed by the Babylonians around 586 BC. If we take the 70 weeks as 70 sets of 7 years, we get a total of 490 years. The starting point of the 490 years is one of three recorded commandments by the kings of Persia to rebuild Jerusalem. These were issued around the years 536 BC, 457 BC, and 445 BC. The wall was rebuilt by Nehemiah around 445 BC. Although we are unsure of which of the three years we should use as the starting point, 445 BC is the latest possible date. After 7 and 62 weeks, the Anointed One, the prince will appear. This is a reference to the Messiah or Christ. But the only thing mentioned about him is that he would be killed. And then afterwards, the city and the temple would be destroyed.

Only two temples were built for the God of Israel in Jerusalem. The first temple was destroyed with the city in 586 BC, prior to the time of this prophecy, and the second temple was destroyed with the city in 70 AD. I think it is clear that the timeline for this prophecy indicates that the Messiah came before the second temple was destroyed in 70 AD. Who do you know that lived before 70 AD, claimed to be the Messiah, and was killed?

In an attempt to be more precise, the Messiah came 7 weeks and 62 weeks after the decree, which if we replace 7 weeks with 7 years, we get (7 + 62) * 7 = 483 years. Given three possible starting points, we get 536 BC + 483 = 53 BC; 457 BC + 483 years = 27 AD; or 445 BC + 483 years = 39 AD. We need to be cautious about attaching too much certainty to the accuracy of dates so long ago, but Jesus’ public ministry began very close to 27 AD, and he died around three years later by crucifixion. By His death, Jesus put an end to the requirement of sacrifices because He was the ultimate sacrifice. Moreover, by the forgiveness of sins that Jesus’ death entails, He made an end of sins and brought in everlasting righteousness! In this way, the prophecy can be understood to be fulfilled, though I acknowledge that there are disagreements about how the last two verses of the prophecy should be interpreted.

How Can the Christ Die?

Many people find it hard to reconcile prophecies that say the Christ would rule forever with the prophecies that say he would be killed.

John 12:34 The multitude answered him, “We have heard out of the law that the Christ remains forever. How do you say, ‘The Son of Man must be lifted up?’ Who is this Son of Man?”

Will the Christ really be killed? Read what God said about His servant.

[Isaiah 52:13 Behold, my servant will deal wisely.
He will be exalted and lifted up,
and will be very high.
14 Just as many were astonished at you
,
15 so he will cleanse many nations.
Kings will shut their mouths at him:
for they will see that which had not been told them;
and they will understand that which they had not heard.]

Jesus has been highly exalted in history, even by kings. And He has brought forgiveness of sins to many nations.

[Isaiah 53:1 Who has believed our message?
To whom has the arm of Yahweh been revealed?
2 For he grew up before him as a tender plant,
and as a root out of dry ground.
He has no good looks or majesty.
When we see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.
3 He was despised,
and rejected by men;
a man of suffering,
and acquainted with disease.
He was despised as one from whom men hide their face;
and we didn’t respect him.]

During Jesus’ life, He was despised as poor and uneducated. While He was a popular teacher and healed many people’s diseases, He was rejected by the religious leaders.

[4 Surely he has borne our sickness,
and carried our suffering;
yet we considered him plagued,
struck by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought our peace was on him;
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray.
Everyone has turned to his own way;
and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all.]

Jesus’ wounds were the result of carrying our sins, so that we can be forgiven.

[7 He was oppressed,
yet when he was afflicted he didn’t open his mouth.
As a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and as a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he didn’t open his mouth.
8 He was taken away by oppression and judgment;
and as for his generation,
who considered that he was cut off out of the land of the living
and stricken for the disobedience of my people?
9 They made his grave with the wicked,
and with a rich man in his death;
although he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.]

Jesus refused to answer most the questions directed at Him during His trial before the chief priests. He was crucified as a criminal, but buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, a rich member of the Jewish ruling council.

[10 Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him.
He has caused him to suffer.
When you make his soul an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring.
He will prolong his days,
and Yahweh’s pleasure will prosper in his hand.
11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light and be satisfied.]

God made Jesus an offering for sin, but then He came back to life on the third day!

[My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself;
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore will I give him a portion with the great,
and he will divide the plunder with the strong;
because he poured out his soul to death,
and was numbered with the transgressors;
yet he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.]

Jesus bore the sins of many transgressors, or sinners, like us, He died, and now He is given glory, sitting at the right hand of God. So even His death lends great weight to Jesus’ claim that He is the Christ, the King of the Jews.

This prophecy recorded by the prophet Isaiah around 700 BC is one of the most famous and powerful depictions of Jesus as God’s Servant who would die for the sins of the people. The Great Isaiah Scroll, dated to around 200 BC to 100 BC, is a witness that this prophecy was written before the time of Jesus, and can be found today in the Shrine of the Book in Jerusalem.

For more prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus, please refer to Appendix 1.

Back to Top

Chapter 3: The Son of God

John 19:7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.”

Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary defines blasphemy as: An indignity offered to God in words, writing, or signs; impiously irreverent words or signs addressed to, or used in reference to, God; speaking evil of God; also, the act of claiming the attributes or prerogatives of deity.

The religious leaders condemned Jesus of blasphemy because He claimed to be the Son of God. But of course, it is only blasphemy if He was lying. But did Jesus make such a claim? And if yes, is it true?

Claims by John the Baptist

John the Baptist, who introduced Jesus to the nation of Israel had this to say:

John 1:32 John testified, saying, “I have seen the Spirit descending like a dove out of heaven, and it remained on him. 33 I didn’t recognize him, but he who sent me to baptize in water, he said to me, ‘On whomever you will see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I have seen, and have testified that this is the Son of God.”

When Jesus became more popular than John, John continued to testify that Jesus came from heaven, spoke the words of God, and is the Son of God.

John 3:27 John answered, “A man can receive nothing, unless it has been given him from heaven. 28 You yourselves testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. This, my joy, therefore is made full. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He who comes from above is above all. He who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is above all. 32 What he has seen and heard, of that he testifies; and no one receives his witness. 33 He who has received his witness has set his seal to this, that God is true. 34 For he whom God has sent speaks the words of God; for God gives the Spirit without measure. 35 The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into his hand. 36 One who believes in the Son has eternal life, but one who disobeys the Son won’t see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.”

Jesus also reminded His critics of John’s testimony about Himself.

John 5:33 You have sent to John, and he has testified to the truth. 34 But the testimony which I receive is not from man. However, I say these things that you may be saved. 35 He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.

Claims By Jesus Christ

John 5:17 But Jesus answered them, “My Father is still working, so I am working, too.” 18 For this cause therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the Sabbath, but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.

This incident happened after Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath day, which is the one day each week that God commanded His people to rest from work. Jesus’ actions broke the strict rules for resting as interpreted by the religious leaders, but Jesus taught that doing good is lawful, even on the Sabbath day. When questioned about it, Jesus claimed to be doing the same thing as His Father God.

19 Jesus therefore answered them, “Most certainly, I tell you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he sees the Father doing. For whatever things he does, these the Son also does likewise. 20 For the Father has affection for the Son, and shows him all things that he himself does. He will show him greater works than these, that you may marvel. 21 For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son also gives life to whom he desires. 22 For the Father judges no one, but he has given all judgment to the Son, 23 that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who doesn’t honor the Son doesn’t honor the Father who sent him.

Jesus claimed that He could raise the dead just like His Father God, that He would judge all men, and that everyone who honours God needs to honour Him!

On another occasion Jesus called God His Father more explicitly:

John 8:42 Therefore Jesus said to them, “If God were your father, you would love me, for I came out and have come from God. For I haven’t come of myself, but he sent me… 54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God.

And then Jesus healed the man who was born blind, again on a Sabbath day. But when the religious leaders questioned the formerly blind man, they got into an argument which led him to be expelled from the synagogue, which was tantamount to expulsion from the community.

John 9:30 The man answered them, “How amazing! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God, and does his will, he listens to him. 32 Since the world began it has never been heard of that anyone opened the eyes of someone born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” 34 They answered him, “You were altogether born in sins, and do you teach us?” They threw him out.

35 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and finding him, he said, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 36 He answered, “Who is he, Lord, that I may believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have both seen him, and it is he who speaks with you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe!” and he worshiped him.

The formerly blind man did not know Jesus at first, but after thinking about the miracle that had happened to him, he came to realize that Jesus must be from God. Afterwards, Jesus told him plainly that He was the Son of God and then accepted the man’s worship, which is only worthy of God.

Here’s another occasion when Jesus claimed to be the Son of God.

John 10:22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. 23 It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in Solomon’s porch. 24 The Jews therefore came around him and said to him, “How long will you hold us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you don’t believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name, these testify about me. 26 But you don’t believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I told you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give eternal life to them. They will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

31 Therefore Jews took up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from my Father. For which of those works do you stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “We don’t stone you for a good work, but for blasphemy: because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

Jesus has been calling God His Father. This time, Jesus says “I and the Father are one.” In response, the Jews understood Him as claiming to be God. Does Jesus correct them? Well, He tries to explain.

34 Jesus answered them, “Isn’t it written in your law, ‘I said, you are gods?’ 35 If he called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture can’t be broken), 36 do you say of him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You blaspheme,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God?’ 37 If I don’t do the works of my Father, don’t believe me. 38 But if I do them, though you don’t believe me, believe the works; that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in the Father.”

The Hebrew word for God can refer to someone powerful, and in one of the Psalms in the Bible, a poem set to music, the word for “God” seems to be used to describe kings.

[Psalm 82 A Psalm by Asaph.
1 God presides in the great assembly.
He judges among the gods.
2 “How long will you judge unjustly,
and show partiality to the wicked?”]

Selah.

[3 “Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless.
Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.
4 Rescue the weak and needy.
Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”
5 They don’t know, neither do they understand.
They walk back and forth in darkness.
All the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods,
all of you are sons of the Most High.
7 Nevertheless you shall die like men,
and fall like one of the rulers.”
8 Arise, God, judge the earth,
for you inherit all of the nations.]

So Jesus first says that to use the word for “God” to describe people is not contrary to the Bible’s laws. Second, Jesus does not claim to be one of the kings described in Psalm 82, but that the Father especially sent Him into the world. Third, Jesus confirms that He is the Son of God. Fourth, Jesus points to His miracles which God performs. Finally, He says that the Father is in Him and He is in the Father.

And on the night before Jesus’ death, He prayed these words:

John 17:1 Jesus said these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may also glorify you; 2 even as you gave him authority over all flesh, he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4 I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed.

Looking to heaven, Jesus addressed His prayer to His Father as His Son. Jesus also mentions that His Father gave Him authority over all people, that Jesus can give eternal life to other people, and that He was with God before the world even existed!

Claims Recorded By Other New Testament Writers

In all of the examples in the previous section, we have read quotations from the Gospel of John. But the Apostle John (not John the Baptist), was only one of many witnesses that Jesus is the Son of God.

Matthew wrote about the voice from heaven that spoke at Jesus’ baptism:

Matthew 3:16 Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. 17 Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew also recalled this story from the days when he followed Jesus as a disciple:

Matthew 14:24 But the boat was now in the middle of the sea, distressed by the waves, for the wind was contrary. 25 In the fourth watch of the night, Jesus came to them, walking on the sea. 26 When the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, “It’s a ghost!” and they cried out for fear. 27 But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying “Cheer up! It is I! Don’t be afraid.”

28 Peter answered him and said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the waters.” 29 He said, “Come!” Peter stepped down from the boat, and walked on the waters to come to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was strong, he was afraid, and beginning to sink, he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus stretched out his hand, took hold of him, and said to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”

32 When they got up into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Those who were in the boat came and worshiped him, saying, “You are truly the Son of God!”

During a storm on the Sea of Galilee, Jesus walked from the land to the disciples’ boat – on top of the water! Then He enabled Peter to walk on water too. When Peter’s faith faltered and he needed to be rescued, Jesus brought him back to the boat and then the strong winds suddenly stopped. The astonished disciples worshipped Jesus as the Son of God, and Jesus did not object.

And when Jesus wanted to check what His disciples thought about Him:

Matthew 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.

And so, Jesus confirmed that Peter was correct. He is the Christ, the Son of the living God.

Mark also wrote down the opinion of the Roman centurion who executed Jesus.

