Those even remotely familiar with the Christian’s message could probably state without giving it much thought that Jesus came to die so that those who believe in Him can go to heaven one day And, that would be true.
But there is so much more.
If that was the only reason, why then didn’t Jesus merely appear on Earth, die, rise from the dead, and then ascend, having accomplished everything? To the contrary, He spent a little more than three years among the people. To do what? To reveal God, the nature of God and the kingdom of God.
The Bible says “God is love” (1 John 4:8). His nature is to create, not destroy; to save, not condemn; to heal, not kill. Destruction, condemnation and death are all works of the devil (see John 10:10). God sent His Son, Jesus, to “destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8, NKJV).
In John 11, Jesus is faced with the death of His good friend, Lazarus. After hearing the news, Jesus waited a few days and then went to look into the situation. Many people today would simply say how nice it would have been for Jesus to simply attend His friend’s funeral. But that was not what Jesus had in mind.
Jesus knew this had happened so that He could reveal God, the nature of God and the Kingdom of God. He told one of Lazarus’s sisters, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26, NKJV). We know that at some point we will all pass from this earth, but these verses give us a present and future application.
Being pressed again about not being there when their brother passed, Jesus said, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:40, NKJV). Jesus intended for them to see the glory of God right then, not just in the future. Jesus desired to reveal to them that God cares about their hurts and trials in the here and now, not just when we all get to heaven. The result was Lazarus was raised from the dead.
When I was 11 and sitting in a church service, an elderly man suddenly slumped over in the pew and died. People from all over the sanctuary gathered around him. The ambulance was called, but for the next 30 minutes, people prayed fervently. They knew that if they would only believe, they would see the glory of God. Just as the ambulance arrived, the man sat up, stood up and walked out of the sanctuary in his own strength.
The Bible says, “the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 10:7). It was not merely to wait for a future day. I believe it was so that we could fulfill the great commission as Jesus was teaching us to do. “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8, NKJV).
Like Jesus, now it is our calling to reveal God, the nature of God and the kingdom of God. More next week.
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Rob Granger is Senior Pastor of Faith Harbor Church, a non-denominational church that meets at 10 a.m. Sundays in the Escondido Columbus Hall, 515 W. Valley Parkway. His wife, Becky, serves as Co-Pastor. Videos of Pastor Rob’s sermons can be seen on YouTube by typing faith harbor church escondido ca in the YouTube search box. Visit fhcescondido.com for information about Faith Harbor Church.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Times-Advocate.