“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”-Luke 2:11
The last book of the Old Testament is Malachi. Four hundred years before the birth of Jesus, Malachi prophesied about a messenger who would come in the spirit of Elijah and prepare the way of the Lord (Malachi 3:1; 4:5). This messenger was John the Baptist (Matthew 11:12-14; Luke 7:24-27). John was, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”-Matthew 3:3. John’s ministry declared the coming of the Messiah, the Son of David, the Son of God and Man, the promised offspring of Abraham who would bless the world, Jesus the Lamb of God.
Jesus’ Birth and Baptism: The first four books of the New Testament tell the story of the sinless life, death, burial, resurrection, and return to heaven of Jesus. Our Lord was born of a virgin named Mary in the town of Bethlehem, just as the prophets foretold (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:1). The father of John the Baptist prophesied Jesus would, “give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins,”-Luke 1:77.
When he was about thirty years old, Jesus was baptized by John in the Jordan River. When Jesus came up out of the water the Spirit appeared like a dove, “And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.’”-Mark 1:11. Immediately after his immersion, Jesus was tempted by Satan. Our Lord overcame the snare of the devil by repeatedly quoting Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11). With Satan behind him, Jesus began his teaching ministry.
Teaching and Miracles: Jesus was no ordinary teacher (Matthew 7:28; 16:16). His sermon on the mount is considered the greatest teaching ever recorded (Matthew 5:1-7:27). The golden rule, the Lord’s prayer, living one day at a time, the wise man building his house on the rock, and more are all contained in this jewel of Christian teaching. Jesus also taught in parables. These simple, real-life stories teach us great spiritual lessons (Luke 8:4-15; 12:13-21; 14:7-24; 15:1-32).
Jesus performed many miracles to prove his teaching came from God (John 3:2; 10:38). The Son of God walked on water, stilled the raging sea, healed the blind, cast out demons, turned water to wine, and even raised the dead. The apostle John says this, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but 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.”-John 20:30-31.
Death, Burial, and Resurrection: One of Jesus’ final miracles led to his death. When he raised Lazarus from the dead, many people believed Jesus to be the Christ sent from God (John 11:38-46). His teaching and signs had upset the religious leaders in Jerusalem for years and, “from that day on they made plans to put him to death.”-John 11:53. Though Jesus did nothing wrong, the High Priest handed him over to the Roman ruler Pilate to have him crucified (Matthew 27:1-2; I Peter 2:22). Roman soldiers nailed the Son of God to a cross by his hands and feet. Jesus was mocked, beaten, spit on, and whipped but still found the grace to say, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”-Luke 23:34.
Jesus died on that cross and was buried in a sealed tomb (Mark 15:42-47). For three days, he was in the grave. But early on a Sunday morning, our Savior rose from the dead to prove he was the Christ the Son of the living God (Luke 24:1-12; Romans 1:4)! The God of heaven sacrificed his Son for the sins of a rebellious human race and raised him from the dead as the great sign for all generations that forgiveness of sins, right-standing before God, and eternal life are in Jesus the Christ!
Jesus gave up heaven to die on the cross for my sins (John 1:1-2, Philippians 2:5-11). For those who have obedient faith, it is written, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”-I Peter 2:24. Eternal life in heaven await those who listen to the words of the Lamb of God, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved,”-Mark 16:16. I know my Savior lives!