Mark 15:37 Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and gave up the spirit. 38 The veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. 39 When the centurion, who stood by opposite him, saw that he cried out like this and breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

Luke wrote about an angel’s announcement to Mary about the son she would give birth to:

Luke 1:30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 Behold, you will conceive in your womb, and give birth to a son, and will call his name ‘Jesus.’ 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father, David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. There will be no end to his Kingdom.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, seeing I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered her, “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.

The testimony of demons is less reliable, but this is what they said:

Luke 4:41 Demons also came out of many, crying out, and saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!” Rebuking them, he didn’t allow them to speak, because they knew that he was the Christ.

Luke also recorded what the Apostle Paul, also called Saul, preached in the book of Acts:

Acts 9:20 Immediately in the synagogues he proclaimed the Christ, that he is the Son of God.

The Apostle Paul started off his letter, or epistle, to the Christians in Rome like this:

Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, set apart for the Good News of God, 2 which he promised before through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was born of the offspring of David according to the flesh, 4 who was declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

Here Paul says Jesus was born as a descendant of David when it came to His physical body, but His resurrection from death to life proved that Jesus is the Son of God.

The anonymous author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, who may or may not be Paul, also called Jesus the Son of God.

Hebrews 4:14 Having then a great high priest, who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold tightly to our confession.

Peter also described how God spoke to him from heaven, declaring to him that Jesus is His Son:

2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cunningly devised fables, when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” 18 We heard this voice come out of heaven when we were with him on the holy mountain.

What Does It Mean To Be the Son of God?

We’ve read that people worshipped Jesus as the Son of God. Is that how He should be treated? Should we regard Him as God? As mentioned in the passages above, Jesus claimed to be the Christ, the Son of God, which included the following descriptions. He existed before the creation of the world, He has power to give eternal life to people, and He has authority to judge all people. So what is the difference between God and the Son of God?

Let’s read a description about Jesus Christ:

Philippians 2:5 Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus is in the form of God and had equality with God. But He did not need to keep holding on to this honour, but humbled Himself to be a man. And in the end, His name is above every name.

The author of Hebrews also writes that Son of God is exactly like God:

Hebrews 1:1 God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, 2 has at the end of these days spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the worlds. 3 His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Not only did God make the world through His Son, meaning the Son was involved in creation, the Son is the very image of God’s substance.

The author of Hebrews goes further and quotes Psalm 45 and Psalm 102, where the author is speaking to God, and tells us that these quotations refer to the Son of God.

Hebrews 1:8 But of the Son he says,

“[Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your Kingdom.
9 You have loved righteousness, and hated iniquity;
therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your fellows.”]

10 And,

“[You, Lord, in the beginning, laid the foundation of the earth.
The heavens are the works of your hands.
11 They will perish, but you continue.
They all will grow old like a garment does.
12 You will roll them up like a mantle,
and they will be changed;
but you are the same.
Your years will not fail.”]

The Jehovah’s Witnesses do not agree that the Son is also God, so they made their own translation of the Bible called the New World Translation. The content matches closely with the World English Bible in most chapters, but in these Bible verses where Jesus is called God, they change the meaning to suit their own beliefs, which are wrong.

For example, in Hebrews 1:8, instead of saying: “Your throne, O God”, the New World Translation says: “God is your throne”. This way, Jesus is not being addressed as God, but it also doesn’t make sense to say that Jesus sits on God!

The New World Translation still keeps the meaning of Hebrews 1:10 the same: “At the beginning, O Lord”. Perhaps, the Jehovah’s Witnesses are willing to accept Jesus as the Creator of the world, but not God. But they cannot escape the fact that Hebrews 1:10 is quoting from Psalm 102:25, which is talking to God. So Jesus is being called God, even in their biased translation.

[Psalm 102:24 I said, “My God, don’t take me away in the middle of my days.
Your years are throughout all generations.
25 Of old, you laid the foundation of the earth.
The heavens are the work of your hands.]

Here is another passage that tells us that Jesus is God.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him. Without him was not anything made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men…

14 The Word became flesh, and lived among us. We saw his glory, such glory as of the one and only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth…

17 For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has seen God at any time. The one and only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.

The two verses says that the Word was in the beginning with God and the Word was God. Who is the Word? The Word is God who became a man with flesh: Jesus Christ. Since the idea that the Word is both “with” God and “was” God is difficult to understand, let us set that aside for now, and deal with it in Appendix 2 on the concept of the Trinity. But from the face of it, Jesus is indeed God.

But again, the Jehovah’s Witnesses translate the Bible differently to avoid this conclusion to suit their beliefs. Their New World Translation ends John 1:1 with “and the Word was a god”. It is way of saying Jesus is not the same as the God, but just a god, perhaps a powerful being who is less than the God.

And we read about examples where people worshipped Jesus. Jesus Himself believed that only God should be worshipped.

Matthew 4:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”

Should Jesus be worshipped? The author of Hebrews writes:

Hebrews 1:6 When he again brings in the firstborn into the world he says, “Let all the angels of God worship him.”

Yes, Jesus should be worshipped. But the Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t think they should worship Jesus as God, so they also changed it in the New World Translation to: “And let all of God’s angels do obeisance to him.” So they replaced the word “worship” with “obeisance”, which means to bow, to avoid saying “worship”.

So we can conclude that these New Testament passages really do teach that the Son of God is God, and should be treated as God. But what about Old Testament passages? Psalm 2 explicitly says the future king, known as the Christ, will be God’s Son, and that people should honour Him.

[Psalm 2:1 Why do the nations rage,
and the peoples plot a vain thing?
2 The kings of the earth take a stand,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against Yahweh, and against his Anointed, saying,
3 “Let’s break their bonds apart,
and cast their cords from us.”]

These verses were believed by Jesus’ disciples to refer to the time when “both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together” against Jesus when He was on trial (Acts 4:25-27).

[4 He who sits in the heavens will laugh.
The Lord will have them in derision.
5 Then he will speak to them in his anger,
and terrify them in his wrath:
6 “Yet I have set my King on my holy hill of Zion.”]

[7 I will tell of the decree.
Yahweh said to me, “You are my son.
Today I have become your father.
8 Ask of me, and I will give the nations for your inheritance,
the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
9 You shall break them with a rod of iron.
You shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”]

These verses refer to the Christ, the Son of God.

[10 Now therefore be wise, you kings.
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
11 Serve Yahweh with fear,
and rejoice with trembling.
12 Give sincere homage to the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish on the way,
for his wrath will soon be kindled.
Blessed are all those who take refuge in him.]

Verse 12 doesn’t quite say the Son should be worshipped as God, but the Son should be given honour in some form.

Let’s also re-read one the Bible verses describing the Christ.

Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born. To us a son is given; and the government will be on his shoulders. His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Notice that the Christ is called “Mighty God”.

I must concede that the Old Testament is less explicit when it tells us things about the Son of God. But if we can ascertain that Jesus is the Son of God, then we can believe what He says about Himself in the New Testament.

Evidence that Jesus is the Son of God

The main way that Jesus proved that He is the Son of God is by performing miracles, and especially by coming back to life after He died. The Apostle John wrote:

John 20:26 After eight days again his disciples were inside, and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, the doors being locked, and stood in the middle, and said, “Peace be to you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Reach here your finger, and see my hands. Reach here your hand, and put it into my side. Don’t be unbelieving, but believing.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen, and have believed.”

30 Therefore Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name.

Jesus appeared alive to His disciples, including Thomas, in the few weeks after He died on the cross. He also performed many miracles. He did some things that only God can do.

[Job 9:8 He alone stretches out the heavens,
and treads on the waves of the sea.]

[Psalm 107:29 He makes the storm a calm,
so that its waves are still.]

Do you remember the story we read earlier where Jesus walked on water and calmed the storm?

[Isaiah 35:4 Tell those who have a fearful heart, “Be strong.
Don’t be afraid.
Behold, your God will come with vengeance, God’s retribution.
He will come and save you.
5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.
6 Then the lame man will leap like a deer,
and the tongue of the mute will sing;
for waters will break out in the wilderness,
and streams in the desert.]

We also read earlier how Jesus reminded John the Baptist that “the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John describe numerous examples of these miracles. These Gospel accounts are found in the beginning of the New Testament and you can read them from beginning to end in the Bible. Clearly, no ordinary man could do the things that Jesus did.

John 15:24 If I hadn’t done among them the works which no one else did, they wouldn’t have had sin. But now have they seen and also hated both me and my Father.

Back to Top

Chapter 4: Was Jesus a Good Man?

In the previous two chapters, we examined the charges against Jesus that led to His death: that He claimed to be the King of the Jews, the Christ, and the Son of the living God. Hopefully, sufficient reasons were given so that you have considered at least the possibility that Jesus was telling the truth. In this chapter, we continue examining Jesus’ innocence.

Did Jesus sin in some other way that was worthy of punishment? While Jesus’ teachings are important, we will concentrate on examining His deeds, in accordance with this principle which He taught:

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves. 16 By their fruits you will know them. Do you gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree produces good fruit; but the corrupt tree produces evil fruit. 18 A good tree can’t produce evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree produce good fruit.

Jesus’ Good Deeds

We begin with Jesus’ mission statement.

Luke 4:16 He came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. He entered, as was his custom, into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. 17 The book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. He opened the book, and found the place where it was written,

[18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to heal the broken hearted,
to proclaim release to the captives,
recovering of sight to the blind,
to deliver those who are crushed,
19 and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”]

20 He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of all in the synagogue were fastened on him. 21 He began to tell them, “Today, this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Jesus was anointed, or commissioned, to preach good news and to help people who were in trouble. Did He fulfill His mission? Let’s read examples from Jesus’ life.

Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and God’s Kingdom is at hand! Repent, and believe in the Good News.”

Jesus preached that people should repent, turning from their evil ways. He taught people to fear God and prepare for God’s coming as king. So Jesus promoted what is good and godly.

Mark 1:32 At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to him all who were sick, and those who were possessed by demons. 33 All the city was gathered together at the door. 34 He healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons. He didn’t allow the demons to speak, because they knew him.

Jesus had the power to heal people and cast out demons. And when people brought many sick and needy people, He was willing to help many of them, even when it was time to rest. And here are more examples where Jesus helped people:

Mark 5:22 Behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue, Jairus by name, came; and seeing him, he fell at his feet, 23 and begged him much, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Please come and lay your hands on her, that she may be made healthy, and live.” 24 He went with him, and a great multitude followed him, and they pressed upon him on all sides…

41 Taking the child by the hand, he said to her, “Talitha cumi!” which means, being interpreted, “Girl, I tell you, get up!” 42 Immediately the girl rose up and walked, for she was twelve years old. They were amazed with great amazement. 43 He strictly ordered them that no one should know this, and commanded that something should be given to her to eat.

Jesus went to see a dead girl and brought her back to life! And just as she spoke gently to the girl, Jesus welcomed the little children with open arms.

Mark 10:13 They were bringing to him little children, that he should touch them, but the disciples rebuked those who were bringing them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, he was moved with indignation, and said to them, “Allow the little children to come to me! Don’t forbid them, for God’s Kingdom belongs to such as these. 15 Most certainly I tell you, whoever will not receive God’s Kingdom like a little child, he will in no way enter into it.” 16 He took them in his arms, and blessed them, laying his hands on them.

Jesus cared about the crowds of people that came to see Him. Even though He did not do this every day, this time, Jesus miraculously provided food from seven loaves of bread and a few small fish to feed four thousand people!

Mark 8:1 In those days, when there was a very great multitude, and they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to himself, and said to them, 2 “I have compassion on the multitude, because they have stayed with me now three days, and have nothing to eat. 3 If I send them away fasting to their home, they will faint on the way, for some of them have come a long way.”

4 His disciples answered him, “From where could one satisfy these people with bread here in a deserted place?” 5 He asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They said, “Seven.” 6 He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground, and he took the seven loaves. Having given thanks, he broke them, and gave them to his disciples to serve, and they served the multitude. 7 They had a few small fish. Having blessed them, he said to serve these also.

8 They ate, and were filled. They took up seven baskets of broken pieces that were left over. 9 Those who had eaten were about four thousand. Then he sent them away.

Jesus was not an elitist. He associated even with people whom society looked down on. But when they were sinners, He urged them to repent from their sins.

