At the Right Time - Jesus Christ
We begin in the garden where God establishes a relationship with his creation in such a way that we know that God is the first evangelist, wanting to be reconciled to a fallen creation. It didn’t take us long to sin. Sin cannot bear the light, so God withdraws behind the veil, so that we can be in fellowship with God and not be overwhelmed by his holiness.
By the way, spirituality since the fall has periodically been caught, its nose pressed against the glass darkly, trying to catch a glimpse of who created life. That’s what the transfiguration was all about. They wanted to build tabernacles on the mountain. I don’t blame them, because suddenly they had a straight shot into the eternal. Heaven is not up and down. That went out with Copernicus. Heaven is simply a question of dimension.
There is far more reality in the room where you and I are now sitting, beyond the senses and within the senses. I’m not talking about radio waves here. I’m talking about spiritual reality, all the heavenly hosts within our grasp, even as we speak. So then, evangelism begins in the garden, God taking the initiative, pursuing fallen humankind. Then [we have] the covenant with Abraham, even though there was a religion in place for a thousand years before Judaism, before Abraham. Abraham had evolved to the place where he could understand the concept of one God, and God makes himself known and cuts a covenant. Imagine!
But it didn’t take long for the covenant sacrifice to renew the covenant. God realized there would be a constant need for renewal of covenant; but sacrifice no longer read the heart, it became simply just perfunctory a religion. So God says, “I’m up to here with your sacrifice. I’m going to give you a new covenant," which is outlined in Jeremiah 31:31-34. All of salvation history pivots on those four verses, where God promises a new covenant with sin; not only covered over, [but] propitiated. Propitiated is like sweeping sin under the rug, covered over, but also rooted out. Expiated is a holy word in the New Testament. Sin is expiated, it’s root is expiated, rooted out by virtue of what God has done in Jesus Christ.
Jesus began his ministry, was probably born around 4 BC, died probably somewhere, give or take, 29 AD or so. He began his ministry after his baptism. He was baptized in the River Jordan by John the Baptist. Immediately he was driven into the wilderness, to be tempted by the devil. He took a sword with him. What was the sword? The Book of Deuteronomy. Sharper than any two-edged sword, the Word of God. He took a sword with him, the Book of Deuteronomy and skewered the devil at every point of temptation.
Then after the temptation, he is ready for ministry. He goes into Galilee. He begins his ministry by quoting what? There are over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament that speak of the Messiah, and he begins with this prophecy: Isaiah 61:1 says, “The Spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and to release from darkness those in prison, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn and to provide for those who grieve in Zion.” That’s a great place to begin his ministry: a healing ministry.