This week’s “Be Armed!” Bible study is entitled: Christology: Regarding Jesus Christ. This study confirmed my understanding of who Jesus is and the work Jesus came to do. I learned a lot, though, from the approach to presenting Jesus (and to studying the Bible).
As I already shared, I learned today about what kinds of questions we should be asking during Bible study discussions. We should be asking discovery and learning-type questions which allow someone to find the truth about Jesus. In contrast, my approach to Bible study for as long as I can remember, was to dictate truth about Jesus. This kind of approach might help me, but is quite ineffective for leading others to a correct understanding of God’s messages.
The pre-reading for today’s lesson is: Colossians 1:15-23, Hebrews 9:11-28, Isaiah 52:13-53:12 and John 15:1-17, as well as chapters 8, 9 and 10of the book “In Christ Alone” by Sinclair B. Ferguson.
The Biblical identity of Jesus is that he is the Son of God. Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, prophets like Isaiah foretold Jesus’ identity, purpose and work. Jesus was fully God and fully human. His incarnation was not the beginning of his life. Jesus exists in all eternity and by Him all things were created. Jesus came to be the Messiah, to do the work of saving sinners. Jesus paid the price for sin required due to the Fall of man.
Genesis 15 was shared by Pastor Wayne before the table discussions. This intrigued me greatly, and revealed a wonderful truth about Jesus from Abraham’s covenant with God:
1 After this, the word of the LORD came to Abram in a vision: “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your very great reward.” 2 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, what can you give me since I remain childless and the one who will inherit my estate is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 And Abram said, “You have given me no children; so a servant in my household will be my heir.” 4 Then the word of the LORD came to him: “This man will not be your heir, but a son coming from your own body will be your heir.” 5 He took him outside and said, “Look up at the heavens and count the stars–if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 6 Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness. 7 He also said to him, “I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to take possession of it.” 8 But Abram said, “O Sovereign LORD, how can I know that I will gain possession of it?” 9 So the LORD said to him, “Bring me a heifer, a goat and a ram, each three years old, along with a dove and a young pigeon.” 10 Abram brought all these to him, cut them in two and arranged the halves opposite each other; the birds, however, he did not cut in half. 11 Then birds of prey came down on the carcasses, but Abram drove them away. 12 As the sun was setting, Abram fell into a deep sleep, and a thick and dreadful darkness came over him. 13 Then the LORD said to him, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years. 14 But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterward they will come out with great possessions. 15 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. 16 In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.” 17 When the sun had set and darkness had fallen, a smoking firepot with a blazing torch appeared and passed between the pieces. 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, “To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates– 19 the land of the Kenites, Kenizzites, Kadmonites, 20 Hittites, Perizzites, Rephaites, 21 Amorites, Canaanites, Girgashites and Jebusites.” Genesis 15:1-21
The covenant in this passage is similar to when a strong nation makes a covenant with a weaker nation. In ancient times, they would seal a covenant with the arrangement of animals cut in two pieces, and a trough of blood down the middle. The two parties would walk through the blood as a sign that “May I become like these animals if I break this covenant.”
The key point about Abraham’s covenant with God is that Abraham did not walk through the trough of blood. Only God went through (shown by the smoking firepot with a blazing torch). Abraham had fallen into a deep sleep! God was the one who went through the trough of blood, demonstrating the taking on the role of both parties. So if the covenant would be broken, God would pay the price. The covenant with Abraham’s descendants was, of course, broken by Abraham and his descendants. Mankind’s sin broke the covenant. And God paid the price as he promised, through Jesus Christ’s atoning sacrifice once and for all on the cross. Jesus is God who became broken to pay the price for our transgressions and to heal our wounds.