Mark 2:16 The scribes and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?” 17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Jesus showed kindness to a woman who lived a life of sin and granted her forgiveness.

Luke 7:36 One of the Pharisees invited him to eat with him. He entered into the Pharisee’s house, and sat at the table. 37 Behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that he was reclining in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of ointment. 38 Standing behind at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and she wiped them with the hair of her head, kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “This man, if he were a prophet, would have perceived who and what kind of woman this is who touches him, that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

He said, “Teacher, say on.”

41 “A certain lender had two debtors. The one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they couldn’t pay, he forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him most?”

43 Simon answered, “He, I suppose, to whom he forgave the most.”

He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44 Turning to the woman, he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered into your house, and you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head. 45 You gave me no kiss, but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You didn’t anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” 48 He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 Those who sat at the table with him began to say to themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Facing a man with the disease of leprosy, instead of avoiding him because his sores were contagious and his uncleanness excluded him from society, Jesus reached out and touched him, bringing complete healing.

Mark 1:40 A leper came to him, begging him, kneeling down to him, and saying to him, “If you want to, you can make me clean.”

41 Being moved with compassion, he stretched out his hand, and touched him, and said to him, “I want to. Be made clean.” 42 When he had said this, immediately the leprosy departed from him, and he was made clean.

Peter summarized Jesus’ life as follows:

Acts 10:34 Peter opened his mouth and said, “Truly I perceive that God doesn’t show favoritism; 35 but in every nation he who fears him and works righteousness is acceptable to him. 36 The word which he sent to the children of Israel, preaching good news of peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all— 37 you yourselves know what happened, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; 38 even Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed him with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 We are witnesses of everything he did both in the country of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they also killed, hanging him on a tree. 40 God raised him up the third day, and gave him to be revealed, 41 not to all the people, but to witnesses who were chosen before by God, to us, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that this is he who is appointed by God as the Judge of the living and the dead. 43 All the prophets testify about him, that through his name everyone who believes in him will receive remission of sins.”

Jesus did good and healed all who were oppressed by the devil. As for people who are captives of sin, Jesus proclaimed release in the form of remission, or forgiveness, of sins.

Jesus Faced His Enemies

But Jesus did more than good deeds. He opposed evil in its various forms, particularly the love of money. This made Him a target for those who would become His enemies.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to one, and despise the other. You aren’t able to serve God and Mammon.” 14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him. 15 He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts. For that which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

Matthew 21:12 Jesus entered into the temple of God, and drove out all of those who sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the money changers’ tables and the seats of those who sold the doves. 13 He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a den of robbers!”

John 7:7 The world can’t hate you, but it hates me, because I testify about it, that its works are evil.

Jesus believed that it was always lawful to do good and to save a life, even if it was the Sabbath, the legislated day of rest. Many people disagreed with Him, but He still proceeded with His good deed of healing the man.

Mark 3:1 He entered again into the synagogue, and there was a man there who had his hand withered. 2 They watched him, whether he would heal him on the Sabbath day, that they might accuse him. 3 He said to the man who had his hand withered, “Stand up.” 4 He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath day to do good, or to do harm? To save a life, or to kill?” But they were silent. 5 When he had looked around at them with anger, being grieved at the hardening of their hearts, he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored as healthy as the other. 6 The Pharisees went out, and immediately conspired with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him.

But this was not the last time people interpreted His good deeds as evil.

Mark 3:22 The scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebul,” and, “By the prince of the demons he casts out the demons.” 23 He summoned them, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. 26 If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can’t stand, but has an end. 27 But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house.

When Jesus cast out demons, He was accused of co-operating with the prince of the demons! Jesus pointed out how illogical this was. Jesus forcefully opposed the demons! He was not helping them, but helping the people who were possessed by the demons.

Mark 5:18 As he was entering into the boat, he who had been possessed by demons begged him that he might be with him. 19 He didn’t allow him, but said to him, “Go to your house, to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how he had mercy on you.”

Yet even with so much hatred directed towards Him, Jesus taught and lived these famous words:

Luke 6:27 “But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you.

Luke 23:33 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified him there with the criminals, one on the right and the other on the left. 34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Dividing his garments among them, they cast lots.

Jesus on Trial

Jesus was a good man, but people had different opinions about Him.

John 7:12 There was much murmuring among the multitudes concerning him. Some said, “He is a good man.” Others said, “Not so, but he leads the multitude astray.”

Jesus later challenged those who did not believe Him to find something wrong that He had done.

John 8:46 Which of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 He who is of God hears the words of God. For this cause you don’t hear, because you are not of God.” 48 Then the Jews answered him, “Don’t we say well that you are a Samaritan, and have a demon?”

But instead of producing evidence of His sin, the Jews just insulted Him. Later they arrested Him and put Him on trial.

Mark 14:55 Now the chief priests and the whole council sought witnesses against Jesus to put him to death, and found none. 56 For many gave false testimony against him, and their testimony didn’t agree with each other. 57 Some stood up, and gave false testimony against him, saying, 58 “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands.’” 59 Even so, their testimony did not agree. 60 The high priest stood up in the middle, and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer? What is it which these testify against you?”

Jesus didn’t even need to answer the charges, because people could not find any valid testimony of His wrongdoings, even when they had false witnesses who were trying to get Him killed. But after they convicted Jesus of blasphemy, even Judas Iscariot, Jesus’ disciple who betrayed him to the chief priests, confessed that Jesus was innocent.

Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? You see to it.” 5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself.

When the Jews delivered Jesus to face trial in front of Pontius Pilate, the governor of Judea, Pilate had this to say:

Luke 23:13 Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me as one that perverts the people, and see, I have examined him before you, and found no basis for a charge against this man concerning those things of which you accuse him. 15 Neither has Herod, for I sent you to him, and see, nothing worthy of death has been done by him. 16 I will therefore chastise him and release him.”…

22 He said to them the third time, “Why? What evil has this man done? I have found no capital crime in him. I will therefore chastise him and release him.” 23 But they were urgent with loud voices, asking that he might be crucified. Their voices and the voices of the chief priests prevailed. 24 Pilate decreed that what they asked for should be done.

Not only did Herod and Pilate consider him innocent, one of the two criminals who were crucified beside Jesus said that He had done nothing wrong.

Luke 23:39 One of the criminals who was hanged insulted him, saying, “If you are the Christ, save yourself and us!” 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, “Don’t you even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 He said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.” 43 Jesus said to him, “Assuredly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

And when Jesus died, He piously committed His spirit into God’s hands.

Luke 23:44 It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour. 45 The sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous man.”

Maybe the Roman centurion feared the usually darkened skies, but he also observed that Jesus did not curse with defiance, but rather died praying to God, concluding that Jesus was a righteous man whom he had wrongfully executed.

God’s Assessment of Jesus

But what did God think about Jesus?

Matthew 17:5 While he [Peter] was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them. Behold, a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Listen to him.”

Again, Peter has summarized it well:

1 Peter 2:19 For it is commendable if someone endures pain, suffering unjustly, because of conscience toward God. 20 For what glory is it if, when you sin, you patiently endure beating? But if, when you do well, you patiently endure suffering, this is commendable with God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps, 22 who did not sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.” 23 Who, when he was cursed, didn’t curse back. When he suffered, didn’t threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously; 24 who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.

Jesus is our example of doing good and even suffering in a righteous way. God, who judges righteously, considered Jesus righteous. Because He was righteous, He could take our sins onto Himself, so that we can be forgiven and live to righteousness.

Back to Top

Chapter 5: Does God Care?

But was Jesus’ death just another tragedy where one asks: “Where is God?” Does God really care about the affairs of men? Let us read what Jesus taught us.

Matthew 10:29 “Aren’t two sparrows sold for an assarion coin? Not one of them falls on the ground apart from your Father’s will, 30 but the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Therefore don’t be afraid. You are of more value than many sparrows.

A Song of Deliverance

The following song speaks of four kinds of people who experienced God’s deliverance in times of trouble: hungry wanderers, prisoners, the terminally ill, and seafarers.

[Psalm 107:1 Give thanks to Yahweh,
for he is good,
for his loving kindness endures forever.]

[2 Let the redeemed by Yahweh say so,
whom he has redeemed from the hand of the adversary,
3 And gathered out of the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.]

[4 They wandered in the wilderness in a desert way.
They found no city to live in.
5 Hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted in them.
6 Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble,
and he delivered them out of their distresses,
7 he led them also by a straight way,
that they might go to a city to live in.]

[8 Let them praise Yahweh for his loving kindness,
for his wonderful deeds to the children of men!
9 For he satisfies the longing soul.
He fills the hungry soul with good.]

[10 Some sat in darkness and in the shadow of death,
being bound in affliction and iron,
11 because they rebelled against the words of God,
and condemned the counsel of the Most High.
12 Therefore he brought down their heart with labor.
They fell down, and there was no one to help.]

[13 Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble,
and he saved them out of their distresses.
14 He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
and broke away their chains.]

[15 Let them praise Yahweh for his loving kindness,
for his wonderful deeds to the children of men!
16 For he has broken the gates of brass,
and cut through bars of iron.]

[17 Fools are afflicted because of their disobedience,
and because of their iniquities.
18 Their soul abhors all kinds of food.
They draw near to the gates of death.]

[19 Then they cry to Yahweh in their trouble,
he saves them out of their distresses.
20 He sends his word, and heals them,
and delivers them from their graves.]

[21 Let them praise Yahweh for his loving kindness,
for his wonderful deeds to the children of men!
22 Let them offer the sacrifices of thanksgiving,
and declare his deeds with singing.]

[23 Those who go down to the sea in ships,
who do business in great waters;
24 These see Yahweh’s deeds,
and his wonders in the deep.
25 For he commands, and raises the stormy wind,
which lifts up its waves.
26 They mount up to the sky; they go down again to the depths.
Their soul melts away because of trouble.
27 They reel back and forth, and stagger like a drunken man,
and are at their wits’ end.]

[28 Then they cry to Yahweh in their trouble,
and he brings them out of their distress.
29 He makes the storm a calm,
so that its waves are still.
30 Then they are glad because it is calm,
so he brings them to their desired haven.]

[31 Let them praise Yahweh for his loving kindness,
for his wonderful deeds for the children of men!
32 Let them exalt him also in the assembly of the people,
and praise him in the seat of the elders.]

[33 He turns rivers into a desert,
water springs into a thirsty ground,
34 and a fruitful land into a salt waste,
for the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
35 He turns a desert into a pool of water,
and a dry land into water springs.
36 There he makes the hungry live,
that they may prepare a city to live in,
37 sow fields, plant vineyards,
and reap the fruits of increase.
38 He blesses them also, so that they are multiplied greatly.
He doesn’t allow their livestock to decrease.]

[39 Again, they are diminished and bowed down
through oppression, trouble, and sorrow.
40 He pours contempt on princes,
and causes them to wander in a trackless waste.
41 Yet he lifts the needy out of their affliction,
and increases their families like a flock.]

[42 The upright will see it, and be glad.
All the wicked will shut their mouths.
43 Whoever is wise will pay attention to these things.
They will consider the loving kindnesses of Yahweh.]

God indeed answers those who call to Him in their distress. So why do people suffer harm so often? Is He only merciful on rare occasions?

Is God Merciful?

[Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice;
and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.]

Exodus 33:19 He said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim Yahweh’s name before you. I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.”

Exodus 34:6 Yahweh passed by before him, and proclaimed, “Yahweh! Yahweh, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger, and abundant in loving kindness and truth, 7 keeping loving kindness for thousands, forgiving iniquity and disobedience and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the children’s children, on the third and on the fourth generation.”

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul who sins, he shall die: the son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on him. 21 But if the wicked turn from all his sins that he has committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die. 22 None of his transgressions that he has committed shall be remembered against him: in his righteousness that he has done he shall live. 23 Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked? says the Lord Yahweh; and not rather that he should return from his way, and live?

Mercy and compassion are an integral part of God’s character, Yet He also punishes people for their sins, even to death. Still He hopes that every sinner will turn away from his sins and live.

Does God Answer Prayer?

Although God is merciful, there are many occasions when God does not answer prayer.

