Subject: This Easter Season: Jesus Christ, Part 2 – The Gospel is a Historical Fact
Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone each to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the sins of us all.’”
This Sunday is Easter. It was nearly 1,986 years ago that Jesus Christ was crucified and then resurrected. We know this because in chapter 12 of the Gospel according to John, Jesus actually entered Jerusalem on Sunday, April 6, 32AD. But what is the “Gospel”? We hear that word often in church and on Christian radio. It’s not that God has a wonderful plan for your life, or God loves you so much that He wants you in heaven. The gospel is that God the Father placed our sin that separate us from Him onto His Son, condemning Him to death in our place. And if we trust in His Son’s death for us on the Cross, we can be forgiven for our sin.
This is what Jesus told everyone in Jerusalem in 32AD: “The Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). And later, in in 60AD, when the apostle Paul was teaching the church at Corinth about the gospel, he explained it’s essence in one verse: “He (God the Father) made Him (God the Son) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2Corinthians 5:21). Did the gospel originate from Christ’s teaching?
Actually, Paul explained to the church in Galatia around 55AD that God had preached the gospel way back around 1300BC to Abraham: “The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying ‘In you all the nations shall be blessed.’” (Galatians 3:8). How did Abraham have the gospel preached to him? By sacrificing unblemished animals to God, as payment for his sins, in an act of trusting in God and His promises, as Paul also explained to the church in Rome in 56AD: “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” (Romans 4:3).
King David, Israel’s most famous king, also shared the gospel in 1100BC in the Psalms when he said “Blessed is the man whose sin is forgiven…” (Psalm 32:1-2). How does David explain that anyone’s sin can be forgiven? In Psalm 2 he explains that it is only by trusting in His Son: “The Lord has said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You… Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are those who put their trust in Him.” (Psalm 2:7,12). And what does David predict that God’s only begotten Son will accomplish that will provide our means for being forgiven for our sin and be declared righteous by His Father? David predicts the future death of God’s Son on the Cross: “God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Dogs have surrounded Me; the assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet.” (Psalm 22:1,16). This is an incredible statement, since death by crucifixion had not been invented when David wrote this.
But the very first inclination we get of the future crucifixion of God’s only Son occurs in the third chapter of the very first book of the Bible. In Genesis 3:15, written around 1450 BC, God the Father pronounces judgment on Satan in the Garden of Eden: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed (small “s”) and her Seed (capital “S”). He shall crush your head, and you shall crush His heel.” First of all, women don’t have the seed – men do. This is a prophecy of the Virgin Birth. Paul brings this truth full circle in Galatians 3:16 when he tells us “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say ‘And to seeds’, as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ.”
Secondly, crushing one’s head means a mortal wound. This was God’s pronouncement that there will be Someone to come who, born without a natural father, will be Satan’s destruction. But Satan will be able to “crush His heel”. This is the crucifixion. This Person will be nailed to the cross. Here we see the Gospel.
And finally one more example from the book of Daniel, written around 550BC when Babylon took the southern kingdom of Judah into captivity. In Daniel 9:26 comes the incredible prophecy that makes it without question that God’s Messiah is Jesus Christ: “After 62 weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself, and the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.” Who in history claimed to be Messiah, was put to death (“cut off”), BEFORE the destruction of the Temple, which happened in 70AD? Only one person fulfills this: Jesus Christ. Again, the historical Gospel.
Let’s tie this all together. From 1450BC to 1300BC in Genesis, to 1100BC in Psalms, to our verse of the week in Isaiah (written in 730BC), to 550BC in Daniel, to 32AD with Christ, to 55AD with Paul, we have historical accounts of the Gospel. We celebrate this historical fact – what Jesus Christ accomplished to secure your opportunity to have eternal life by paying your sin debt – tomorrow in church. Don’t miss it.
Ed Croteau is a resident of Lee’s Summit and hosts a weekly study in Lees Summit called “Faith: Substance and Evidence.” He can be reached with your questions through the Lee’s Summit Tribune at Editor@lstribune.net.