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In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word was made flesh, came down to earth, and lived among men in the form of Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament prophets foretold His coming, but it was a great mystery. God revealed many things to the prophets, from current and future events to the coming Messiah, to the End of Days. But God only permitted them to see to a certain point, and the rest was a mystery to the Jews.
When Christ came to the earth, the prophesies of the Messiah were beginning to come to pass. The Savior had come to redeem Israel. But, the prophecies of the Old Testament were not yet fulfilled; there was more. The prophets could see the Messiah, but hidden in mystery was the Body of Christ and the Kingdom that was to be established. Jew and Gentile alike were to become members of the Body, and the Good News of the fulfillment of the Jew's part of the Old Covenant that they could not keep must be spread to the nations.
The Jews were looking for a savior, but not One who would free them from the bonds of the Law. They were looking for a deliverer from the Roman Empire that was threatening their way of life. Many thought that Jesus was that deliverer, and the Romans would be crushed under the hand of the Almighty God. But Christ did not come with spear and sword.
The Jews did, in fact, need a deliverer -- but One for a far greater evil than the Roman Empire could ever threaten. They needed a Sacrifice that would save their souls from sin and eternal damnation. They needed someone to pay the penalty for the Law that they could not keep, to free them from their part of the bargain of the Old Covenant, to fulfill that which they could not do. Otherwise, sin would continue to worsen until there was no hope for mankind.
That Hope was found in Jesus Christ.
The Gospel is not just the Good News that Christ Came. It is not the Good News of the power and manifestation of God in the form of a man, nor just the miracles that Christ performed. The Gospel that we proclaim should be proclaimed in its fullness, from the Child that was born to Joseph and Mary to the Savior that felt each blow from the hammer to the nail, to what happened on the third day.
In just three days, the followers of Christ had forgotten His words describing what was about to happen. Many felt defeated, thinking that He was not the deliverer. Rome was growing stronger, and Christ was in a tomb.
When the women went to the tomb to decorate the body with spices, there was no body to be found. An angel with the appearance of lightning sat on top of the stone that was already rolled away from the tomb, and they were alarmed. But the angel told them not to fear; Jesus had risen.
Many think that the Gospel in its entirety stops with the resurrection from the dead, but there is still more to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Christ had ascended from death, but He had not yet ascended to the Father. There was more work to be done, more that the prophets had foretold before their prophecy was complete.
When Jesus appeared to Mary, and she finally recognized Him, she cried for joy. But He told her not to become attached, because He had not yet ascended to the Father. He instructed her to tell the others that He was soon to ascend.
The disciples also did not recognize Christ until their eyes were opened. At first, they thought they were seeing a ghost, but Jesus let them touch the wounds on his hands, side, and feet. A body that once was dead now stood among them, and still with the remains of His mortal wounds. He was more than a mortal.
Jesus told His disciples of the coming Holy Spirit. He said that they had the power over sin – not just for themselves, but also over others. Jesus said, “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”
He reminded them that more must be accomplished. Though they knew the scriptures, their minds were not opened to them. Jesus had to open their minds so that they could fully understand what the prophets of the Old Testament had said.
Beginning with Moses and the Law, Christ went through the rest of the Old Testament, showing them how each example pointed to Him. He interpreted each and every scripture, all the things concerning Himself, the Redeemer.
Jesus said, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
But after He opened their minds, He continued, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you.”
Christ was given authority and power over all, but He did not withhold that power from us. In fact, he gave us the power to forgive others, the power to make other disciples for Him, and the power to save others by spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He said,
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Christ is with us. He has given us authority to save others by telling others of Him. He has given us power to forgive, power to save others by causing them to believe in Jesus Christ.
John writes, “these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.”
As Christians, we must rise up to continue the commission that Jesus Christ has given us. This power that He gave is much greater than you or I – it is God’s gift for the World!
If the entire world were dying of hunger, desperately crying out for just a bite of bread. If bodies started to mount in the cities, dead from starvation, with no hope that the famine would end. If all around you, children were suffering, the old were crying, the strong were now feeble and weak.
If God came down and gave you the power to feed, what would you do? If you could save a child simply by speaking to them – not even to struggle to find nourishment – just to SPEAK TO THEM, what would you do? If you could sit in the cities, speak to the people, and watch new life enter each one of them, if you could speak to them and they, too, received the power to speak to others and save them from death, what would you do?
Would you keep that power to a select group of people? Would you give it to one single leader in power? Or would you spread it as far and as wide as humanly possible?
This IS the gift that God has given us. God has given us the power to save lives. God has given us the power to speak to others, telling them of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. God has given us the power to save the dying from the clutches of hell, to forgive the sins of the lost, to rise up men, women, and children for Him.
Why do we keep this power for ourselves? Why do we not speak to others of Him so that they, too, can be saved? Why do we watch as others lay suffering, desperately needing help – when ALL we have to do is speak? To be saved, ALL they need to do is to believe in Jesus Christ!
Do you really believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ in its fullness? Then spread it!