[Isaiah 59:1 Behold, Yahweh’s hand is not shortened, that it can’t save;
nor his ear dull, that it can’t hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.
3 For your hands are defiled with blood,
and your fingers with iniquity.
Your lips have spoken lies.
Your tongue mutters wickedness.
4 No one sues in righteousness,
and no one pleads in truth.
They trust in vanity,
and speak lies.
They conceive mischief,
and give birth to iniquity.]

[Psalm 66:16 Come, and hear, all you who fear God.
I will declare what he has done for my soul.
17 I cried to him with my mouth.
He was extolled with my tongue.
18 If I cherished sin in my heart,
the Lord wouldn’t have listened.]

[Proverbs 15:29 Yahweh is far from the wicked,
but he hears the prayer of the righteous.]

God often chooses not to answer the prayers of sinners, but surely He hears the prayers of the righteous.

Psalm 34 By David; when he pretended to be insane before Abimelech, who drove him away, and he departed.

[1 I will bless Yahweh at all times.
His praise will always be in my mouth.
2 My soul shall boast in Yahweh.
The humble shall hear of it, and be glad.
3 Oh magnify Yahweh with me.
Let us exalt his name together.]

[4 I sought Yahweh, and he answered me,
and delivered me from all my fears.
5 They looked to him, and were radiant.
Their faces shall never be covered with shame.
6 This poor man cried, and Yahweh heard him,
and saved him out of all his troubles.
7 Yahweh’s angel encamps around those who fear him,
and delivers them.
8 Oh taste and see that Yahweh is good.
Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
9 Oh fear Yahweh, you his saints,
for there is no lack with those who fear him.
10 The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger,
but those who seek Yahweh shall not lack any good thing.]

[11 Come, you children, listen to me.
I will teach you the fear of Yahweh.
12 Who is someone who desires life,
and loves many days, that he may see good?
13 Keep your tongue from evil,
and your lips from speaking lies.
14 Depart from evil, and do good.
seek peace, and pursue it.
15 Yahweh’s eyes are toward the righteous.
His ears listen to their cry.
16 Yahweh’s face is against those who do evil,
to cut off their memory from the earth.
17 The righteous cry, and Yahweh hears,
and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 Yahweh is near to those who have a broken heart,
and saves those who have a crushed spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
but Yahweh delivers him out of them all.
20 He protects all of his bones.
Not one of them is broken.
21 Evil shall kill the wicked.
Those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.
22 Yahweh redeems the soul of his servants.
None of those who take refuge in him shall be condemned.]

This psalm tells us that God cares about the righteous and rescues them. Yet even the righteous have many afflictions. But the righteous know that in the end God will redeem their souls.

[Proverbs 24:16 for a righteous man falls seven times, and rises up again;
but the wicked are overthrown by calamity.]

[Job 19:25 But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives.
In the end, he will stand upon the earth.
26 After my skin is destroyed,
then in my flesh shall I see God,]

Summary

In summary, we see that God has a heart that is merciful towards people who humbly cry to Him for help and He cares about the righteous. But because of our sins, more often God does not help us and we suffer the consequences of sin. Yet we need to consider Jesus’ sufferings in more detail, for He was no ordinary man who suffered for His sins.

Back to Top

Chapter 6: God’s Silence

If Jesus was telling the truth according to the Scriptures, and He was a good man, and God cares, why did Jesus die? Why didn’t God rescue Him? Let’s first look at what happened. We will read from the Gospel According to Matthew.

Matthew 27:1 Now when morning had come, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death: 2 and they bound him, and led him away, and delivered him up to Pontius Pilate, the governor. 3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood.”

But they said, “What is that to us? You see to it.”

5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself. 6 The chief priests took the pieces of silver, and said, “It’s not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is the price of blood.” 7 They took counsel, and bought the potter’s field with them, to bury strangers in. 8 Therefore that field was called “The Field of Blood” to this day. 9 Then that which was spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled, saying,

“[They took the thirty pieces of silver,
the price of him upon whom a price had been set,
whom some of the children of Israel priced,
10 and they gave them for the potter’s field,
as the Lord commanded me.”]

11 Now Jesus stood before the governor: and the governor asked him, saying, “Are you the King of the Jews?”

Jesus said to him, “So you say.”

12 When he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing. 13 Then Pilate said to him, “Don’t you hear how many things they testify against you?”

14 He gave him no answer, not even one word, so that the governor marveled greatly. 15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the multitude one prisoner, whom they desired. 16 They had then a notable prisoner, called Barabbas. 17 When therefore they were gathered together, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release to you? Barabbas, or Jesus, who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that because of envy they had delivered him up.

19 While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of him.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the multitudes to ask for Barabbas, and destroy Jesus. 21 But the governor answered them, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?”

They said, “Barabbas!”

22 Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do to Jesus, who is called Christ?”

They all said to him, “Let him be crucified!”

23 But the governor said, “Why? What evil has he done?”

But they cried out exceedingly, saying, “Let him be crucified!”

24 So when Pilate saw that nothing was being gained, but rather that a disturbance was starting, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this righteous person. You see to it.”

25 All the people answered, “May his blood be on us, and on our children!”

26 Then he released to them Barabbas, but Jesus he flogged and delivered to be crucified. 27 Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium, and gathered the whole garrison together against him. 28 They stripped him, and put a scarlet robe on him. 29 They braided a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and a reed in his right hand; and they kneeled down before him, and mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 They spat on him, and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 When they had mocked him, they took the robe off of him, and put his clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him.

32 As they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name, and they compelled him to go with them, that he might carry his cross. 33 They came to a place called “Golgotha”, that is to say, “The place of a skull.” 34 They gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink. 35 When they had crucified him, they divided his clothing among them, casting lots, 36 and they sat and watched him there. 37 They set up over his head the accusation against him written, “THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”

38 Then there were two robbers crucified with him, one on his right hand and one on the left. 39 Those who passed by blasphemed him, wagging their heads, 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple, and build it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross!”

41 Likewise the chief priests also mocking, with the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders, said, 42 “He saved others, but he can’t save himself. If he is the King of Israel, let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 The robbers also who were crucified with him cast on him the same reproach.

45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

47 Some of them who stood there, when they heard it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran, and took a sponge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him a drink. 49 The rest said, “Let him be. Let’s see whether Elijah comes to save him.”

50 Jesus cried again with a loud voice, and yielded up his spirit. 51 Behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from the top to the bottom. The earth quaked and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, they entered into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 Now the centurion, and those who were with him watching Jesus, when they saw the earthquake, and the things that were done, feared exceedingly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.”

55 Many women were there watching from afar, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, serving him. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. 57 When evening had come, a rich man from Arimathaea, named Joseph, who himself was also Jesus’ disciple came. 58 This man went to Pilate, and asked for Jesus’ body. Then Pilate commanded the body to be given up. 59 Joseph took the body, and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cut out in the rock, and he rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, and departed. 61 Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb. 62 Now on the next day, which was the day after the Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees were gathered together to Pilate, 63 saying, “Sir, we remember what that deceiver said while he was still alive: ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64 Command therefore that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest perhaps his disciples come at night and steal him away, and tell the people, ‘He is risen from the dead;’ and the last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 Pilate said to them, “You have a guard. Go, make it as secure as you can.” 66 So they went with the guard and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone.

Several days after Jesus went to Jerusalem for the Passover Feast, Judas Iscariot received thirty pieces of silver and treacherously led soldiers to arrest Jesus at a garden that He frequently visited away from the noisy crowds. Jesus was condemned by His enemies and then brought to trial before Pilate the Roman governor. When Pilate wanted to release Him, the crowd shouted for Jesus to be crucified, so Pilate handed Jesus over to the Roman soldiers who flogged Him, mocked Him, and made Him march to the place of His own execution. There they nailed Jesus to a wooden cross and took His clothes for themselves. Meanwhile, Jesus’ enemies and even the robbers punished with Him mocked Him. They challenged His claims to be the Son of God and the King of Israel because helpless, He hung and awaited His death. Then from noon to 3pm, the land was darkened, at the end of which Jesus shouted, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?” Shortly afterwards, He died.

Afterwards, the veil in front of the holiest part of God’s temple in Jerusalem was torn in two, but not by human hands. There was also an earthquake that made the people afraid. Jesus was hurriedly buried in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. The next day, soldiers sealed and guarded the tomb to make sure Jesus’ body was not stolen, to prevent a resurrection hoax. You see, Jesus had predicted several times that He would rise from the dead on the third day.

Psalm 22

Now let us examine how Psalm 22, written by David around 1000 BC, relates to Jesus’ story.

Psalm 22 For the Chief Musician; set to “The Doe of the Morning.” A Psalm by David.

[1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?
2 My God, I cry in the daytime, but you don’t answer;
in the night season, and am not silent.
3 But you are holy,
you who inhabit the praises of Israel.
4 Our fathers trusted in you.
They trusted, and you delivered them.
5 They cried to you, and were delivered.
They trusted in you, and were not disappointed.]

Like the words of the psalm, Jesus called to God desperately because God did not help Him. When Jesus called out, it was around 3pm, which is the daytime. But because there was darkness over the land, it can also count as a night season. Jesus knew that normally, God would save the people who trusted in Him. Why was this time any different?

[Psalm 22:6 But I am a worm, and no man;
a reproach of men, and despised by the people.
7 All those who see me mock me.
They insult me with their lips. They shake their heads, saying,
8 “He trusts in Yahweh;
let him deliver him.
Let him rescue him, since he delights in him.”]

The chief priests, the scribes, the Pharisees, and the elders said almost these exact words in their mocking scorn. Jesus felt the reproach of these words.

Matthew 27:43 “He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now, if he wants him; for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”

[Psalm 22:9 But you brought me out of the womb.
You made me trust at my mother’s breasts.
10 I was thrown on you from my mother’s womb.
You are my God since my mother bore me.
11 Don’t be far from me, for trouble is near.
For there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls have surrounded me.
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled me.
13 They open their mouths wide against me,
lions tearing prey and roaring.]

Jesus truly trusted in God. Otherwise, He might have complained about how His disciples did not save Him, or about the injustice of the Roman governor or the Jewish leaders. Surrounded by hostile Jewish leaders and Roman soldiers who stood watch, Jesus committed His spirit to God.

Luke 23:46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last.

The next part of the psalm describes physical suffering.

[Psalm 22:14 I am poured out like water.
All my bones are out of joint.
My heart is like wax;
it is melted within me.
15 My strength is dried up like a potsherd.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth.
You have brought me into the dust of death.
16 For dogs have surrounded me.
A company of evildoers have enclosed me.
They have pierced my hands and feet.
17 I can count all of my bones.
They look and stare at me.
18 They divide my garments among them.
They cast lots for my clothing.]

The first pains of crucifixion are the nails driven into the hands and feet. Jesus was pierced in a way described 1000 years before crucifixion was a common form of execution. When a group of Roman soldiers surrounded and guarded Jesus, they also took His clothes. Without His clothes, Jesus could look down and see the bones on His body, as could everyone else.

John 19:23 Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took his garments and made four parts, to every soldier a part; and also the coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. 24 Then they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to decide whose it will be,” that the Scripture might be fulfilled, which says, “They parted my garments among them. For my cloak they cast lots.” Therefore the soldiers did these things.

Over time, the challenge for the crucified man is that it becomes difficult to expand and contract his chest to breathe, having his arms stretched out on either side. Simply breathing required a constant of exertion of energy which was slowly drained away. Jesus’ strength was dried up and maybe the bones in His arms were out of joint after He hung from them for so long. Death was only a matter of time.

[Psalm 22:19 But don’t be far off, Yahweh.
You are my help: hurry to help me.
20 Deliver my soul from the sword,
my precious life from the power of the dog.
21 Save me from the lion’s mouth!
Yes, from the horns of the wild oxen, you have answered me.]

Up until this time, God did not rescue Jesus. Yet Jesus asks God again to help Him. It is difficult to reconcile these verses with Jesus’ experience, since He did ultimately die soon afterwards. But when we consider how Jesus stared Death in the face, He must have been anticipating much more than simply the cessation of life. He was thinking about Hades, the place where the spirits of the dead go to – a place of darkness and murmurings of a million souls. O God, rescue me from that dreadful place! We do not know too much about Jesus’ entrance into death, but we do know that God answered Him by bringing Him back from the grave!

Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead

Returning to the story in the Gospel According to Matthew:

Matthew 28:1 Now after the Sabbath, as it began to dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2 Behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from the sky, and came and rolled away the stone from the door, and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 For fear of him, the guards shook, and became like dead men. 5 The angel answered the women, “Don’t be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus, who has been crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, just like he said. Come, see the place where the Lord was lying. 7 Go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has risen from the dead, and behold, he goes before you into Galilee; there you will see him.’ Behold, I have told you.”

8 They departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to bring his disciples word. 9 As they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, “Rejoice!”

They came and took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.

10 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Go tell my brothers that they should go into Galilee, and there they will see me.”

11 Now while they were going, behold, some of the guards came into the city, and told the chief priests all the things that had happened. 12 When they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave a large amount of silver to the soldiers, 13 saying, “Say that his disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. 14 If this comes to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him and make you free of worry.” 15 So they took the money and did as they were told. This saying was spread abroad among the Jews, and continues until today.

16 But the eleven disciples went into Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had sent them. 17 When they saw him, they bowed down to him, but some doubted. 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

A bright angel rolled away the stone from the tomb, scared off the guards, and then spoke to the women who came to put spices on Jesus’ body, declaring that Jesus had risen! Then they even saw Jesus, who told them to tell His brothers, by which He meant His disciples. Meanwhile, the frightened soldiers also reported to Jesus’ enemies the incredible events that happened. But they accepted a bribe and spread a false report that the disciples stole Jesus’ body while they were sleeping. Now if the soldiers were really sleeping and risking capital punishment for dereliction of duty, how would they know what happened?

Jesus later appeared to His disciples on a mountain in Galilee. Asserting His authority over heaven and earth, Jesus commanded them to make disciples of all the nations of the earth and promises that He would be with them forever. Jesus is alive today, having ascended to heaven forty days after His resurrection, and is waiting to return to earth at the end of the age.

Psalm 22 Continued

[Psalm 22:22 I will declare your name to my brothers.
Among the assembly, I will praise you.
23 You who fear Yahweh, praise him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify him!
Stand in awe of him, all you descendants of Israel!
24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted,
Neither has he hidden his face from him;
but when he cried to him, he heard.
25 Of you comes my praise in the great assembly.
I will pay my vows before those who fear him.]

Jesus appeared alive to His disciples, whom He called His brothers.

[26 The humble shall eat and be satisfied.
They shall praise Yahweh who seek after him.
Let your hearts live forever.
27 All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to Yahweh.
All the relatives of the nations shall worship before you.
28 For the kingdom is Yahweh’s.
He is the ruler over the nations.
29 All the rich ones of the earth shall eat and worship.
All those who go down to the dust shall bow before him,
even he who can’t keep his soul alive.
30 Posterity shall serve him.
Future generations shall be told about the Lord.
31 They shall come and shall declare his righteousness to a people that shall be born,
for he has done it.]

Jesus also commanded that this story of His death and resurrection be told to all the nations of the earth, so that all the ends of the earth will seek and worship God for generations to come. And today, you too have heard this story.

[Tell me the story of Jesus,
Write on my heart every word;
Tell me the story most precious,
Sweetest that ever was heard.
Tell how the angels in chorus,
Sang as they welcomed His birth,
“Glory to God in the highest!
Peace and good tidings to earth.”]

[Fasting alone in the desert,
Tell of the days that are past,
How for our sins He was tempted,
Yet was triumphant at last.
Tell of the years of His labor,
Tell of the sorrow He bore;
He was despised and afflicted,
Homeless, rejected and poor.]

[Tell of the cross where they nailed Him,
Writhing in anguish and pain;
Tell of the grave where they laid Him,
Tell how He liveth again.
Love in that story so tender,
Clearer than ever I see;
Stay, let me weep while you whisper,
“Love paid the ransom for me.”]

[Tell how He’s gone back to heaven,
Up to the right hand of God:
How He is there interceding
While on this earth we must trod.
Tell of the sweet Holy Spirit
He has poured out from above;
Tell how He’s coming in glory
For all the saints of His love.]

– Frances J. Crosby

Back to Top

Chapter 7: God’s Master Plan

[Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased Yahweh to bruise him.
He has caused him to suffer.
When you make his soul an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring.
He will prolong his days,
and Yahweh’s pleasure will prosper in his hand.]

God deliberately let Jesus die. This should be very confusing to someone who believes in the goodness of God. God’s heart must have been broken at the sight of His Son agonizing on the cross, but at the same time, God had an important purpose to accomplish. God had a master plan, and in the end Jesus would live again, and God’s pleasure would prosper because of Jesus.

God’s Plans Were Laid Down before Creation

Before the heavens and the earth were created, God already knew what would happen. He planned that Jesus would die to redeem us from our sins.

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory.

1 Peter 1:18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.

Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ; 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without defect before him in love;

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him [the Beast], everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been killed.

People’s names were written in the book of life long ago, before they were even born. God knew exactly what would take place in the future.

[Psalm 139:16 Your eyes saw my body.
In your book they were all written,
the days that were ordained for me,
when as yet there were none of them.]

God’s Plans Were Fixed

Even beginning from the Garden of Eden, when Adam and Eve sinned by listening to the serpent and eating the forbidden fruit, God spoke of the offspring of the woman who would bruise the serpent’s head, while receiving a bruise in His heel. This was referring to Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin Mary.

Genesis 3:14 Yahweh God said to the serpent,

“[Because you have done this,
you are cursed above all livestock,
and above every animal of the field.
You shall go on your belly
and you shall eat dust all the days of your life.
15 I will put hostility between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and her offspring.
He will bruise your head,
and you will bruise his heel.”]

After mankind sinned for the first time, they drifted farther and farther away from honouring the true God and brought more and more evil into the world. But God still spoke of His intention to bless all the nations of the earth. God said to Abraham:

Genesis 12:3 “I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you. All the families of the earth will be blessed through you.”

We have also looked the 70 weeks prophecy earlier, where certain events were decreed.

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed on your people and on your holy city, to finish disobedience, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most holy…26 After the sixty-two weeks the Anointed One shall be cut off, and shall have nothing: …

The determined counsel of God ensured that God’s plans were fulfilled, even if they were carried out by His enemies.

Matthew 26:55 In that hour Jesus said to the multitudes, “Have you come out as against a robber with swords and clubs to seize me? I sat daily in the temple teaching, and you didn’t arrest me. 56 But all this has happened, that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Acts 3:22 “Men of Israel, hear these words! Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved by God to you by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did by him among you, even as you yourselves know, 23 him, being delivered up by the determined counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by the hand of lawless men, crucified and killed; 24 whom God raised up, having freed him from the agony of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it.

Jesus Predicted His Own Death and Resurrection

Jesus taught His disciples on several occasions that He would die and come back to life on the third day.

Mark 8:31 He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.

Mark 9:31 For he was teaching his disciples, and said to them, “The Son of Man is being handed over to the hands of men, and they will kill him; and when he is killed, on the third day he will rise again.”

Mark 10:32 They were on the way, going up to Jerusalem; and Jesus was going in front of them, and they were amazed; and those who followed were afraid. He again took the twelve, and began to tell them the things that were going to happen to him. 33 “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and the scribes. They will condemn him to death, and will deliver him to the Gentiles. 34 They will mock him, spit on him, scourge him, and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.”

Jesus also spoke indirectly about His death and resurrection in public.

John 1:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

20 The Jews therefore said, “It took forty-six years to build this temple! Will you raise it up in three days?” 21 But he spoke of the temple of his body. 22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he said this, and they believed the Scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Matthew 12:40 For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

God’s Plans Were Hidden

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the wisdom that has been hidden, which God foreordained before the worlds for our glory, 8 which none of the rulers of this world has known. For had they known it, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory.

God prevented His enemies from understanding His plans, so that they would do whatever He had planned. So as we consider how terrible it was for the rulers of the people to kill Jesus, we should pity them as it was God’s determined plan to blind them with ignorance while they carried it out.

Matthew 13:34 Jesus spoke all these things in parables to the multitudes; and without a parable, he didn’t speak to them, 35 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophet, saying,

“[I will open my mouth in parables;
I will utter things hidden from the foundation of the world.”]

Jesus spoke parables about the Kingdom of Heaven. But these things were known from the foundation of the world, but were simply hidden.

God Waited for Men to See their Need

Although God wanted to forgive men’s sins, He allowed time for men to see their need for a Saviour. People often consider themselves to be pretty good people. We consider it hard to imagine that God would consider us to be wicked and worthy of everlasting punishment. Therefore, God gave Moses the Law, so that we could look at ourselves in the mirror.

James 1:23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man looking at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he sees himself, and goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of freedom, and continues, not being a hearer who forgets, but a doer of the work, this man will be blessed in what he does.

The most famous portion of God’s Law is the Ten Commandments.

Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words:

2 “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.

3 “You shall have no other gods before me.

4 “You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. 5 You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, 6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name.

8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

13 “You shall not murder.

14 “You shall not commit adultery.

15 “You shall not steal.

16 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor.

17 “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

How well have you kept these commandments? Would you be guilty before God for breaking any of them? Or do you think you could live starting today and carefully obey all of these commandments? Even if we were able, these commandments are summarized by two even greater commandments – good laws – but I tell you, they are not possible for people like me who have selfish and wicked hearts.

Mark 12:28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

The nation of Israel were God’s people and promised to keep His commandments. Would they keep the Law?

Romans 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? No, in no way. For we previously warned both Jews and Greeks, that they are all under sin. 10 As it is written,

“[There is no one righteous;
no, not one.
11 There is no one who understands.
There is no one who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside.
They have together become unprofitable.
There is no one who does good,
no, not so much as one.”]

[13 “Their throat is an open tomb.
With their tongues they have used deceit.”
“The poison of vipers is under their lips”;
14 “whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”
15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood.
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways.
17 The way of peace, they haven’t known.”
18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”]

19 Now we know that whatever things the law says, it speaks to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be closed, and all the world may be brought under the judgment of God. 20 Because by the works of the law, no flesh will be justified in his sight. For through the law comes the knowledge of sin.

The nation of Israel tried, at times to follow God’s Law, but after many generations, it was apparent that most of the Israelites had turned aside to worship idols and to do wickedness. Even these people who had the advantage of having God speak to them, had sinned. But perhaps having a king would help to enforce the Law of God. But then the kings became wicked too. The Law promised blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience. The final curse was that the people of Israel would be scattered to foreign lands. When Jerusalem was captured and the people exiled to Babylon, it was clear that Israel had utterly failed to keep the Law. Even so, the Law promised mercy to survivors of the exile if they would turn back to obey God.

And the failure to do what is right in God’s sight is not limited to the nation of Israel. By and large, the people in the world do not know God and do not look for Him. We have done evil, even from our youth. The Bible says that there is no exception. “There is no one who does good, no, not one.” So on one occasion, God sent the waters of the flood, yet mercifully spared Noah’s family to continue the human race.

Genesis 6:5 Yahweh saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of man’s heart was continually only evil. 6 Yahweh was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him in his heart. 7 Yahweh said, “I will destroy man whom I have created from the surface of the ground—man, along with animals, creeping things, and birds of the sky—for I am sorry that I have made them.” 8 But Noah found favor in Yahweh’s eyes.

In response to newsworthy events in His own day, Jesus warned: “Unless you repent. You will all perish in the same way.”

Luke 13:1 Now there were some present at the same time who told him about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way. 4 Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them; do you think that they were worse offenders than all the men who dwell in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no, but, unless you repent, you will all perish in the same way.”

God also knew that death was not the end, for judgment comes after death, and all who are found guilty of sin will spend eternity in the lake of fire, otherwise known as hell.

Hebrews 9:27 Inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once, and after this, judgment,

Revelation 20:11 I saw a great white throne, and him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. There was found no place for them. 12 I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and they opened books. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 The sea gave up the dead who were in it. Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them. They were judged, each one according to his works. 14 Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. 15 If anyone was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 21:8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

What would a loving God do when faced with so universal a tragedy? Surely God weeps, but will He save?

God Promised to Save His People from Their Sins

Sin brought a curse and ultimately death. But God promised to rescue His people from sin.

[Psalm 130:7 Israel, hope in Yahweh,
for with Yahweh there is loving kindness.
With him is abundant redemption.
8 He will redeem Israel from all their sins.]

