Sunday, December 19, 2021

An old /new book


Making sense of the Bible part 3

Looking at the New Testament, things change significantly. Jesus is born, as recorded by four different biographers (Matthew , Mark, Luke, John). Jesus goes from very humble beginnings to reach out to the common people to help, heal and teach.

After three years of reaching out to the Jewish people, they reject His claim to be the Messiah, the Son of God. All the biographies major on the fact that He was rejected by the Jews and crucified by the Romans. That was a significant turning point in the privilege of the Israelites. The history section of 'Acts' does record messages of possible restoration for the Israelites, but the leadership deliberately rejected Jesus as the Christ (Messiah) and choose to persecute His followers. Eventually the temple was destroyed as Jesus foretold.

But in the record of 'Acts', God is seen as not defeated. He presents through the Apostles the bigger plan  - that God is going to gather together all people in Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 1).

The implementation of this new covenant is summarized:

·     *   God raises Jesus from among the dead, vindicating His claim to be the Son of God.

·    *    God the Father sends down from heaven the Holy Spirit to fill the believers, as never happened before.

·        * The Jewish believers are scattered to many countries spreading the Gospel.

·        * Then the Good News is shared with the Gentiles (non Jews), who previously were considered unworthy of any attention. (Acts 10-28)

·      *  Paul is converted and commissioned by Jesus in heaven to reach out to these Gentiles.

·        * New challenges arise and the Acts 15 conference gives the basis for new terms for serving God.

·       *  Paul writes many letters which were circulated for the teaching of those mixed Jewish/Gentile congregations. He explains with great clarity the new Gospel of Jesus Christ dying for our sins and rising again for our justification (Romans ++)

The later books of the New Testament give graphic descriptions of humans , religious and otherwise, rebelling against God.  Note : the Bible does not edit out the failure records to make Christianity a 'Best seller', but tells it as it is!

The Apostles who had seen and heard the Lord Jesus gave corrective teaching along with hope for the future (Peter, James, John).

The letter to the Hebrews is quite unique :- An outstanding presentation of Jesus Christ as connected to the Old Testament. Thus the whole Bible is bound together with one focus – Jesus Christ our glorious Lord.

The final Revelation presents the hope of final victory by Jesus Christ as King of Kings and Lord of lords.  Most of it is yet future, when He will be seen as the Lamb upon His throne .

The good news of the new testament is that all people everywhere now have the opportunity to connect with God through Jesus Christ the Lord.

Enjoy reading this book of books.

John McKee

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