JESUS FINAL GOSPEL PRESENTATION

Jesus speaks at various points while on the cross. There are actually seven statements that Jesus made on the cross. Why does Mark focus on only one of those statements?

My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Psalms 22:1

And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?Mark 15:34

This is the first line of Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” The rest of the psalm describes prophetically exactly what is happening to Jesus as He spoke these words. In effect, Jesus gives us His personal testimony of His work on the cross, while He is on the cross. If this is the case it was not only a cry because God was far from Him in Jesus’ most desperate hour but it was the first point of a final Gospel presentation.

Anyone who knew the first line of this psalm would know that it pointed to Jesus, in fact, the psalm vividly describes His life on earth. Let’s look at the main points of the psalm and the gospel accounts of His crucifixion.

The rejection of Jesus Christ as God’s Messiah

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by people. Everyone who sees me mocks me; they sneer and shake their heads:” (Psalm 22:6–7)

Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days,” (Mark 15:29)

““He relies on the Lord; let him save him; let the Lord rescue Him since he takes pleasure in Him.”” (Psalm 22:8)

He trusts in God; let God rescue Him now—if He takes pleasure in Him! For He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”” (Matthew 27:43)

The virgin birth of Jesus Christ

It was you who brought me out of the womb, making me secure at my mother’s breast. I was given over to you at birth; you have been my God from my mother’s womb.” (Psalm 22:9–10)

The persecution of Jesus on the cross

Don’t be far from me, because distress is near and there’s no one to help. Many bulls surround me; strong ones of Bashan encircle me. They open their mouths against me— lions, mauling and roaring.(Psalm 22:11–13)

Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with him taunted him.” (Mark 15:32)

Jesus is pointing to this psalm which predicts the very events that are happening to Him while they watch. In a very surreal sense, the people below are watching prophecy unfold. The fact that prophecy is unfolding that shows the Messiah must suffer to save people for eternity should make them come to Him.

Jesus must suffer

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are disjointed; my heart is like wax, melting within me. My strength is dried up like baked clay; my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth. You put me into the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; a gang of evildoers has closed in on me; they pierced my hands and my feet.” (Psalm 22:14–16)

They divided my garments among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing.” (Psalm 22:18)

So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it, to see who gets it.” This happened that the Scripture might be fulfilled that says: They divided my clothes among themselves, and they cast lots for my clothing. This is what the soldiers did.” (John 19:24)

Jesus was mocked and insulted while on the cross

I can count all my bones; people look and stare at me.(Psalm 22:17)

Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!”” (Mark 15:29–30)

Jesus proclaims the Gospel to people around Him. He is sharing about their need for God.

People need God

I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters; I will praise you in the assembly. You who fear the Lord, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! All you descendants of Israel, revere him! For he has not despised or abhorred the torment of the oppressed. He did not hide his face from him but listened when he cried to him for help.” (Psalm 22:22–24)

Jesus even predicts from the cross by referencing this psalm that the Jews will reject Jesus and the world will accept Him:

Some will reject the Messiah

I will give praise in the great assembly because of you; I will fulfill my vows before those who fear you. The humble will eat and be satisfied; those who seek the Lord will praise him. May your hearts live forever! All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord. All the families of the nations will bow down before you,” (Psalm 22:25–27)

Other people than the Jews will share Jesus

Jesus predicts the beginning of the church from this psalm:

Their descendants will serve him; the next generation will be told about the Lord. They will come and declare his righteousness; to a people yet to be born they will declare what he has done.” (Psalms 22:30-32)

The death of Jesus is only the beginning. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end with Jesus dying on the cross.

The final Gospel presentation of Jesus Christ reminds us that God’s story is not over. Just like every great story has a great ending. Every great story has “a first” line. They also have a great last line.

“The End” does not end at the cross. Instead, the cross means that there is a “To be continued. Jesus will return.” The many prophecies of His Second Coming testify to the fact that we are in the time Jesus prophesied would precede His return to rule and reign on this earth for one thousand years.

Adapted from the article “The Final Gospel Presentation of Jesus Christ”  April 29, 2019, by Jim Erwin http://www.patheos.com

A MESSAGE OF HOPE INSIDE PRISON

Prison Fellowship partnered with Riding High Ministries to present the hope of Christ through the powerful, hands-on experience of breaking a wild horse. What a great way to deliver the message of Christ to these prisoners. It should be a challenge to us all to determine what the good works are that God has prepared for us to do.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.Ephesians 2:10

In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.Matthew 5:16

“For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.Philippians 2:13

If you’re a believer in Jesus and don’t know who Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship was, the good news is that you will meet him in God’s presence. But before you meet him there, I recommend you become familiar with this remarkable man. Here he is giving a presentation to the Veritas Forum where he tells his fascinating story of his radical conversion to Christ.  If you want to know that story from other sources, read his bestselling Born Again, or Jonathan Aitken’s Colson biography.