With this in mind, Jesus was thus named:

Matthew 1:20 But when he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 She shall give birth to a son. You shall call his name Jesus, for it is he who shall save his people from their sins.”

Making Peace Through the Cross

Colossians 1:19 For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him; 20 and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made peace through the blood of his cross. 21 You, being in past times alienated and enemies in your mind in your evil deeds, 22 yet now he has reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and without defect and blameless before him, 23 if it is so that you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the Good News which you heard, which is being proclaimed in all creation under heaven; of which I, Paul, was made a servant.

Jesus’ death on the cross allowed our sins to be removed. When we are cleansed in our minds, we can stop being God’s enemies and He can stop being angry with us. This establishes peace.

1 John 2:1 My little children, I write these things to you so that you may not sin. If anyone sins, we have a Counselor with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous. 2 And he is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world.

The Triumph of the Cross

Colossians 2:14 wiping out the handwriting in ordinances which was against us; and he has taken it out of the way, nailing it to the cross; 15 having stripped the principalities and the powers, he made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

Having wiped our records of sins clean, nailing them to the cross, the spiritual powers of evil are powerless to accuse us of sin.

Hebrews 2:14 Since then the children have shared in flesh and blood, he also himself in the same way partook of the same, that through death he might bring to nothing him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and might deliver all of them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

Jesus also died and resurrected, providing forgiveness of sins and the hope of resurrection, so that we don’t need to fear death anymore.

John 12:32 “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”

Jesus’ death on the cross also attracts people to Him because it demonstrates His love. It also inspires heartfelt worship.

Revelation 5:11 I saw, and I heard something like a voice of many angels around the throne, the living creatures, and the elders; and the number of them was ten thousands of ten thousands, and thousands of thousands; 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who has been killed to receive the power, wealth, wisdom, strength, honor, glory, and blessing!”

The Justice of the Cross

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; 24 being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; 25 whom God sent to be an atoning sacrifice, through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness through the passing over of prior sins, in God’s forbearance; 26 to demonstrate his righteousness at this present time; that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him who has faith in Jesus.

The cross demonstrates to the world that God is serious about punishing sin, in accordance with the principles of justice. It also shows that when God spared people their punishment in the past, He was not acting unjustly. Furthermore, the penalty of sin being paid, God justly forgives the sins and justifies, or declares innocent, those who have faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If we need forgiveness of our sins, we need to confess them to God, and then He will be righteous when He forgives us. He will also be faithful to keep His promise to cleanse us.

1 Peter 3:18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

2 Corinthians 5:21 For him who knew no sin he made to be sin on our behalf; so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

1 Peter 2:24 who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.

[Isaiah 53:4 Surely he has borne our sickness,
and carried our suffering;
yet we considered him plagued,
struck by God, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions.
He was crushed for our iniquities.
The punishment that brought our peace was on him;
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray.
Everyone has turned to his own way;
and Yahweh has laid on him the iniquity of us all…]

[11 After the suffering of his soul,
he will see the light and be satisfied.
My righteous servant will justify many by the knowledge of himself;
and he will bear their iniquities.]

Jesus took the place of the sinner and suffered death. But this brought peace and justification to us.

It Was Difficult for Jesus to Die

Surely Jesus did not want to die, but He also wanted His save His people.

John 12:27 “Now my soul is troubled. What shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this time?’ But for this cause I came to this time. 28 Father, glorify your name!” Then there came a voice out of the sky, saying, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

Then a few days later, the night before he died, Jesus prayed.

Mark 14:35 He went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass away from him. 36 He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Please remove this cup from me. However, not what I desire, but what you desire.”

Jesus Was Willing to Die for Us

Imagine if Jesus escaped arrest and continued to live on. He could heal many people and bring about much good. But one by one, Jesus’ friends, His disciples, His family members – they would die. They would be judged for their sins! They would spend eternity without God and without hope, tormented in the fires of hell. But Jesus loved us and willingly came to bear our sins.

John 10:11 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. 12 He who is a hired hand, and not a shepherd, who doesn’t own the sheep, sees the wolf coming, leaves the sheep, and flees. The wolf snatches the sheep, and scatters them. 13 The hired hand flees because he is a hired hand, and doesn’t care for the sheep. 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own, and I’m known by my own; 15 even as the Father knows me, and I know the Father. I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will hear my voice. They will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 Therefore the Father loves me, because I lay down my life, that I may take it again. 18 No one takes it away from me, but I lay it down by myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. I received this commandment from my Father.”

No one could kill Jesus if He didn’t allow it. He died so that we could live. When people were arresting Jesus, his disciple Peter came to His rescue with a sword. But Jesus did not need Peter to defend Him.

Matthew 26:52 Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place, for all those who take the sword will die by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I couldn’t ask my Father, and he would even now send me more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that it must be so?”

Instead, when Jesus was arrested, He asked the soldiers to allow His disciples to escape.

John 18:7 Again therefore he asked them, “Who are you looking for?” They said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. If therefore you seek me, let these go their way,” 9 that the word might be fulfilled which he spoke, “Of those whom you have given me, I have lost none.”

Jesus Considered It Worth the Pain

A few days before Jesus died, He reasoned in this way.

John 12:23 Jesus answered them, “The time has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Most certainly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains by itself alone. But if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Because Jesus died, many people could live. They would be part of His family.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see him who has been made a little lower than the angels, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for everyone. 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many children to glory, to make the author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. 11 For both he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers, 12 saying,

“[I will declare your name to my brothers.
Among of the congregation I will sing your praise.”]

13 Again, “I will put my trust in him.” Again, “Behold, here I am with the children whom God has given me.”

Jesus Proved His Perfect Obedience

By dying on the cross, Jesus proved that He did not live to please Himself, but was obedient to God, even to the point of death. This is a demonstration of love and devotion to God that He asks from us and we so sorely lack. Jesus’ perfect obedience to God assures us that He speaks the truth and that His death is no ordinary death, but a most holy and clean offering for sin that God will accept.

John 8:28 Jesus therefore said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I say these things. 29 He who sent me is with me. The Father hasn’t left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

Hebrews 5:7 He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, 8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. 9 Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation, 10 named by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without defect to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

Jesus Proved His Love

Jesus died because He loved us. By laying down His life, Jesus demonstrated the greatest example of love.

John 15:12 “This is my commandment, that you love one another, even as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you.

Romans 5:6 For while we were yet weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man. Yet perhaps for a righteous person someone would even dare to die. 8 But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we will be saved from God’s wrath through him. 10 For if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we will be saved by his life.

Jesus Proves the Father’s Love for Us

We can also be assured that God loves us because He gave us His Son!

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

And because God loves us and helps us, we are completely safe.

Romans 8:31 What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who didn’t spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things? 33 Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

But this safety does not mean will not have any trouble. We may even die! But God loves us forever and can make us alive even if we die. He is the Almighty Creator God after all!

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” 37 No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

God’s Plan in Jesus’ Own Words

Luke 24:25 He said to them, “Foolish men, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Didn’t the Christ have to suffer these things and to enter into his glory?”

Luke 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds, that they might understand the Scriptures. 46 He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send out the promise of my Father on you. But wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are clothed with power from on high.”

God’s Foolishness or Wisdom?

Despite this elaborate plan in which Jesus died to bring repentance and remission, or wiping out, of sins, some people may consider it foolish. Why? Because God the Father and Jesus had to endure so much suffering! And so many people still do not believe in Jesus. But this is not God’s assessment.

1 Corinthians 1:22 For Jews ask for signs, Greeks seek after wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified; a stumbling block to Jews, and foolishness to Greeks, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

God’s Joy

Let’s read about God’s joy in saving His people.

Isaiah 65:19 I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; and the voice of weeping and the voice of crying will be heard in her no more.

Zephaniah 3:17 Yahweh, your God, is among you, a mighty one who will save. He will rejoice over you with joy. He will calm you in his love. He will rejoice over you with singing.

Matthew 13:44 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found, and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.”

Luke 15:7 I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

Praise God for His Plan of Salvation!

Revelation 7:9 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude, which no man could number, out of every nation and of all tribes, peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, dressed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands. 10 They cried with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation be to our God, who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

11 All the angels were standing around the throne, the elders, and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before his throne, and worshiped God, 12 saying, “Amen! Blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might, be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”

From the tears of so terrible a death behind Him, Christ has completed the full payment to redeem us from our sins! “It is finished!”

[Christ has for sin atonement made
What a wonderful Savior!
We are redeemed, the price is paid
What a wonderful Savior!]

[What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Jesus!
What a wonderful Savior is Jesus, my Lord!]

[I praise Him for the cleansing blood
What a wonderful Savior!
That reconciled my soul to God
What a wonderful Savior!]

[He cleansed my heart from all its sin
What a wonderful Savior!
And now He reigns and rules therein
What a wonderful Savior!]

[He walks beside me in the way:
What a wonderful Savior!
And keeps me faithful day by day;
What a wonderful Savior!]

[He gives me overcoming power
What a wonderful Savior!
And triumph in each trying hour
What a wonderful Savior!]

[To Him I’ve given all my heart:
What a wonderful Savior!
The world shall never share a part:
What a wonderful Savior!]

– Elisha A. Hoffman

Back to Top

Chapter 8: What Is That to Us?

Matthew 27:3 Then Judas, who betrayed him, when he saw that Jesus was condemned, felt remorse, and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, 4 saying, “I have sinned in that I betrayed innocent blood.”

But they said, “What is that to us? You see to it.”

5 He threw down the pieces of silver in the sanctuary, and departed. He went away and hanged himself.

Having heard the story about Jesus’ death, how is it related to us? Let us read a parable that Jesus taught.

Luke 15:4 “Which of you men, if you had one hundred sheep, and lost one of them, wouldn’t leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one that was lost, until he found it? 5 When he has found it, he carries it on his shoulders, rejoicing. 6 When he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!’ 7 I tell you that even so there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance.

We are the lost sheep and Jesus has been searching for me and you.

Luke 19:10 For the Son of Man came to seek and to save that which was lost.

But Jesus is only calling sinners. If you are not a sinner, you don’t need Jesus.

Mark 2:16 The scribes and the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why is it that he eats and drinks with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 When Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are healthy have no need for a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

But perhaps there is some other way to deal with our sins. We could resolve to be a good person who keeps the Golden Rule to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We could donate money to the poor and needy. But what does the Bible say?

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me.

Acts 4:12 There is salvation in none other, for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, by which we must be saved!”

Hebrews 9:22 According to the law, nearly everything is cleansed with blood, and apart from shedding of blood there is no remission.

Jesus is the only way to reconciliation with God. His blood is the only payment for our sins that is acceptable to God. There is even a warning for those who reject Jesus.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God didn’t send his Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through him. 18 He who believes in him is not judged. He who doesn’t believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the one and only Son of God. 19 This is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does evil hates the light, and doesn’t come to the light, lest his works would be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his works may be revealed, that they have been done in God.”

We conclude this chapter with a beloved Gospel hymn.

[Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling,
calling for you and for me;
see, on the portals he’s waiting and watching,
watching for you and for me.]

[Come home, come home;
you who are weary come home;
earnestly, tenderly, Jesus is calling,
calling, O sinner, come home!]

[Why should we tarry when Jesus is pleading,
pleading for you and for me?
Why should we linger and heed not his mercies,
mercies for you and for me?]

[Time is now fleeting, the moments are passing,
passing from you and from me;
shadows are gathering, deathbeds are coming,
coming for you and for me.]

[O for the wonderful love he has promised,
promised for you and for me!
Though we have sinned, he has mercy and pardon,
pardon for you and for me.]

– Will L. Thompson

Back to Top

Chapter 9: What Shall We Do?

Acts 2:36 “Let all the house of Israel therefore know certainly that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all who are far off, even as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.”

Ten days after Jesus’ ascension to heaven and fifty days after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter preached to the people in Jerusalem that Jesus was the Christ. Having witnessed His death which was so public and tragic, they were cut to the heart. Their awaited Messiah had come, but they had killed Him, and now He was gone. Shocked and guilt-stricken, they asked Peter, “What shall we do?”

Repent!

To repent is to change your thinking, particularly by confessing that you have sinned against God and that what you did was wrong.

Luke 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn’t even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’

Be Baptized

The word “baptism” means to immerse something, typically in water. People are immersed in water in the name of Jesus Christ to show that they believe in Jesus.

