Why is hearing the story of Jesus important? We are becoming more aware than ever that our world is becoming increasingly divided, chaotic and corrupted. Many people are worried, fearful, and stressed over hearing and seeing events in our world that are being reported by the news media. We need to know the story of Jesus because he is the only guaranteed person who can bring about personal peace and a peaceful world. Hearing the story of Jesus not only gives us hope for the future, it shows us how we can overcome our own life’s uncertainties, and become an encouragement and helper to others. Let me share a very brief version of the story of Jesus.Jesus, was with God and was God. He existed before our world was created. We can speak of Jesus as our Creator because all things came into being through him. Everything God created was good, for God is good and there is no evil in him. God created the earth to be the home for humankind. As a perfect environment for our well-being, the earth is full of many hidden and marvelous things for humans to discover and use and enjoy. God created humans in his image, meaning that, as humans, we are meant to display in our thoughts and behaviors the qualities of what God is like, including his love and freedom of will to make choices. In the beginning humans often met with their Creator and they enjoyed a close relationship. But such a relationship was not to last.
God’s good world fell into evil and ruin. God knew there was such a thing as evil. Evil had the potential to become real in human experience, and if such a thing was permitted to enter the world, all that God made as good would become corrupted and perish. God must have thought the choice between good and evil was a necessary thing for human beings with free will to have, so he presented them with a choice, and at the same time warned them that choosing evil would mean the loss of God’s kind of life – a holy life, a good life, a life not resulting in death. Although everything God created was originally good, knowing that his creation would fall into the grip and consequences of evil, the eternal triune being of God decided within himself that Jesus would be sent into the world to save his creation from corruption, restoring all things to the harmony and goodness intended from the beginning.
As Jesus’ story unfolds, in spite of human failure to trust God’s warning about evil, we learn of God’s promise that a person would come into the world who would destroy the one responsible for humanity’s fall. Jesus would come to destroy the works of the devil and to offer grace and mercy to those who fell into the devil’s temptations. As it turns out, this destroyer of the devil and provider for life-restoring forgiveness would be Jesus. As the history of the world continued, the battle between good and evil raged on. In many ways God has continually revealed to every generation the good news about His coming savior.
Where can this good news story of Jesus be learned in its full telling? God has written two books. One is nature, and the other is known as the Holy Bible. The Bible contains a single, thousands of years long story, from the first book of Genesis to the last book of Revelation. Each part of the story is about real people and how they are engaged in the struggle between good and evil. If you read and hear this story of Jesus, you will be able to see where you fit into it. We are all a part of the story and will continue to be a part, for good or ill. When he finally did come, God’s people, under the rule of the oppressive governing authority of Rome, had the general belief that their promised savior would be a mighty king who would defeat the Romans and create a kingdom of peace. But when Jesus was put to death on a Roman cross, many concluded he must not be their savior after all.
Since that time, the story of Jesus has continued. He organized a body of followers who were entrusted with continuing his good works on earth, including sharing the message of who he is. He is God’s Son, and after he was raised from the dead he ascended back into his heavenly realm. He left his followers with the promise that he would come to earth again, this time, not as a suffering servant, but as a glorious Lord of lords to rule as king over the earth, re-creating a world of goodness and peace with all evil being banned.
Throughout history, evil influences have tried to prevent God’s plan and promised savior from coming, but God has been faithful to protect his plan, not allowing the coming of Jesus as savior to be thwarted. God continues to make himself known to people living in each historical era, offering them the choice between good and evil, between life and death, telling them to trust his words and his promise of a savior. Jesus came once, and now people need to trust God’s message about this savior who is coming again to finalize God’s plan to restore all things (Acts 3:19-21).
I leave you with five basic statements that tell God’s story of Jesus: (1) God created the world and everything in it. All was good. (2) Although God’s goodness can still be seen, God’s good world has fallen into evil and ruin. (3) The key to a restored world is God’s promised savior, Jesus. (4) In cooperation with God’s people of faith, and even in spite of the evil intents of people, God faithfully works His plan to restore His world to goodness. (5) Through Christ Jesus, God creates a new human race and an evil-free world of everlasting peace. Personally, as one still living on this earth, I realize that my story is still being written. I have to ask myself two questions. What is my part in the story? What do I tell people is my hope for a peace-filled life and world? Your story is being written too. How do you answer those two questions?