JESUS CHANGES EVERYTHING

Cold-Case Detective Jay Warner Wallace declared the Gospel changed everything for him, particularly how he addressed every person he came across, including criminals. Great story.

How Wallace saw the world and his role in it changed dramatically when he came to faith in Jesus.

By watching this video you will also learn a lot about other religions and how those religions that existed before Jesus have been modified to include Jesus in some way at least as a wise teacher. The religions like Islam that have arisen after Jesus also include Jesus in some way. No one has had an impact on the world like Jesus whether it be on art, music, education, even on religions.

Everyone wants Jesus on their side. Satan is the master deceiver so by including Jesus in these religions he gives them some credibility.

BEING SAVED AND BEING A CHRISTIAN

Who will live with God on the new earth and heaven that He creates for His children? This is a valid question and we know it is not only Christians. Some will be taken back, as I was when I first read this statement. However, I quickly realised that Abraham, Moses, Job, David would not strictly come into the category Christian.

There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.Job 1:1

Think about the one thief upon the cross that simply asked Jesus to remember him when He came into His Kingdom, What was Jesus’ response?

Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Luke 23:43

I think therefore that the thief put his heartfelt trust in Jesus as the Messiah of God and that was enough to get him saved.

Roger Olson in his excellent article “Answer to the Question: What must a person know/believe to be saved or to be a Christian” raises the story of Paul and Silas and the time God opened up the prison doors for them. Paul stopped the jailor from killing himself as he thought the prisoners had escaped. The jailor knew there was something different about these men who had been praising God in their chains and were now free of those chains. He asked them this question.

Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe on (trust) the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” Acts 16:30-31

Roger makes the point that from this statement, for the jailer and his family to be saved they had to believe that Jesus Christ is Lord and they must put their trust/faith in Him. This is the simple rule of faith for salvation.

To be a Christian there is more and Roger points out that Paul and Silas then went on to say:

And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.Acts 16:32

Roger’s interpretation and I have to agree with him, is that the jailer, like the thief on the cross, was saved the moment he believed on (trust) the Lord Jesus Christ as his Lord. However, to be a Christian there is more, Jesus gave His disciples the Great Commission; repent, be baptised, and receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit enables believers to comprehend the Word of the Lord. He sanctifies us over time and produces the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. He will guide our every step if we allow Him. Therefore, He enables us to live the Christian life.

SAVED

God knows the condition of our heart and it is a heart issue that gets us saved. This Scripture from Exodus reinforces the issue of having a heart/spirit for God.

“And they came, every one whose heart stirred him, and everyone whose spirit moved him, and brought the Lord’s contribution to be used for the tent of meeting, and for all its service, and for the holy garments. So they came, both men and women. All who were of a willing heart brought brooches and earrings and signet rings and armlets, all sorts of gold objects, every man dedicating an offering of gold to the Lord.Exodus 35:21-22

CHRISTIAN

To live the Christian life you must have the Holy Spirit which is given once you repent of your sins (prepared to die to your old life) be baptised (signifying death to the old life and arising as alive in Christ) at which time God the Father sends the Holy Spirit, the enabler, to be your counsellor, your teacher, and comforter. He enables you to live a Christian life.

ETERNITY

For me, this understanding gives me comfort in knowing that there will be many people who have never heard the Good News of Jesus Christ who will be saved because they had a heart after God. Moreover, I am sure you like me have heard of many stories of Jesus appearing to Muslims and they have come to saving faith in Him. Jesus answered their heart cries. We can trust God to ensure that all those that should be in His Kingdom will be there.

HAVING A RIGHT ATTITUDE TO SINNERS

Arlington residents, students, and church members came together Wednesday night, only hours after shots rang out in Timberview High School in the Mansfield school district, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The suspected gunman, an 18-year-old student, was taken into custody by police after he began firing shots in a classroom. The alleged shooter, Timothy Simpkins, turned himself in with his attorney Wednesday afternoon.

