A person will not be exposed to the message of the Bible unless that person sees the whole of the Bible as a single unit.† For a number of reasons, including study with the objective of acquiring knowledge of periods, modern studiers of Bible scripture tend to divide scripture into segments or compartments.† The result is that people tend to see only the objective of the Bible in terms of the periods they have studied.† If we are not careful, we wind up with a jumbled mess in which there is no connection between the sections OR some sections are considered so unimportant that those sections are not worthy of consideration.
That was not the situation when Christianity spread in the first century.† The scripture (especially among Jewish converts) was what we, today, would refer to as the Old Testament.† The events of the Old Testament were understood to be (a) the rich soil that gave meaning to what God did in Jesus Christ, (b) the verification that Jesus was made the Christ because of Godís work, and (c) the evidence that Jesus Christ should be recognized as Lord because he is the fulfillment of Godís purposes and intent.† In your studies of what we know as the New Testament, have you noticed how often an Old Testament reference was used by a writer to prove the validity of a Christian concept?† Remember, God worked through Abraham to produce Israel; He worked through Moses to teach and to lead Israel; He worked through Israel to give the world Jesus; He worked through Jesus to produce the Christ; He worked through the Christ to give the world salvation.
What is the unifying theme of the Bible?† That theme is that God by plan and intent sent Jesus to be the Christ.† The alienation that was created by early sin was reversed in the reconciliation and redemption that God made possible in the life, death, resurrection, and enthronement of the Lord Jesus Christ.† The persistent God did that in spite of the failures of people, the sins of Israel, the rejection of Jesus by Godís chosen people, and the misplaced focus of humanity.
God was determined to reclaim His creation and in the process give humanity a Savior.† By that Savior He offers people (a) reconciliation and (b) redemption.† Those two conditions are not a choice for those in Christóthe redeemed are reconciled to God.† Both occur through the acts of God in Jesus.† The foundation of both is Godís grace and mercy, not human goodness.† (This is not a rejection of the importance of obedience.† It declares obedience to be a loving response to Godís love for us.† Obedience is a response to Godís goodness, not confidence in our own human goodness.)
Without Jesus, there is no reconciliation, no redemption.† Without Jesus, there is no cleansing from sin.† Without Jesus, there is no access to God.†† Without Jesus, there is no hope.† Without Jesus, human acts are powerless.† Jesus links together all that God intended and all that God does (consider Philippians 2:5-11).† Jesus did what God intended and what we could not do for ourselves.† Jesus was not an accident or a fortunate circumstance!† Jesus was the plan and intent of God!† In this intent God refused to abandon His plan in spite of human failures!† We have nothing to brag about, but everything to praise God for!† We claim salvation through recognition of what God did by responding to our needs through Jesus Christ!
The Bible declares it is not possible for us to exaggerate what God did through Jesus!† The Christian never loses awareness of the truth that we are reconciled to God because of what God did in Jesusí death and resurrection!
In the book of Hebrews, Jesus is presented as Godís intent, Godís plan.† Jesus is declared to be  Godís spokesman (1:2);  superior to angels (1:4);  the universal Savior (2:9);  the author of human salvation (2:10);  the deliverer (2:15);  the Christianís trustworthy and merciful high priest (2:17);  Godís aid to the tempted (2:18);  bigger than Moses (3:3);  the access to Godís rest (4);  a high priest like Melchizedek (5);  superior to Abraham (7);  the perfect high priest (7:26-28);  the mediator of a superior covenant (8:6);  the access to God (9:24-28);  the perfect access to God (10);  the changeless one (13:8); and  the great Shepherd (13:20).† The book of Hebrews declared that God met every human spiritual needófrom the spiritually weakest to the most advanced spiritual person who exists.† No human can ďout needĒ what God has provided for us in Jesus Christ.
No matter how difficult your situation or how bad your circumstances, Jesus is still there.† Because he is there, there is nothing you can experience that God cannot understand.† If you are weak, God understands.† If you are tempted, God understands.† If you spiritually fail and repent, God understands.† Not only does God understand, He is delighted to make you a part of His family.† You have no reason to be ashamed of Him, for He is not ashamed to have you as a part of His family.† It always will be a matter of faith in Him because of Jesus, never a matter of physical circumstances.
FOR THOUGHT AND DISCUSSION
1. To see the message of the Bible, a person needs to do what?
2. What were the scriptures of the earliest Christian converts?
3.† What we know as the Old Testament was understood to be what three things?
4. What are you encouraged to note in what we call the New Testament?
5. What was the unifying theme of the Bible?
6. How were reconciliation to God and our redemption made possible?
7. What two things was God determined to do?
8. The foundation of reconciliation and redemption is what, NOT what?
9. Without Jesus, what four (or five) things could not exist?
10. Jesus links together what?
11. We have nothing to brag about, but everything to what?
12. The Bible declares it is not possible to do what?
13. List seventeen things the book of Hebrews states Jesus is.
14. List three things God understands.† He is delighted to make you what?
15. It is always a matter of what, not what?
Link to Teacher's Guide Lesson 13
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