But soon after their rescue from Egypt, the Israelites complained to Moses, saying, “You brought us out into the wilderness to die. We have no water and we have no food.”
Showing great mercy, the Lord responded to their doubt by bringing them water. And He also said, “Watch, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and you shall go out every morning and gather it.” He did, and they called it “manna.”
Soon this nation camped around a mountain in the desert of Sinai. Suddenly, there was thunder and lightning on the mountain, and out of a thick cloud, the sound of a trumpet blew so loud that all the people trembled. Then the Lord, cloaked in fire, descended on the mountain, and the whole mountain shuddered.
The Lord called Moses up to the top of the mountain and gave him the Ten Commandments.
And the Lord called Moses up to the top of the mountain and spoke these words to him: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” And as the Lord spoke, He wrote these Ten Commandments on tables of stone.
- You shall have no other gods before Me.
- You shall not make idols or bow down to them, nor serve them.
- You shall not use the name of the Lord your God disrespectfully.
- Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
- Honor your father and your mother.
- You shall not murder.
- You shall not commit adultery.
- You shall not steal.
- You shall not lie about your neighbor.
- You shall not lust for your neighbor’s house, or his wife, or any thing that is your neighbor’s.
The Lord gave His perfect standard of holiness through these laws, but then He also showed Moses what people must do when they broke those laws.
The Lord said, “You must build an altar and dedicate it to Me. You shall make sacrifices on it and I will bless you. The blood will be a covering for your sin and I will forgive you.”
Prophets Describe the Savior
After forty years in the desert, the Israelites, known also as Jews, entered the promised land of Canaan. Although the inhabitants of Canaan knew of God’s mighty miracles for the Jews, they rejected Jehovah as God, and fought against the Children of Israel. But God protected the Jews as they resettled in the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Once a year the appointed High Priest went behind a sacred veil which separated the people from the Holy presence of God.
The Lord ordained priests to oversee the animal sacrifices and to lead in worship. Once a year the appointed High Priest went behind a sacred veil, which separated the people from the holy presence of God. There the priest represented the whole nation before the Lord.
After many years, the Israelites crowned a king, David, whom God called, “A man after my own heart.”
God spoke to the Jews through David and other godly men, called prophets, reminding them to be holy as a witness to all nations. When the Israelites sinned, the Lord warned Israel through these prophets, that if they continued to sin, He would allow a foreign nation to overrun their country.
In spite of these warnings, Israel was disobedient and rebelled against God, rejecting His laws and killing the prophets who testified against them. Finally, after eight hundred years of rebellion, Israel was taken out of her own land and was made captive in the nations of Assyria and Babylon.
But God continued to speak through prophets during the Jews’ captivity. Some of the messages were calls to repentance, while others were prophecies about the Savior who would come to rescue sinful mankind. The prophet Micah foretold the exact city where the Savior would be born and described His eternal nature saying, “Out of Bethlehem shall the one come who will rule in Israel, whose existence is from old, from everlasting.”
God even revealed that the coming Savior would descend from the royal line of David. Through the writings of the prophet Malachi, the Lord described a special messenger who would announce the coming Savior and prepare the people to receive Him.
Zechariah prophesied, “O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold, your King comes to you: He is righteous and has salvation; humble, and riding on the foal of an donkey.” King David described how the Savior Himself would know in advance that one of His close friends, with whom He ate bread, would betray Him.
And Zechariah even recorded that the price of the betrayal would be thirty pieces of silver. Jesus was whipped, tortured, and then crucified, for our sins. Through the prophet Isaiah, God foretold that the coming Savior would be tortured, by whipping, and that His face would be spat upon. David described the method of execution as “piercing the Savior’s hands and feet, yet not breaking any of His bones.”
That the Savior would say, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”, and that onlookers would laugh and ridicule the Savior, saying, “He believed that the Lord would deliver him.” David also wrote that “the Savior’s bones would be out of joint and in His thirst He would be given vinegar to drink,” and that the Savior’s persecutors would “divide His clothes among them, and gamble for His robe.”
Isaiah said that onlookers would be “astonished” when they saw how the Savior’s face was disfigured from the torture. The prophecies in God’s book even describe how one day, David’s descendants, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, would “look at the Savior whom they had pierced.”
And all this was written in the Scriptures many hundreds of years before the Savior came.