Acts 8:12 But when they believed Philip preaching good news concerning God’s Kingdom and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.

There is also a meaning of identifying with the death of Jesus Christ.

Romans 6:3 Or don’t you know that all we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him through baptism to death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have become united with him in the likeness of his death, we will also be part of his resurrection;

Entering the water symbolizes dying and being buried, while leaving the water reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection. Similarly, we die to our past life as a guilty unbeliever and then live a new life as a forgiven believer.

But the symbolism of dying with Christ also means we should break with the old habits of sinning, which were punished by death.

Colossians 3:5 Put to death therefore your members which are on the earth: sexual immorality, uncleanness, depraved passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry; 6 for which things’ sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience. 7 You also once walked in those, when you lived in them; 8 but now you also put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and shameful speaking out of your mouth. 9 Don’t lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his doings, 10 and have put on the new man, who is being renewed in knowledge after the image of his Creator,

We also owe it to Christ to live for His sake, since He died to save us.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constrains us; because we judge thus, that one died for all, therefore all died. 15 He died for all, that those who live should no longer live to themselves, but to him who for their sakes died and rose again.

Be Forgiven and Justified by Faith

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering he has perfected forever those who are being sanctified. 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us, for after saying,

[16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them:
‘After those days,’ says the Lord,
‘I will put my laws on their heart,
I will also write them on their mind;’”]

then he says,

17 “I will remember their sins and their iniquities no more.”

God will forgive all of our sins, as long as we believe that God raised Jesus from the dead.

Romans 4:22 Therefore it also was “credited to him for righteousness.” 23 Now it was not written that it was accounted to him for his sake alone, 24 but for our sake also, to whom it will be accounted, who believe in him who raised Jesus, our Lord, from the dead,

When we believe, instead of saying of us “Guilty!”, God declares us “Righteous!”. This legal pronouncement by God is called justification. Then all the blessings of the righteous that God has promised in the Bible belong to us.

Romans 10:9 that if you will confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart, one believes unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Receive the Holy Spirit

God will give the Holy Spirit to all who believe in Jesus and are saved.

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and will remind you of all that I said to you.

John 16:13 However when he, the Spirit of truth, has come, he will guide you into all truth, for he will not speak from himself; but whatever he hears, he will speak. He will declare to you things that are coming. 14 He will glorify me, for he will take from what is mine, and will declare it to you.

Ephesians 1:13 in whom you also, having heard the word of the truth, the Good News of your salvation—in whom, having also believed, you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,

The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God in our hearts, Who will change us and empower us to do good.

Titus 3:5 not by works of righteousness, which we did ourselves, but according to his mercy, he saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

2 Timothy 1:7 For God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-control.

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Follow Christ’s Example of Suffering

One thing we need to do is to follow Christ’s example of suffering for doing good.

Phil 1:29 Because it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in him, but also to suffer on his behalf,

1 Peter 2:19 For it is commendable if someone endures pain, suffering unjustly, because of conscience toward God. 20 For what glory is it if, when you sin, you patiently endure beating? But if, when you do well, you patiently endure suffering, this is commendable with God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving you an example, that you should follow his steps, 22 who did not sin, “neither was deceit found in his mouth.” 23 Who, when he was cursed, didn’t curse back. When he suffered, didn’t threaten, but committed himself to him who judges righteously; 24 who his own self bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness; by whose stripes you were healed.

We also need to be prepared to die, if necessary, to obey God and the Lord Jesus Christ. A metaphor used to describe this is to take up your cross and follow Jesus.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone desires to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, and whoever will lose his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his life? Or what will a man give in exchange for his life? 27 For the Son of Man will come in the glory of his Father with his angels, and then he will render to everyone according to his deeds.

And this suffering is not in vain, for glory awaits us.

James 1:2 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you fall into various temptations, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 Let endurance have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing… 12 Blessed is the man who endures temptation, for when he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life, which the Lord promised to those who love him.

1 Peter 1:6 Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been put to grief in various trials, 7 that the proof of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes even though it is tested by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ—

2 Corinthians 4:17 For our light affliction, which is for the moment, works for us more and more exceedingly an eternal weight of glory;

Follow Christ’s Example of Love

And the ultimate way to follow Christ is to follow His example of love.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

1 John 3:16 By this we know love, because he laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. 17 But whoever has the world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and closes his heart of compassion against him, how does the love of God remain in him? 18 My little children, let’s not love in word only, or with the tongue only, but in deed and truth.

Some of the most treasured verses about love can be used to describe Christ’s love.

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and is kind; love doesn’t envy. Love doesn’t brag, is not proud, 5 doesn’t behave itself inappropriately, doesn’t seek its own way, is not provoked, takes no account of evil; 6 doesn’t rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never fails…

Amy Carmichael wrote a book called “If”. In it she describes many different attitudes and scenarios where she might treat another person without love. It may be criticism without love or not seeking the best for someone. But in either case she writes repeatedly, “then I know nothing of Calvary love.” How hard it is for us to love! Only Christ’s love can inspire us.

1 John 4:19 We love him, because he first loved us.

We Are His Forever

Jesus paid a price in blood to purchase our life.

Mark 10:45 For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

1 Corinthians 6:19 Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.

1 Peter 1:17 If you call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear: 18 knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; 20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.

And in the future, Jesus will come to earth again.

John 14:1 “Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God. Believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many homes. If it weren’t so, I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you. 3 If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am, you may be there also.

The Lamb of God Whose blood was shed will also take care of us forever.

Revelation 7:13 One of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are arrayed in white robes, who are they, and from where did they come?”

14 I told him, “My lord, you know.”

He said to me, “These are those who came out of the great tribulation. They washed their robes, and made them white in the Lamb’s blood. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, they serve him day and night in his temple. He who sits on the throne will spread his tabernacle over them. 16 They will never be hungry, neither thirsty any more; neither will the sun beat on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the middle of the throne shepherds them, and leads them to springs of waters of life. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”

Revelation 21:3 I heard a loud voice out of heaven saying, “Behold, God’s dwelling is with people, and he will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away from them every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; neither will there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. The first things have passed away.”…

7 He who overcomes, I will give him these things. I will be his God, and he will be my son. 8 But for the cowardly, unbelieving, sinners, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their part is in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”

A Final Promise

While Jesus was forsaken by God because of our sins, He has promised never to forsake us.

Hebrews 13:5 Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”

Matthew 28:18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

Back to Top

Appendix 1: Prophecies about Jesus Christ

Luke 24:44 He said to them, “This is what I told you, while I was still with you, that all things which are written in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms, concerning me must be fulfilled.”

This chapter summarizes a list of prophecies about Jesus Christ.

Jesus’ Ancestry

Jesus is the seed of the woman. He is the descendant of Abraham. He is a brother Israelite. He is a descendant of Judah. He is a descendant of Jesse. He is a descendant of David.

Bible References: Genesis 3:15; Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:18-25; Hebrews 2:14; Genesis 22:18; Matthew 1:1-17; Deuteronomy 17:14-15; Deuteronomy 18:17-18; Genesis 49:9-10; Isaiah 11:1; 2 Samuel 7:12

Jesus’ Birth and Childhood

Jesus was born in Bethlehem. His name Jesus means that He will save His people from their sins. Many children were killed when Herod tried to kill him. God called Jesus out of Egypt. He will be called a Branch. Note that the Hebrew word for “branch” in Isaiah 11:1 is “netser”, which sounds like the first two syllables of Nazareth.

Bible References: Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1-6; Psalm 130:8; Matthew 1:21; Jeremiah 31:15; Matthew 2:16-18; Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:14; Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5; Matthew 2:23

John the Baptist

John prepared the way for Jesus. John was the prophesied Elijah who would be sent ahead of Jesus.

Bible references: Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1; Luke 1:76; Matthew 3:1-3; John 1:29-31; Matthew 11:7-10; Malachi 4:5-6; Luke 1:16-17; Matthew 11:13-14

Jesus’ Ministry and Miracles

God put His Spirit on Jesus and sent Him to preach good news. Jesus performed miracles like Moses. Jesus was consumed with zeal for God’s house. He was a light in Galilee. He healed sicknesses. He forgave sins. He healed the blind, the deaf, the lame, and the mute. He stilled the storm and the waves. He fed many people with a few barley loaves and had some left over. He walked on water. He did not quarrel or cry out. His ministry was not successful, yet God was pleased. He spoke in parables. People were always plotting to kill Him.

Bible references: Isaiah 61:1-2; Luke 4:14-21;Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Acts 3:18-23; Psalm 69:9; John 2:13-17; Isaiah 9:1-2; Matthew 4:12-16; Isaiah 53:4; Matthew 8:16-17; Psalm 103:3; Matthew 9:1-8; Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 42:6-7; Matthew 11:5; Matthew 15:30-31; Psalm 107:29; Matthew 8:24-26; 2 Kings 4:42-44; John 6:5-13; Job 9:8; Matthew 14:23-26; Isaiah 42:1-4; Matthew 12:14-21; Isaiah 49:4; Matthew 11:20, 25; Psalm 78:2; Matthew 13:34-35; Psalm 56:5-6; Matthew 12:14; Matthew 26:3-4; Mark 3:6; John 7:25; John 8:37; John 11:53

The Week Before Passover

Jesus was the Lamb of God that was chosen four days before Passover. People asked Jesus to save and received him as the one who came in God’s name. He came to Jerusalem on a donkey. While many people did not believe Him, He was praised by children. He was rejected like a stone by the builders. He was hated without reason. He was only with His disciples for two days. His close friend who shared bread was against Him. He was priced at 30 pieces of silver. The money was given to the potter and a field was purchased. Jesus’ disciples were separated from Him. Jesus was taken away by people carrying torches and swords. He kept silent before His accusers. He had unjust trials. He was abhorred by the nation.

Bible references: Exodus 12:3, 6; John 12:1, 12-13; Psalm 118:25-26; Zechariah 9:9; John 12:14-15; Isaiah 53:1; John 12:37-38; Psalm 8:2; Matthew 21:15-16; Psalm 118:22; Acts 4:8-11; Psalm 35:19; Psalm 69:4; John 15:24-25; Genesis 22:3-5; John 12:36; Matthew 26:1-2; Psalm 41:9; John 13:18-30; Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 26:15; Jeremiah 32:6-9; Matthew 27:3-10; Zechariah 13:7; Psalm 88:18; Genesis 22:5; Matthew 26:31-35, 56; Genesis 22:6; John 18:3; Matthew 26:47; Psalm 39:1; Isaiah 53:7; Mark 14:60-61; Mark 15:3-5; Luke 23:8-9; Isaiah 53:8; Mark 14:55-64; Luke 23:20-25; Isaiah 49:7; John 19:6-7

Jesus’ Crucifixion

Jesus was numbered with the transgressors. He was offered vinegar mixed with gall. He was lifted up. He was surrounded by evil men who pierced His hands and feet. His clothes were divided and lots were cast for them. He was mocked and despised. People said He trusted in God and pointed out that God did not rescue Him. The sun went down at noon and darkened the land. The religious feast was turned to mourning. Jesus was forsaken by God and cried out to God by day and by night. Jesus thirsted. He committed His spirit into God’s hands.

Bible references: Isaiah 53:12; Mark 15:27; Psalm 69:21; Matthew 27:34; Numbers 21:8-9; John 3:14-15; John 12:32-34; Psalm 22:16; Matthew 27:35-36; Psalm 22:18; John 19:23-24; Psalm 22:6-8; Matthew 27:38-44; Amos 8:9; Mark 15:33; Amos 8:10; Luke 23:27; Psalm 22:1-2; Mark 15:33-34; Psalm 69:3; John 19:28; Psalm 31:5; Luke 23:46

Jesus’ Death

Jesus was the lamb that was slaughtered at Passover at twilight. There was judgment on the gods of the land. Jesus was pierced but His bones were not broken. Jesus was the bread from heaven. Jesus was like the rock that gave water to the people. The rock was struck the first time, but not the second time. Jesus was a sacrifice that had no defect.

