Signs of New Life

KEY VERSE: “We have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world.” —John 4:42

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 4:39-42, 46-54

THROUGHOUT the long ages following father Adam’s fall and condemnation, his progeny suffered the wages of sin, and went down into the grave. But even before the foundation of the earth Jehovah God had purposed man’s escape from death through a ransom price to be paid by a redeemer, whose oft-promised advent kept alive in the heart of man the hope of life. Indeed, from the very beginning God had said to Satan, “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” (Gen. 3:1-15) Vague though it was at the time we know from subsequent events that this seed of the woman pictured Jesus, who would give himself a ransom for all. (I Tim. 2:5,6) Later, Abraham’s faith in the promises and power of God was severely tested when the Lord told him to offer his dearly beloved son for a burnt offering. Although the angel of the Lord, under God’s instructions, stayed the hand of Abraham from slaying his son, Jehovah thereby supplied his people with another precious insight into his plan to redeem mankind by picturing the offering of his only begotten Son for the sins of the world. At the time of this same incident God promised Abraham that in his seed all the families of the earth would be blessed, and the Apostle Paul confirms that this foretold seed was our Lord Jesus. (Gen. 22:1-18; Gal. 3:16) A further hopeful preview of God’s loving purposes is found in the animal sacrifices offered for sin on the typical Day of Atonement by the nation of Israel.—Lev. 16:1-34

Many of God’s holy prophets also foretold the coming of the world’s Savior. Job voiced confidence that his Redeemer lived. (Job 19:25) Isaiah wrote of the Redeemer that would come to Zion, and of him upon whom would be laid the iniquity of us all, and by whose stripes we would be healed. (Isa. 59:20; 53:1-6) Daniel gave a prophecy so explicit in detail that just prior to Jesus’ entering upon his ministry “the people were on the tiptoe of expectation [Hebrew, suspense], all wondering about John, whether perhaps he was the [promised] Messiah.”—Luke 3:15, NEB

Many and convincing are the Old Testament prophecies that were literally fulfilled at our Lord’s first advent. As foretold, he was born in Bethlehem (Mic. 5:2; Luke 2:4,5,7); of a virgin (Isa. 7:14; Luke 1:26-31); his parents fled to Egypt with the young child (Hos. 11:1; Matt. 2:14,15); he was announced by a forerunner (Mal. 3:1; Luke 7:24,27); he ministered in Galilee (Isa. 9:1,2; Matt. 4:13-16); he was a prophet (Deut. 18:15; Acts 3:20,22); he preached to the poor and humble (Isa. 61:1, 2; Luke 4:18,19); he was rejected by his own people (Isa. 53:3; John 1:11); he entered Jerusalem riding upon an ass (Zech. 9:9; Mark 11:7-11); he was betrayed by a friend (Ps. 41:9; Luke 22:47,48); he was sold for thirty pieces of silver (Zech. 11:12; Matt. 26:15); he was spat upon and smitten (Isa. 50:6; Matt. 26:27); he was numbered with the transgressors (Isa. 53:12; Mark 15:27,28); he was looked upon by those who pierced him.—Zech. 12:10; John 19:37

Surely, after all those endless centuries that saw no relief from suffering and death, it was of utmost importance that the advent and identity of the Messiah should be established beyond the shadow of a doubt! And by the Lord’s abounding grace so, indeed, it has been! It is interesting and somewhat sad to note that when he was thrown into prison even John the Baptist, Jesus’ faithful and humble messenger, began to doubt—perhaps wondering why the Messiah would permit him to be cast into a dungeon. John sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus, “Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?” Jesus said, “Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: the blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the Gospel preached to them.”—Matt. 11:2-5

So also with the many other miracles that Jesus wrought. They were signs graciously provided by our Heavenly Father to prove our Lord’s messiahship, so that we might know, and believe, and gain life. How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in his excellent Word!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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