In Genesis, the very first book of the Bible, God creates the first man (Adam) and the first woman (Eve) in His own image and puts them into a perfect world, the garden of Eden. God gave them a commandment to keep, but they broke it. Breaking God's law is called sin. We are like Adam and Eve in that we also have sinned. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23). This death is not just the physical death we die (the separation of the spirit from the body); this death involves eternal separation from God. In 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9 we learn that the Lord Jesus shall be:
To avoid eternal punishment we must come to know God and learn how to obey the gospel. The Bible reveals God to us and tells us how to be saved. God's plan for redeeming man from his sins is seen first in the garden of Eden. At the very moment God was pronouncing the penalty for man's sins, He also promised to redeem him (Genesis 3:15). Later, when God chose Abraham and his descendants for His own special people, He promised "in your seed shall all the nations of the world be blessed" (Genesis 26:4 and 28:14). This seed who would bless all nations is Jesus (Galatians 3:16). Jesus is the one who (according to the Old Testament) will come into the world through the descendants of Abraham (the nation of Israel); Jesus is also the subject of the New Testament.
Jesus Is Unique
Jesus was born about 2,000 years ago. He is the only person who ever lived who was both thoroughly human and Divine at the same time. This may seem hard to understand, but the Scriptures explain it.
Physically, Jesus was descended from Abraham. But He is also part of the Godhead. God (the Word) became a human being, one of us.
Jesus had one human and one Divine parent. An angel told the woman who would become His mother:
Jesus, however, was not half human and half Divine. Sometimes He referred to Himself as "the Son of Man," referring to His humanity, and sometimes He called Himself "the Son of God," referring to His Deity. The phrase son of in the Bible means to fully possess the characteristics of one's father. Thus, He was at one and the same time fully human and fully Divine. What humility He showed to live on earth as a human being!
Jesus is eternal. On one occasion He told the Jews, "Before Abraham was, I AM" (John 8:58). Although Abraham had lived on earth 2,000 years before Jesus, Jesus' existence went far beyond that. His choice of the words, "I AM," shows that He is eternal. Jesus was sent to earth by the Father (John 5:23). He came from heaven (John 6:38), and He returned there (John 13:3). Jesus made it clear that He was equal with God (John 5:17-18); therefore, the Jews desired to kill Him.
Jesus The Savior
The name Jesus means "Savior." His mother Mary was instructed to give Him the name Jesus (Luke 1:31). Why? According to Matthew 1:21, "for He shall save His people from their sins." For just this purpose He left heaven and came to earth. But since He appeared to be just like any other man, Jesus had to demonstrate that He was the Son of God who could save people from their sins. He proved His identity by the miracles, signs, and wonders that He did (reread the passage at the beginning of this lesson).
Jesus healed a man who had been unable to walk for 38 years (John 5:5-9). He fed 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two small fish (John 6:9-14). He was able to cause a man to see who had been born blind (John 9:1-7). He raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:38-44)! And these are just a few miracles that He worked. The results of these wonders are recorded in several passages of Scripture.
When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, many of the Jews believed in Him, but the chief priests were jealous and determined to put Jesus to death (John 12:9-11), which they eventually did. From the beginning of the world it was God's plan to allow Jesus to be put to death on a cross as the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world. He was qualified to take our place because He was sinless. But God raised Him from the dead. These facts were preached in the first gospel sermon which the apostle Peter proclaimed on the day of Pentecost.
Jesus allowed sinful human beings to crucify Him, for through this means His innocent blood was shed for our sins. How we may have forgiveness of our sins will be the subject of the next two lessons.
LESSON #2: JESUS, THE SON OF GOD