Bible references: Exodus 12:6; John 1:29; John 18:39; John 19:30; 1 Corinthians 5:7; Mark 15:34-37; John 19:30-31; Exodus 12:12; Hebrews 2:14; Exodus 12:46; Psalm 34:19-20; Zechariah 12:10; John 19:31-37; Exodus 16:15; John 6:51; Exodus 17:6; John 7:37-39; 1 Corinthians 10:3-4; Numbers 20:8; Hebrews 9:28; Leviticus 1:3; Hebrews 9:13-14

Jesus’ Burial

Jesus’ body was brought outside the camp. He was buried in a rich man’s tomb for three days and three nights.

Bible references: Leviticus 16:27; Hebrews 13:11-12; Isaiah 53:9; Matthew 27:57-60; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:40; Luke 23:54-24:3

Jesus’ Resurrection

Jesus’ body resurrected and did not see decay. He lived again and was presented as firstfruits on the day after the Sabbath. It was the third day after He died that He lived again.

Bible references: Psalm 16:8-11; Acts 2:25-32; Isaiah 53:10-11; Acts 10:39-40; Leviticus 23:5-11; Mark 16:1-7; 1 Corinthians 15:20; Hosea 6:1-2; Jonah 1:17; Matthew 12:39-40; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4

Jesus’ Triumph

Jesus brought salvation to Israel and to the ends of the earth. He was exalted to the right hand of God. He was a man made lower than angels, but is not crowned with glory. He will be a light to the nations and be God’s salvation to the end of the earth. In the future, Jesus will return to earth, setting foot on the Mount of Olives and rule forever in peace.

Bible references: Isaiah 49:6; Luke 24:46-47; Psalm 110:1; Acts 2:33-35; Acts 7:55-56; Hebrews 1:3; Psalm 8:4-5; Hebrews 2:6-9; Isaiah 49:6; Luke 24:47; Zechariah 14:4; Acts 1:9-12; Isaiah 9:7

Back to Top

Appendix 2: Trinity

God is a trinity, or tri-unity. The word “trinity” does not appear in the Bible, but the concept means that God is one God in three persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is God the Son. The concept is difficult to grasp, but some things are believed, even if not fully understood. Christians believe that:

1) There is one God.

2) God the Father is God; Jesus is God; and the Holy Spirit is God.

3) God the Father is not the same person as Jesus, and they are both not the same as the Holy Spirit.

Let’s read what the Bible teaches.

Only One God

The Bible is clear that there is one God and His name is Yahweh.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, Israel: Yahweh is our God. Yahweh is one.

[Isaiah 43:10 “You are my witnesses,” says Yahweh,
“With my servant whom I have chosen;
that you may know and believe me,
and understand that I am he.
Before me there was no God formed,
neither will there be after me.]

[Isaiah 44:6 This is what Yahweh, the King of Israel,
and his Redeemer, Yahweh of Armies, says:
“I am the first, and I am the last;
and besides me there is no God.
7 Who is like me?
Who will call,
and will declare it,
and set it in order for me,
since I established the ancient people?
Let them declare the things that are coming,
and that will happen.
8 Don’t fear,
neither be afraid.
Haven’t I declared it to you long ago,
and shown it?
You are my witnesses.
Is there a God besides me?
Indeed, there is not.
I don’t know any other Rock.”]

Mark 12:32 The scribe said to him, “Truly, teacher, you have said well that he is one, and there is none other but he,

1 Corinthians 8:4 Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that no idol is anything in the world, and that there is no other God but one. 5 For though there are things that are called “gods”, whether in the heavens or on earth; as there are many “gods” and many “lords”; 6 yet to us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for him; and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and we live through him.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

James 2:19 You believe that God is one. You do well. The demons also believe, and shudder.

Unity of More Than One

Sometimes the Hebrew word for “one” could mean a unity of more than one.

Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will join with his wife, and they will be one flesh.

God’s name “Elohim” is plural.

Genesis 1:26 God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the sky, and over the livestock, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in his own image. In God’s image he created him; male and female he created them.

God says: “Let us”, “our image”, and “our likeness”, which is in plural form. But afterwards it refers to God’s image as “his image”, which is in singular form.

Hints of the Trinity in the Old Testament

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was formless and empty. Darkness was on the surface of the deep and God’s Spirit was hovering over the surface of the waters. 3 God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

God’s Spirit is mentioned here. Also, Jesus is called the Word of God in John chapter 1, which is represented in Genesis 1:3 by God speaking.

[Isaiah 42:1 “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold;
my chosen, in whom my soul delights—
I have put my Spirit on him.
He will bring justice to the nations.]

Jesus is God’s servant, and the Holy Spirit is put on Jesus.

[Isaiah 61:1 The Lord Yahweh’s Spirit is on me;
because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble.
He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and release to those who are bound;]

It is Jesus speaking in the first person 700 years before His birth. Yahweh, who sent Jesus, refers to God the Father in this case. And the Holy Spirit is on Jesus.

Trinity in the New Testament

Matthew 3:16 Jesus, when he was baptized, went up directly from the water: and behold, the heavens were opened to him. He saw the Spirit of God descending as a dove, and coming on him. 17 Behold, a voice out of the heavens said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus was getting baptized. The Holy Spirit descended on Jesus. And God the Father spoke from heaven, declaring Jesus to be His Son.

Matthew 28:18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

The members of the Trinity are explicitly stated here and they share a name which is singular.

Jesus’ Relationship with the Father

John 8:54 Jesus answered, “If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say that he is our God.

God is Jesus’ Father.

John 10:30 I and the Father are one.”

Jesus and the Father are one.

John 14:10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works.

Jesus is in the Father and the Father is in Him. The Father lives in Jesus.

John 17:1 Jesus said these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may also glorify you; 2 even as you gave him authority over all flesh, he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4 I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify me with your own self with the glory which I had with you before the world existed.

Jesus called God His Father and talked about the glory they shared before the world existed.

John 17:20 Not for these only do I pray, but for those also who believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me. 22 The glory which you have given me, I have given to them; that they may be one, even as we are one; 23 I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.

Jesus again speaks about how He and the Father are one, and prays that Jesus’ believers would also be one. This hints that Jesus is not the Father, but they are distinct persons, since believers are distinct persons.

John 8:17 It’s also written in your law that the testimony of two people is valid. 18 I am one who testifies about myself, and the Father who sent me testifies about me.”

Jesus even said that He and His Father counted as two witnesses.

Is Jesus Equal with God the Father?

Jesus is Yahweh, just as God the Father is Yahweh.

Malachi 3:1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says Yahweh of Armies.

Yahweh is speaking, saying the messenger would prepare the way for Yahweh.

Luke 7:27 This is he of whom it is written,

‘[Behold, I send my messenger before your face,
who will prepare your way before you.’]

28 “For I tell you, among those who are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptizer, yet he who is least in God’s Kingdom is greater than he.”

John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy by preparing the way for Jesus, thus equating Jesus with Yahweh.

Hebrews 1:3 His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purified us of our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

Jesus is the image of God’s substance. This is not easy to understand, but at least we know that Jesus looks exactly like God the Father.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on, you know him, and have seen him.”

8 Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us.”

9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you such a long time, and do you not know me, Philip? He who has seen me has seen the Father. How do you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ 10 Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? The words that I tell you, I speak not from myself; but the Father who lives in me does his works.

Anyone who has seen Jesus has seen the Father. Anyone who knows Jesus has also known the Father. So the Father is exactly like what we know of Jesus.

Philippians 2:5 Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross.

Jesus existed in the form of God. He also had equality with God, but was willing to become weak like a man and finally to die for us.

God and Jesus Christ are Worshipped Together

Matthew 14:10 Then Jesus said to him, “Get behind me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and you shall serve him only.’”

Jesus said that only God should be worshipped, yet Jesus Himself is worshipped.

Philippians 2:9 Therefore God also highly exalted him, and gave to him the name which is above every name; 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, those on earth, and those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

God the Father wants every knee to bow to Jesus Christ.

Revelation 5:13 I heard every created thing which is in heaven, on the earth, under the earth, on the sea, and everything in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb be the blessing, the honor, the glory, and the dominion, forever and ever! Amen!” 14 The four living creatures said, “Amen!” The elders fell down and worshiped.

A Closing Blessing

2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

Back to Top

Appendix 3: Was Jesus Separated from God?

When God forsook Jesus, it meant that He did not help Him at that time. Although Jesus knew perfectly the reason why God did not rescue Him, Jesus still felt the emotional pain that God let Him suffer. Yet, even Jesus knew that soon it would be over and He would be raised to life again.

But Jesus took on the sin of the world! Surely God was separated from Him at that time, right? I think it is a mistake think that the Spirit of God cannot be inside a person who has sin. The Spirit has worked inside many people throughout history who were not sinless. The idea that God was separated from Jesus is popular, but let us examine this thought.

Here are three Bible verses that seem to support the idea that God was separated from Jesus. But upon closer examination, these three Bible verses do not support the idea that God was separated from Jesus.

Forsaken

Matthew 27:46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lima sabachthani?” That is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?

Yes, God forsook Jesus, but from Psalm 22, it means God did not help Him, but it does not necessarily mean separation.

Psalm 22:1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning?

God’s presence is everywhere, so the psalm does not mean that God is physically far away.

[Psalm 139:7 Where could I go from your Spirit?
Or where could I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend up into heaven, you are there.
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the dawn,
and settle in the uttermost parts of the sea;
10 Even there your hand will lead me,
and your right hand will hold me.]

Some people also claim that when Jesus called to “My God” instead of “My Father”, it indicates that Jesus’ relationship with His Father was suspended. This argument can be soundly refuted by listening to Jesus’ words a few moments later, where Jesus loudly addresses God as His Father.

Luke 23:46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Separated by Sin

[Isaiah 59:1 Behold, Yahweh’s hand is not shortened,
that it can’t save;
nor his ear dull, that it can’t hear.
2 But your iniquities have separated you and your God,
and your sins have hidden his face from you,
so that he will not hear.]

It is referring to “separation” in the sense of God not hearing the sinner’s prayer. But God definitely heard Jesus’ prayer, so Isaiah 59:1-2 cannot be rightly applied to Jesus.

[Psalm 22:24 For he has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted,
Neither has he hidden his face from him;
but when he cried to him, he heard.]

Hebrews 5:7 He, in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear,

Eyes Too Pure for Evil

Habakkuk 1:13 You who have purer eyes than to see evil, and who cannot look on perversity, why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously, and keep silent when the wicked swallows up the man who is more righteous than he,

Note that Habakkuk was talking about God using the Babylonians to punish Israel. Clearly, Habukkuk did not fully understand God’s methods when he asked the question. He contradicted his own belief that God would not set His eyes on evil by saying: “Why do you tolerate those who deal treacherously?”

Evidence that Jesus was Not Separated from God

On the other hand, there are direct Biblical statements that the Holy Spirit and God the Father were with Jesus during His crucifixion:

Hebrews 9:14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without defect to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

John 16:32 Behold, the time is coming, yes, and has now come, that you will be scattered, everyone to his own place, and you will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.

Luke 23:46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last.

Conclusion

What do you think? Was Jesus separated from God the Father? The supposed spiritual separation has been described as being more agonizing as suffering than any physical or emotional pain that Jesus felt. How do we know this? Is it simply because it has been taught by men for so many years?

The “separation” concept also has a very serious theological problem. If God is separated from God, do we have more than one God?

Let us emphasize what the Bible emphasizes in its descriptions when we speak of how God had forsook our Lord Jesus Christ when He was on the cross. He suffered and died for us that we might live.

Revelation 1:4 John, to the seven assemblies that are in Asia: Grace to you and peace, from God, who is and who was and who is to come; and from the seven Spirits who are before his throne; 5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us, and washed us from our sins by his blood; 6 and he made us to be a Kingdom, priests to his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, including those who pierced him. All the tribes of the earth will mourn over him. Even so, Amen.

8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Back to Top

###


My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

"My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?" was Jesus' famous cry shortly before He died. To answer this question, we review the events that led up to this climax and explore the reasons why Jesus died. Weaving through the pages of prophecy and poetry in the Bible, we find revealing texts that elucidate a master plan and momentous triumph from this most tragic of circumstances. This book seeks to promote understanding of a major historical event and encourage confidence in a God who tells the end from the beginning. Alternating between quotations of poetic visions, songs of praise, and discussions about accounts of Jesus' life, we pray the reader will grow in his or her understanding of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.

  • ISBN: 9781311332509
  • Author: Zion Kwok
  • Published: 2016-03-28 09:20:10
  • Words: 33187
My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?