Sermon series: Jesus' Life and Ministry
Connection to unit theme
The identity, the witness, the purpose, and the way of the King have come. Jesus is the King that has stepped into human history to turn the world right-side up. Many people may understand that He came to the earth as the King, but do they understand that He was prophesied to come since the very beginning? He is the great mystery that God revealed.
Think of the storyline of a favorite movie or book that has a twist at the end. The next time you see or read that story, everything is different knowing the catch ahead of time. Relate that story passionately to your people. Tell them how you felt when the twist was revealed and what it was like to go back through the story knowing the truth. Would the storyline have been nearly as enjoyable without the hidden twist coming at the end? Of course not! There is a reason why we respond to stories like that.
God did something similar with the Old Testament storyline. He created and sovereignly directed a remarkable story that contained a veiled, key bit of information. Every plot, character, and event of His story, points God's people in some way to the coming incarnation of His Son, Jesus. We discover the twist in the New Testament, which helps make sense of the whole Old Testament's story. Let's look deeper at how the twist is unveiled.
I. The Old Testament is God's great mystery concealed (Gen. 1)
In churches today, we love to teach, preach, and debate creation. We often teach on what God created, preach how God created, and debate when God created. The question we must answer, then, is "Why?" The reason God created the universe is far more important than how or when. When we understand why, we will understand the other questions regarding creation even better.
When reading all of Genesis 1, one phrase you will find repeated is, "And God said..." God reminds us nine times in this chapter that He didn't blink, nod, or merely think creation into existence. Rather, God spoke His creation into existence. This is a huge truth to understand! Note also that we see God the Father speaking specifically, and we find God the Spirit (verse 2). But where is God the Son in this passage? Here is where it all comes together. God the Son is very present in this picture of creation, but He is God's mystery concealed for centuries.
Application: Do you get caught up in arguments, debates, and conversations that aren't essential to the gospel? The church today has turned off many unbelievers, skeptics, and atheists because we focus on matters that may be truthful but are not as important as essential gospel elements. Are Jesus, His life, death, resurrection, and lordship your ultimate agenda when in discussion with others? Or, do you tend to focus on other matters merely to win a debate?
II. The New Testament is God's great mystery revealed (John 1:1-3)
In the New Testament, God reveals His great mystery. It looks as if the apostle John opens his Old Testament scroll and writes with great excitement to reveal this secret to the churches. After all, God didn't just reveal this secret to John - He showed it to him. John reflects the wording of Genesis 1:1 when he writes, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God" (John 1:1). Why did God speak everything into existence? He did so because He wanted to create everything through His Word. The Word is Jesus (John 1:14). God made everything through His Word and for His Word (John 1:3).
God's great mystery concealed for thousands of years is now proclaimed publicly, written down for all to know. God created the universe through and for Jesus. Everything in the Old Testament points to Jesus, because God planned that Jesus would receive the glory as all things find their fulfillment in Him. Jesus is not merely the reason God created, nor is He merely the means by which He created. Jesus is in every way the God who created, who was fully present in the creation of the world the Father designed for Him!
God's creation of the world through and for Jesus found its ultimate purpose in Jesus' sacrifice for "the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). Jesus loved the world His Father created for Him to the extent that He stepped into this world to rescue us from sin (John 3:16). Jesus lived like one of us, His human creatures. He dwelt among us like God dwelt among His people in the Old Testament. Because everything was created for Him, Jesus was the appropriate sacrifice to die for the curse of sin that enveloped creation. He then rose from the dead so that the world might be saved through Him (John 3:17). We now await Jesus' return to reign over His new creation (Revelation 21:1-2).
Application: Do you live your life as one created specially for Jesus? Think about your agenda, your goals, your plans, your calendar, and your motives. Can you honestly say that you thrive on living for His glory and not your own? None of us do that perfectly! God has been gracious to us by sending Jesus to die for our sins of self-centeredness. God gives every Christian the opportunity to repent of that continual sin and grow in faith, recognizing Jesus' lordship and living for His glory. Consider areas of your life that you must submit to Jesus' fame and not your own. If you are not yet a believer, today is the day of salvation. Repent of your sins because Jesus died for them. Trust in Jesus because He rose from the dead and is the living Lord. Submit your life to Him!
God's concealed mystery may have been newly revealed to you today, or you may have come to a more clear understanding of it. Begin reading your Bible, especially the Old Testament, with the Jesus-secret uncovered.