The Ministry of Jesus Christ
After seventy years of captivity, the Lord allowed His people to come back to the land of Israel. Only a small group chose to return, but they as well as Jews elsewhere, still lived under the rule of other nations…
Five hundred years later, when Rome ruled Israel, two young Jews named Joseph and Mary, both descendants of the royal line of David, planned to marry. But before they came together, Mary became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit of God.
Then an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Joseph, Don’t worry about taking Mary as your wife: for the child in her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. The child is the Son of God. And when she gives birth to this son, you must name Him ‘Jesus’, which means Savior, for He will save His people from their sins.”
This happened as the prophet Isaiah had foretold, “The Lord Himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin will bare a son, and they will call Him Emmanuel, which means God with us.”
In a city called Bethlehem, Jesus was born in a stable.
Joseph and Mary had to travel to the city of Bethlehem for a census and to pay taxes. And while there, Mary gave birth to her firstborn son whom they named Jesus. So, as prophesied, Jesus was born in Bethlehem to a descendant of King David.
And in the same country, there were shepherds watching over their flocks at night. And the angel of the Lord came to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were very frightened. Then the angel said, “Don’t be afraid: for I bring good news of great joy, for all people. Today a Savior was born for you which is Christ the Lord.”
Is Jesus Christ a man, or is he God?
And the child grew, becoming strong in spirit; and the grace of God was on Him. Jesus matured, increasing in wisdom and in favor with God and man.
Now when Jesus was about thirty years of age, a man named John the Baptist came preaching and baptizing in the wilderness, saying, “Repent: Prepare yourselves for the Lord.”John was the messenger the prophets had foretold would announce the coming of the Savior. Then Jesus came to the Jordan river to be baptized by John. And when John saw Jesus coming, he said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.”
And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up out of the water, and the heavens opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove and light on Him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Then, after Jesus spent forty days in the desert, Satan, who had successfully tempted Eve in the Garden, tried ways of tempting Jesus—but Jesus would not sin.
Finally, Satan took Jesus to an especially high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. Then Satan said, “All these things I will give to you, if you will fall down and worship me.”
Jesus answered, “Get away from me, Satan: because God has written that, you shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only shall you serve.”
While Jesus, the son of God, lived on earth in the form of a man, He was tempted in all the same ways we are, yet He never sinned.So, where Adam failed, Jesus succeeded. This showed that Jesus indeed could be the Savior of mankind—the lamb sent from God.
Jesus revealed himself as the promised Savior in many ways, including performing countless miracles. At a wedding feast, He changed water into wine. He healed a man who had been lame for thirty-eight years.Jesus cured a man with Leprosy, saying, “Be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
A man full of leprosy—an untouchable—saw Jesus and fell on his face, saying, “Lord, if You want to, You can make me clean.”Jesus then reached out his hand and touched him, saying, “Be clean.” And immediately the leprosy left him.
Jesus brought sight to a man who had been blind from birth.
One woman, who for twelve years had a disease which doctors could not heal, reached out and touched Jesus’ robe. He turned, saying, “Daughter, be comforted. Your faith has made you well; go in peace.”
Those suffering from different kinds of diseases were brought to Him, and He healed them all.
Jesus called twelve men together, asking them to follow Him. He gave them power and authority over devils, and He sent these disciples out to preach about the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.
His fame went everywhere, and great crowds came together to hear Him teach and to be healed of their diseases.
When a gathering of five thousand people needed food, Jesus prayed over a young boy’s lunch of bread and fish. The food was miraculously multiplied, so that it fed the whole throng, with twelve baskets left over.
But the people kept asking for more proof that Jesus was from God. They said, “Our forefathers ate manna in the desert. It is written in the Scriptures, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.”
Jesus replied, “The bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” The people said, “Lord, give us this bread all the time.”
Jesus answered, “I am the bread of life: he that comes to Me shall never hunger; he that believes on Me shall never thirst.” Jesus prophesied that He must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and then be raised from the dead on the third day.
Most of the religious and political leaders rejected Jesus’ teaching. However, one, a Pharisee called Nicodemus, came to Jesus at night, seeking truth.
Jesus told him, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus asked, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”
Jesus explained, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. You should not be so amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can these things be?”
Jesus scolded him for teaching others about religion when he didn’t understand spiritual truths himself. Then Jesus explained spiritual birth. “For God loved the world so much that He gave His only begotten Son, that who ever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world; He sent Him so that the world might be saved.
The real condemnation is this: light came into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. He who believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he who does not believe on the Son, shall not see life; but the wrath of God remains on him.”
Finally Nicodemus understood and believed.