Outpouring events of our Salvation through Jesus Christ
Which of all the signs of Christ has had the most prominent effect upon our belief in him as our savior? Let’s begin with the Incarnation, the only time in human history that two natures are combined into one entity. We call this the Hypostatic Union. Two distinctly different natures joining together into one entity. In this case Jesus was present in the womb of his Mother Mary and took on the nature of a human being. It would have taken strenuous understanding of the most learned teachers to grasp this phenomenon. Yet, for the Pharisees this prophecy was already spoken for. “Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign; the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.” (Is. 7: 14). “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, From David’s throne, and over his kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.” (Is. 9: 1, 5 - 6).
“After all the people had been baptized and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ``You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
(Lk. 3: 21 22). This is the incident that prepared our Lord for three years of ministry which would have a significant outcome on him and ultimately each of us.
“Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the river Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil.” (Lk. 4: 1 -2). Now the beginning of treachery would take its place in the life and sacrifice of Jesus.
From the Gospel of Luke we will see Jesus reaching out with signs of compassion on the rejected, sinners, and prostitutes, those whom we call outside the cicle of acceptance. There are at least four segments that the Lord speaks of his mission. “The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.” (Lk 4: 17). “Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours.” (Lk. 6: 20). “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard—--the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” (Lk 7: 22). “Rather, when you hold a banquet, invite the poor, the ctippled, the lame, and the blind.” (Lk. 14 13).
We see that the prominence of his ministry encompassed the poor first.
“Now a man was ill, Lazarus from Berhany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. The sisters sent word to him saying Master the one you love is ill. This illness is not to end in death, but is for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it. When arriving at the tomb Jesus called Lazerus forth. Jesus declared that I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live.” (Ln. 11: 1, 3 -4, 25).
Perhaps the most profound sign was waiting four days to go the the tomb and raising Lazerus back to life. Of course Lazerus was not resurrected, but restored to life.
On a high mountain Jesus took Peter, James, and John and while they were praying a bright cloud covered them and Jesus was standing with Moses and Elijah. Christ became as bright as a refiners bleach and a voice said, (similar to his baptism) ``This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Mt. 17: cf 1-8).
This shows clearly that there is no time and space with God. Two leaders from the Old Testament who have been dead for many years appeared with Jesus in his resurrected body and in his glory.
The passion of Jesus begins with three years of rejection especially against His Father. Scourging, given a crown of thorns humiliating our Lord, nailed to a cross shedding all his blood, for you and me, he died and was buried in a borrowed cave.
Which event touches your heart? There is no correct response but each one indicates the full meaning from the Incarnation through the Ascension; the whole narrative is for each of us.
Ralph B. Hathaway