“And ye shall know the truth…” John 8:32
Jesus: Signs and Wonders
God created the heaven and the earth in the beginning. Today the heavens symbolize God’s greatness and the stars reflect his majesty. God created man and woman; forming man from the dust of the ground and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life. Man and woman lived in harmony with God. God was pleased with his work. Then one day Satan tempted the woman to eat of the forbidden fruit. Man did eat also. So God in his perfection, a just God, had to punish mankind for this disobedience. Mankind was banished from the garden and stripped of everlasting life. But because of the love God has for mankind He gave a promise of redemption for mankind in his holy word.
One of the first to see the plan of God’s redemption unfold, as written in His holy word, was Abraham. Abraham was a righteous man; and was promised his descendants would be as numerous as the sands of the sea. Testing Abraham’s obedience; God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son as a gesture of obedience and loyalty. To make this gesture more clear it must be taken into consideration that during this time a popular pagan ritual was the sacrificing of first born boys to the gods. It is not stated clearly anywhere that I know of which cult Abraham belonged to before following the one true God. However one could assume it was apparent to Abraham that such a request could conceivable come from a godhead. This may explain why there is no evidence that Abraham questioned God’s command to him. As it was as Abraham raised his knife to fulfill his command when an angel stopped him; appearing to Abraham announcing his fear and love was recognized and that God was pleased with his display of loyalty and obedience. Abraham was told he should not hurt his son. Looking about in blessed praise God showed Abraham what to use in place of his son as an offering; Abraham saw a ram caught by the horns in a bush. Abraham used the ram as a sacrifice of loyalty. Scripture spoke of a ransom for the sins of man and the ram had become that representation for Abraham.
Prophets predicted many signs regarding the messiah who was to take the place of the ram, hundreds of years before his coming. One such sign was that someone would come to reconcile man back to God once and for all. Prophet Isaiah prophesied his birth would be a miraculous one; born of a virgin and in a spiritual sense would be the son of God. Micah foretold the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. And Zachariah prophesied he would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey; and that he would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver. Isaiah prophesied the good lord would preach the good news to the poor and bind up broken hearts; proclaim freedom for the captives; and teaching the time had come when God would save his people. Some thought the prophet Jesus was this messiah. Was Jesus that messiah? Was Jesus more than just a prophet? Let’s take a glimpse into the life of Jesus according to the scriptures.
When Cesar Augustus was emperor and Herod the great was governor an angel appeared to Mary, a virgin, giving her the news that she was to bear a son who would be the son of God; and that she should name him Emmanuel (Jesus). Mary then visited her cousin Elizabeth who was the mother of John the Baptist, and the wife of Zechariah the priest; and a descendant of Aaron. Elizabeth had been barren for many years, but by a miracle of God she conceived a child who would be the forerunner of the Messiah. John the Baptist.
As Mary neared the time when her child was to be born it was decreed that all citizens must register their families in their hometowns. Being that it was near Passover Joseph could not find a room in Bethlehem at an inn. All that was available was a space in a town barn. Mary gave birth to a son.
In the area where Mary’s son was born there were shepherds and an angel appeared to them telling them a savior for them had been born in Bethlehem. The shepherds hurried to see this savior and to worship him. A week later when the baby was to be circumcised he was given the name Jesus. When they left Bethlehem they went to Nazareth where they stayed until we next learn of Jesus being twelve years old.
To be continued…