Just hours after tragedy struck, one 15-year-old student from Arlington, Texas, joined her community in prayer not just for her four classmates injured by a gunman who opened fire in her school Wednesday, but for the shooter himself.

“I want to pray for the shooter, Lord God,” said Ashlyn Henson, praying through tears. “That you’d touch his mind. Touch his heart, Jesus. That you allow him to see his wrong. That you allow him to feel that remorse and that pain he caused. And that he fixes himself in your eyes, Lord God.”

Henson shared her grief during an evening prayer service at Cornerstone Baptist Church, where the youth minister, Al Curley, reminded the community that horrible things happen because of the sin in the world, urging them to turn to Jesus for solace.

He went on to urge fellow believers to “proclaim hope” in the midst of despair.

“And the hope is that God so loved the world that He gave His Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life,” Curley added, referencing John 3:16. “Yes, the world is fleeting and the world is perishing, but, for those of us who have the assurance of hope in Jesus Christ, we have the promise of everlasting life.

We’ve got to share that message with the lost, because the message of the Gospel, the message of redemption, is life itself, eternal life.

THE UNSTOPPABLE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST

In the Book of Acts the Gospel bearers face threats, persecution, imprisonment, internal conflict, theological controversy, litigation, storms and shipwreck, but none of these impede the Gospel’s progress. The Gospel is the powerful instrument the Holy Spirit uses to produce believers – in Jerusalem, Samaria, Cyprus, Lystra, Derbe (city of Galatia) and throughout Europe. In rural areas (Acts 14) and philosophical centres (Acts17), the Gospel is equally at home, with the Holy Spirit revealing the truth of the Gospel.

All three persons of God are involved in redeeming mankind: God the Father, Jesus His Son and the Holy Spirit

Luke gives us statistical summaries to show the growth of the church (Acts 2:41; 4:4) and comments throughout on the health of the Word. In Chapter 6, when dissension breaks out in the church, Luke tells us ‘the word of God continued to increase and spread’ (v.7). In Chapter 12 when Herod has James killed, the word’s health is contrasted with Herod’s wormy death (v.24). In Chapter 19 when people burnt their magic scrolls to ash, the Word, he says, ‘continued to increase and prevail mightily’ (v.20).

If the title of the book of Acts were to be changed, I would suggest a title which included ’the unstop-ability of God’s Gospel’. What a refreshing encouragement to read this Holy Spirit-inspired book and be reminded that God’s purpose prevails.

“The purpose of God is to glorify himself by saving a people of his own, through hearing and believing the Gospel of his Son, as it is carried to the world by his Holy Spirit-empowered people”.

This abbreviated and slightly modified inspiring article by David Cook is from AP – Reformed Thought for Christian Living

TESTIMONIES ARE POWERFUL

And they have conquered him (The Accuser/Satan) by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death.” Revelation 12:11

Brian Ivie
Brian Tetsuro Ivie

Young Christian filmmaker Brian Tetsuro Ivie says Christians are losing relevancy in modern-day society for not speaking to people’s spiritual and physical needs as Jesus did. To change that, Ivie has teamed up with NBA all-star Steph Curry to create films with original content that will inspire Christians to do both.

Ivie’s testimony is inspiring and is typical of how God works with His new children:

“When I became a Christian, I thought I was gonna leave the film industry entirely because I figured once you became a Christian, you had to go to Africa, or you had to give up all of your dreams,” Ivie told The Christian Post in a recent interview. “I think, in some ways, that was good because it taught me how to just walk with God and not look at my career as something that was going to ultimately fulfill me because it’s not.”

At the beginning of his faith walk, Ivie took part in philanthropy and social work for a few years, a season he pegged as a “desert.” He worked in South Korea and other parts of the world, which is how his film “The Drop Box” came about. The movie, made in partnership with Focus on the Family, told the story of South Korean Pastor Lee Jong-rak, who, after gaining a reputation for his willingness to care for disabled children, built a box into his home’s wall because he did not want any babies to be discarded and left for dead.

Years later, Ivie was asked to make “Emanuel,” which tells the story of the 2015 church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina. It was then that he and Steph Curry became acquainted, and soon after, Curry joined the film as an executive producer. 

So when the famous athlete thought about launching his own production company, he brought in Ivie to help create the faith content that would be overtly Christian and inspiring to viewers. 

It felt like it was the realization of the dream — the new dream and the new vision God had put into my heart when I became a Christian. It felt like the moment where the old dream and the new dream came together. And it felt like, ‘OK, this is God’s plan for my life,’” Ivie said.