Today we are finishing our study in the book of Acts.
By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Disciples, Paul the Apostle, and other believers spread the message of the Gospel to as much of the world as they could. This Gospel is the good news that the long-promised Messiah, who is both God and man, has come and died and has risen victorious. Hopefully, the Holy Spirit will empower us to continue spreading this good news of Jesus Christ.
In a couple weeks, we will begin the book of beginnings—Genesis. We’ll see how God’s plan of salvation begins to unfold. The entire Bible teaches God’s plan of salvation.
If you heard someone say, “Someone is coming,” would you respond with excitement or fear? Adam and Eve were afraid because they knew they had sinned, so they hid in the garden. Of course they couldn’t hide long from God, who then pronounced the consequences of their disobedience. By their disobedience, they had sold out to Satan.
Yet God, desiring to redeem them, gave his first promise—the first part of a red thread of redemption that stretches throughout the Bible. He said someone would come from the seed of the woman who would defeat the evil one, (Gen. 3:15). This someone would be the Messiah.
I like to think of God’s plan of salvation as a huge picture puzzle with hundreds of years of puzzle pieces and a red thread running through it all. From Adam and Eve to Noah, to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the Kings, the prophets, God continues the thread of this picture puzzle to teach his people, piece by piece, about the coming Messiah and his plan of salvation. Along the way, he uses examples to foreshadow the Messiah:
Noah was a type of Christ in that he was the “only truly righteous man living on the earth at that time,” and God chose to save a remnant through his obedience in doing what God had called him to do.
Isaac was a type of Christ when he was laid on the altar of sacrifice.
There are many others. The Passover Lamb foreshadowed that just as the Israelites escaped death by the blood of the lamb smeared in obedience on the doorposts of their homes, so also we can escape spiritual death by trusting in the blood of Jesus Christ, shed for us. The Israelites were rescued out of slavery. Jesus rescued us out of slavery to sin, so God could adopt us as his very own children. (Galatians 4:3-7).
Moses said God would send another prophet like himself (Deut.18:17-19). It’s amazing how many similarities there are between Moses and Jesus. I found at least ten besides the fact that they both led people out of slavery to freedom.
Object lessons fill in parts of the puzzle picture, too, such as:
The rock in the wilderness gave out fresh water for the people to drink, (Ex.17:6 and Nu.20:8). Later, in the New Testament, Jesus Christ is called the Rock, (see Deut. 32:3-4, Romans 9:33, and I Cor.10:4): Jesus is also the living water, (Jn.4:10, 7:38,).
The bronze snake was lifted up in the wilderness with the promise that whoever looked at it in faith would be healed of poisonous snake bites (Numbers 21:9). Jesus said, “Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life. (John 3:14-15, NIV).
Leviticus tells that life is in the blood—without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins, Lev.17:11. Jesus shed his blood so we can be forgiven. Matt.26:28, Eph.1:7, 1 Pet.1:18-19, 1Jn.1:7.
Another puzzle piece is King David. God called him a man after his own heart. Even though he sinned, he sincerely repented and the usual attitude of his heart was love for God and obedience to him. God promised him one of his descendants would reign over God’s kingdom forever, (1Chron.17:14).
After David’s reign, many other prophecies refer to the promised Messiah. He will be a king of peace, justice, righteousness and the Spirit of the Lord will rest on him. (Isaiah 9:7, 11:2)
Isa.7:14, Messiah, born of a virgin, (descended of God in his divinity and of David in his humanity.) He would be “God with us,” (Immanuel).
Isa. 42, 49, 53, He’d be a suffering servant.
Ps.118:22, He’d be rejected, but then would become the capstone (the most important.)
He would not remain in the grave, (Ps.16:10-11).
He will eventually rule over all nations (Ps. 2:8-9) in a reign of peace. Isa. 2:4. He will be excellent and gracious; his throne will last forever (Ps.45:2 and 6). He is called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, (Isa. 9:6).
The promises and prophecies continue throughout scripture. The Israelite nation would fall away from worshiping God; they would be punished by being captured and sent into exile, but God would use that to purify them. Then he would send them back to their own land and eventually the Messiah would be born and live in their midst, suffer, die and then rise victorious.
Jesus the Messiah is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world,” (John.1:29-31). The day is coming when the world system “will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers,” This promise is in Revelation and completes the Red Thread of Redemption. The world system will fall and Jesus will reign forever. Then we who belong to him will be with him in Heaven forever! Hallelujah!
Let us pray: Thank you Father for your wonderful plan of salvation, your red thread of redemption. Thank you for sending your Messiah, Jesus Christ, to reconcile us to yourself. In Jesus name, Amen.