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Written by Bill Bradford
One of the most encouraging scriptures in the Bible is Hebrews 12:2: “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith....” There’s a lot packed into this thought.
I have used this scripture in the past two weeks in messages as a source of encouragement and comfort at a time when we recently experienced the loss of loved ones. We are going to experience the same again. This is a fact of life.
Life in God’s vision goes on and never ends, and that is the way He sees mortals who are called for God’s great purpose. “I have come that they may have life,” Jesus declares. He knows that one day at His return to this earth, all those who have “died in Christ” will respond to His voice and the sound of the great trumpet and come forth, just as Lazarus did. It will be a marvelous reunion - one that will never end.
We are reassured that Jesus is the author - the beginner, the one who starts us down the path at the direction of the Father and will also see us through to the finish. This is the reassurance we have. Those who “sleep in Jesus” have “finished the race” and will receive a “crown of glory”. Let us rejoice in that they are “sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Everyone who is convicted by God must “look unto Jesus.” That means we should follow Him who has gone before us with confidence. We find out all too soon that we cannot rely on our own strength, intellect, or otherwise good qualities to see us through to the end. We do as He has already done...”run the race set before us with endurance.”
The leadership of Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary and invaluable to us as followers, and we are encouraged by the faith He showed toward the Father. We in turn, when looking unto Jesus move through our own temporal life “being confident of this very thing, that He who had begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Phil 1:6). Paul seeks to encourage his brethren with this kind of confidence. He showed how he believed what he so earnestly taught, in his final comments to Timothy. “I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith” (II Tim 4:7).
Paul asserts that Jesus was “faithful to Him who had appointed Him” (Heb 3:2). And we further read, where Jesus, because He was a willing participant in God’s plan to bring others to glory, that He became the most willing sacrifice.
This is a leader I can follow. This is one we can “look unto” - not just look at. He has gone before us and set us an example, and done a marvelous work. Here is the basis for our devotion to God. We know what he has done, and we are glad to be accountable to Him - not just in this life, but forever. Paul and Peter would say in many different ways: He has my respect, my loyalty, my love, and my worship.
Every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. He is worthy of our worship for all times.
Did Jesus do what the records show? Was He, is He, really who He claimed to be? Can it be proved historically? Or are we left to simply accept it on blind faith?
This booklet seeks to address and answer the major questions that intelligent, reasoning people naturally ask in trying to understand Jesus Christ--the real story.
Have you ever considered how much the Easter holiday just doesn’t add up? Start with the timing: Jesus said He would be in the tomb three days and three nights. But do the math—a Good Friday crucifixion to a resurrection on Sunday morning is at most only one day and small parts of two others, plus two nights. Also, John’s Gospel tells us Jesus was already resurrected before sunrise, so we can’t count that part of a day. Does the Bible offer a solution? Yes, and when we understand it, everything adds up perfectly! But that’s not all that doesn’t add up about the Easter holiday. What do rabbits, colored eggs and sunrise religious services have to do with Jesus Christ’s resurrection? Discover the fascinating historical truth about all this and much more in this issue of Beyond Today!