“From out of David’s descendants God produced a Saviour for Israel, Jesus, exactly as He promised — but only after John had thoroughly alerted the people to His arrival by preparing them for a life-change. As John was finishing up his work, he said, ‘Did you think I was the One? No. I’m not the One. But the One you’ve been waiting for all these years is just around the corner, about to appear. And I’m about to disappear.'” Acts 13:23-25 (The message).

Jesus was no self-proclaimed Messiah, making extravagant but unfounded claims for Himself. His coming was not only prophesied from the beginning (Genesis 3:15) but, in true royal fashion, His arrival was heralded by His forerunner, John, who come in the spirit and power of Elijah.

As a human being, Jesus was a descendant of the royal line of David, rightfully the king of Israel, but more than that, He was the Son of God, coming to reclaim His place as God in the hearts of His people. He was not an intrusion into the lives of people who were already worshiping God. He was the representative of the Father, the face of the One they had never seen, sent from the Father to reveal His true nature and to call them back to pure worship, uncluttered by the rules and ritual that had clouded their understanding of Him.

“‘Dear brothers and sisters, children of Abraham and friends of God, this message of salvation had been precisely targeted to you. The citizens and rulers in Jerusalem didn’t recognise who He was and condemned Him to death. They couldn’t find a good reason, but demanded that Pilate execute Him anyway. They did just what the prophets said they would do, but had no idea they were following to the letter the script of the prophets, even though these same prophets are read every Sabbath in their meeting places.'” Acts 13:26-29 (The Message).

Jesus came both to reveal the Father and to reconcile His people to the Father. The sacrifices which they offered to God were only a visual aid of the true sacrifice that Messiah would become to do away with sin once-for-all and to dispense with everything that stood in the way of their free access to Him.

So who was really responsible for the death of Jesus? The Father who planned it? The Jews who condemned Him to death and handed Him over to Pilate? Herod who played with Him and sent Him back to Pilate? Pilate who passed sentence and handed him over to the soldiers? The soldiers who nailed Him to the cross? Or all of us whose sin demanded the penalty of death which He was willing to pay for us?

Everyone was implicated in the chain of events which Paul declared was God’s way of bringing salvation to the world. And, just to make sure that no one missed the point; God put it in writing through His prophets long before it ever happened. He made sure that all the evidence was in His data base so that anyone who has the will to, can compare the finger prints of Jesus with the finger prints of Messiah on the data base of Scripture and come up with a perfect match!

Only those who have no interest or desire for reconciliation with the Father and the all the blessings and privileges of the sons of God would be foolish enough to ignore God’s offer of a free pardon and reinstatement into His family as His sons and daughters.

Luella Campbell

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