Shattered by Sin
But, we have not loved God supremely or loved our neighbors as ourselves. We have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. We’ve loved and worshiped idols of self, sex, money, power, prestige, and pleasure more than the Creator.
Our problem isn’t merely sinful actions, but sinful hearts:
What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person.
We may have lived respectable and moral lives by human standards, but often this is driven by self-serving motives and tainted with sinful desires. The Scriptures remind us that “Whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.” It only takes one drop of cyanide to poison a glass of water, and just one sin leaves us guilty before a holy God.
We have committed mutiny and treason against the Creator-God. We are dead in transgressions and sins; blinded by Satan, the god of this world; and slaves of our passions and desires. Although man is a mirror made to reflect the radiance of God’s beauty and glory, sin has shattered the mirror.
The Covenent God
But the Creator God is also a Covenant God, One who makes promises and keeps them. Even before man sinned, God had formed a plan of rescue. He revealed his plan to a man named Abraham, and promised that through Abraham, all the peoples of the earth would be blessed. Abraham’s descendants became known as the nation of Israel.
God chose Israel to be his special people. He later made another covenant with King David, promising him a son who would be forever enthroned over God’s people. The story of the Old Testament is the outworking of these two promises: the story of God’s glory returning to earth through His chosen people.
This story climaxes in Jesus, who was descended from David and Abraham. Jesus was born of a virgin in fulfillment of God’s promises. He was the ultimate revelation of God’s glory, the true Image-bearer of God on earth:
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Jesus was God himself in human flesh.
The Crucified and Risen Messiah
For thirty years, Jesus lived a quiet life. Then He burst on the public scene, proclaiming the gospel (good news) of the kingdom, the fulfillment of God’s promises to his people. During his ministry, Jesus gathered followers and demonstrated both compassion and great power through many miracles. He taught with authority, appealing to the common people and raising suspicion among the religious and political leaders. He came with a message of hope, offering forgiveness and rest to those burdened and wearied with sin. He claimed divinity and oneness with God, and modeled a life of perfect love to God and man, always honoring his Father and extending mercy and compassion to broken people.
But his claim to be one with God led to his death. Jesus of Nazareth was sentenced to death by crucifixion—the most degrading and agonizing form of capital punishment at that time. A Roman governor, Pontius Pilate, sanctioned Jesus’s execution. He died outside of Jerusalem around 30 A.D., and was buried in the borrowed tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. His disciples were disillusioned and discouraged, and many of them denied and forsook him during the last hours of his life.
But three days later, mourners discovered that his tomb was empty. Jesus had come back to life and risen from the dead! For forty days, he appeared again and again to his disciples and closest friends, comforting them, commissioning them, and promising them the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. Then he ascended into the heavens, with the promise that one day he would return again.