Victory In Jesus

“For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  – Hebrews 12:2

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I find it interesting that there are hundreds of messianic prophecies in the Old Testament of the Bible―God’s revelation predicting the coming Messiah. These 39 books were written between 1450 B.C. and 430 B.C. God chose to reveal His plan to redeem mankind, and each of His proclamations about the coming Messiah has been revealed in Jesus.

God revealed to the prophet Amos, who lived 700 years before Jesus was crucified, that “on that day” the sun will set at noon and darkness will cover the earth (Amos 8:9). And then Matthew, one of many eyewitnesses, confirms that the entire land became dark for three hours (Matthew 27:45). This darkness at Jesus’ crucifixion is Matthew’s first supernatural sign before God’s salvation of the world.

When darkness swallowed the sun, Jesus swallowed death in victory.

The Psalmist in Psalm 118:15b-17 (HCSB) predicts Christ’s rising from the grave:

“The Lord’s right hand performs valiantly! 16 The Lord’s right hand is raised. The Lord’s right hand performs valiantly!” 17 I will not die, but I will live and proclaim what the Lord has done.

Mark 16:6 (NIV) records an angel saying,

 Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him.”

The Father raised Jesus up in the power of His Holy Spirit, seating Him at His right hand―to His original position before Jesus took on flesh (John 1:1-5). Jesus  reigns victoriously (Philippians 2:9-11) and will one day reign in justice over His new earth (Revelation 21). The question I must ask myself: Does Jesus reign victoriously in my heart, or am I harboring sin?

I love that the apostle Paul gives the image of God’s children sitting victoriously with Christ in the “heavenly realms,” replacing the image of us as being objects of God’s wrath due to our sin (Ephesians 2:1-9). This is made possible only because our sinless Lord took our deserved punishment upon Himself (Isaiah 53:4-12). Our eternal life is secured only through Jesus Christ (1 John 5:11-12).

As God’s children, do we embrace God’s grace and extend it to others?

Maybe you’re unsure whether or not you are God’s child. This is a decision only you can make. The church can’t save you. Your good works or parents’ faith can’t save you.

There are no guarantees for tomorrow. Isaiah 55:6-7 says,

Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on Him while He is near.Let the wicked forsake their ways and the unrighteous their thoughts. Let them turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on them, and to our God, for He will freely pardon.”

If God is knocking on your heart’s door, please don’t ignore Him. I encourage you to call out to Christ, seek His forgiveness, and ask Him to save you. He loves you!

Press On

I wonder when Jesus first realized He was God’s Son, and His purpose for living on earth. Growing up under the care of a carpenter, he likely hammered hundreds of nails. Did He ever cringe―knowing His earthly fate would end with sharp spikes piercing His own hands and feet?

Luke 2:40-52 gives an account of Jesus at the age of twelve. Jesus―strong and full of God’s wisdom and grace―remained behind in Jerusalem when his parents began journeying home from their yearly Passover Festival. Mary and Joseph were concerned. Where is Jesus?

After three days they found Him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. Everyone who heard Him was amazed at His understanding and His answers.”   – (vs. 46-47)

Joseph and Mary:  Relief … astonishment … parental anger

Jesus:  “Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” (vs. 49) “Or be about my Father’s business,” (NIV Bible’s footnote)

Joseph and Mary:  Fear … misunderstanding

Was this Jesus’ first experience of His identity and mission being misunderstood? It wouldn’t be His last. The gospels―Matthew, Mark, Luke and John―detail Jesus’ suffering. His blood brothers ridiculed Him. Many disciples turned away. Even those in His inner circle misunderstood many of His teachings, and then scattered upon Jesus’ arrest. His home town shunned Him. The Pharisees bombarded Him with false accusations…

But Jesus pressed on.

In ministry, Jesus didn’t have home comforts, but instead dwelt among throngs of people―many pursuing Him with selfish motives.

But He persevered.

Satan―knowing Jesus’ true identity and mission from the get-go―assaulted Him with temptations, seeking to steal Jesus’ worship, kingdom and glory.

But Jesus overcame (Matthew 4).

So what prompted Jesus’ strong resolve amid such opposition? He prayed often, plugging into His Father’s power source. Also, Jesus declared:

My food is to do the will of Him who sent me and to finish His work.”  – John 4:34

God’s grace to us led Christ to His death. Jesus―fully God and fully man―did not come to gain political power or status, but to suffer and die so we could have eternal life (Hebrews 2:9-10).

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Our sinless Christ sympathizes with our weaknesses (Hebrews 2:18). He is the answer to all our dilemmas and temptations. Through Christ, we too can press on (Philippians 4:13).