So God began to prepare
the world for this rescuer, called Messiah, many
centuries before He actually came. He did this by revealing
his plan to certain chosen people, called prophets.
These prophets wrote down the things God showed them and
put them into His Book as prophecies that would be
fulfilled in the future. When the time finally arrived,
more than 300 of these prophecies came true in the life
of a single man, born of a virgin: Jesus of Nazareth, the
Son of God.
he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for
our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5)
Although the whole
human race deserved eternal death because of their wrong
doings, or sins, most people did not admit that they
were guilty. So, when Jesus began His ministry, He tried
to make people see the evil inside their own hearts. I
did not come to call the righteous, He said, but
sinners to repentance. (Luke 5:32). You see, all people
had wickedness in their hearts, but most refused to see
it. And many people hoped that God would just ignore their
sin. But since God is too pure to ignore evil, people could
not avoid the punishment that was coming! But waitGods
clever plan was about to unfold. For God Himself
would take the full punishment of sin for mankind, in order
to save as many as would turn to Him.
So then, after three
and half years of teaching people how to live rightly, and
healing the many sick people who came to Him, Jesus willingly
gave up His very own life for the sake of sinners. He, Himself,
who never sinned, either in thought, word, or deed, allowed
Himself to be falsely accused by wicked religious leaders,
beaten terribly and hung on a cross to die. And on that
cross He not only suffered terrible pain and rejection from
all the people, but even more than this, He endured the
fury of Gods anger against sin. This painful anger
was being poured out upon Him! For Jesus was willingly taking
upon Himself the full punishment from God that sinful mankind
deserved for all their evil crimes. The horrible, painful,
eternal death that they were supposed to face, Jesus faced
it for themaloneon the cross.
thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the
dead on the third day; and that repentance and remission
of sins should be preached in his name among all nations,
beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:46-47)
When He had finally
died, Jesus was taken down from the cross and laid in a
stone tomb. The religious leaders posted soldiers at the
sealed entrance to make sure that no one could take away
His body. For Jesus had promised that He would rise from
the dead after three days, and the leaders wanted to prove
that His body would still be there. But to their amazement,
on the third day, Jesus rose up from the tomb alive, just
as He said!
At once, Jesus showed
Himself to His disciples and to all the many people who
had followed Him. How joyous they were that He lived again!
He quickly told them the wonderful news: He had endured
the punishment of eternal death for their sakes, and for
all those everywhere who want to come back to God. He actually
took their place and suffered their punishment so that they
wouldnt have to suffer it! He explained that all those
who now turned away, or repented, from sin and put
their faith in Him as their Savior, would have all their
sins washed away and would receive everlasting life.
Lastly, Jesus told
his disciples to go and share this wonderful news to anyone
who would listen. Then, when all the world has had the opportunity
to hear and respond to Gods gracious offer, Jesus
would return to set up His kingdom on earth. After He had
said this, He rose up into Heaven on a cloud and sat down
at the right hand of God the Father.
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