Jesus the Rescuer
Our own mortality reveals something that every person must address (Rom. 3:23, Rom. 5:12, Heb. 9:27). We are limited. The things we employ to give us any sense of security, identity and love are limited as well. On our own we cannot overcome the guilt, suffering and longing we face. Into this hopelessness Jesus Christ speaks simple words of hope:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27–28)
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life.” (John 5:24)
Jesus sees the source of every person’s limitations and knows that only his life, death and resurrection are sufficient to address it.
Jesus the Finisher
Fully God, fully man (Col. 1:19, Heb. 1:1-3, Heb. 2:17-18) and wholly innocent (Heb. 2:14), Jesus overcomes the separation created by our rebellion, namely, the broken relationship between the one and only God and every person (Rom. 5:1, Rom. 6:33). Jesus substituted his life and absorbed the punishment we deserved. His resurrection acts as the exclamation point on his final words from the cross – “It is finished!” (Col. 1:15-20)
For those who trust in Christ, the final debt has been paid and death itself has been defeated (2 Cor. 5:21, Heb. 2:14-15). Christ’s followers are transformed from anxious takers to joyful givers (Luke 7:47, Rom. 13:8-11, 2 Cor. 5:14, 1 John 4:19). Jesus’ disciples find their life in knowing him and treasuring his greatness (John 17:3) and, someday, they will find fullness of joy face to face with Him (Ps. 16:11, 1 Peter 1:3-4).
Jesus the Constant Thread
Jesus spoke the world into existence with his Father (Gen. 1:26; Col. 1:16-17), and everything was good. All of creation was in right standing before its Creator. Eden was good and beautiful. Obviously, we know that things are broken now. There is suffering, evil and confusion in the world. We feel a sense of exile, and we wonder who will make things right.
Throughout the Bible, a coming hero was continually being revealed. God’s people knew someone was coming to restore the rebellious and fallen condition of the human heart and the physical creation. Throughout human history, there runs a thread of redemptive hope that comes to a head in Jesus Christ.
And when Jesus appeared in human flesh nearly 2000 years ago, dying on a cross and rising from the dead, he proved himself a divine superhero capable of destroying the greatest foe imaginable: death through sin. By believing in his life, death and resurrection, we gain right standing before God; we can return to Eden in a relational sense, and one day, in a literal sense (Rev. 21:5).
The Totality of the Gospel
The good news of Christ’s life, death and resurrection speak to our entire human experience. His perfect love does amazing things. Through our salvation in him, we receive the Holy Spirit, and he begins an other-worldly work in us by:
- Eliminating our guilt (Rom. 3:23-25; Heb. 13:5, 1 John 3:1)
- Providing purpose and meaning in our lives (John 15:13; 1 Peter 2:21-24)
- Renewing our identity (Eph. 2:19-22; 2 Cor. 5:17, 20; John 1:12, 15:15)
- Casting out fear (John 10:27-29; 1 Cor. 15:55-56
- Promising eternal joy (Rev. 1:17-18, Rev. 21:4; 1 Peter 1:3-4; Job 19:25-27; Ps. 16:11)