When it comes to where we will spend eternity, God doesn’t want us to gamble. Therefore, Jesus banished all doubt by fulfilling a mission predicted by Hebrew prophets hundreds of years before his miraculous birth in Bethlehem.
“Gambling is the surest way of getting nothing for something,” wrote Wilson Mizner.
By bringing us into this world, God gives us something. If we’re not careful to consider Jesus’ mission, we can leave this world like a foolish gambler with nothing.
“We know Jesus came from Heaven because of all the prophecies,” says Iva, 11. “People said in the Old Testament that God would send his Son who would rise from the dead, and Jesus matched all the prophecies. Jesus completed his mission by dying for us and saving us from our sins.”
There are more than 60 distinct prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the messiah. Professor Peter Stoner of Westmont College calculated the odds at 1017 to 1 of one man fulfilling only eight messianic prophecies. That’s one chance in 100 quadrillion! It would be like giving a blind-folded person one try to find one marked silver dollar in a two-foot sea of silver dollars covering the entire State of Texas.
“Only Jesus has prophecies made hundreds of years in advance made literally true,” said Dr. Norman Geisler, Bible scholar and author of more than 50 books.
“The Bible records the most important events in the universe, including Jesus dying on the cross,” says Sophia, 9. “That was his mission.”
I’m constantly amazed at the blank faces I see when I ask people what Jesus meant when he said, “It is finished,” as he died on the cross. When I encounter that blank stare, I ask, “What was his mission?” Sometimes, but too rarely, I hear, “He died for our sins.”
At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, he attended a wedding feast with his disciples. When his mother told him they had run out of wine, Jesus said, “My hour has not yet come” (John 2:4). Jesus knew that if he turned the water into wine publicly, it would accelerate his mission, which was his death to pay for our sins. Therefore, he performed the miracle privately.
Years later, after Jesus rode triumphantly on a donkey into Jerusalem, he said, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified,” (John 12:23).
Now, Jesus performed miracles publicly. A few days before riding into Jerusalem, he raised Lazarus from the dead. There was nothing private about this miracle. Jesus looked to heaven and then shouted in front of a crowd, “Lazarus, come forth!” (John 11:43). Once again, Jesus will call forth the dead when he returns for all who have accepted the gift of eternal life by believing in him (I Thessalonians 4:16).
We pride ourselves on living independently. Jesus lived dependently. To live by his Father’s plan, he listened to his voice. Often before a major decision, Jesus withdrew from his disciples to pray. Before choosing his 12 disciples, Jesus slipped away to a mountain for an all-nighter in prayer (Luke 6:12).
Think about this: Jesus lived dependently by hearing the voice of his Father.
Memorize this truth: “But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31).
Ask this question: Are you living by God’s mission for your life or by what seems good to you?
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Bible quotations are from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.
COPYRIGHT 2006 CAREY KINSOLVING