“For by Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…
all things were created by Him and for Him.” I Colossians 1:16.
Celebration crowned creation week! Seven days earlier, what had been a chunk of water-covered, inert matter, floating in cosmic darkness, now throbbed with first life. The Genesis narrative describes the beginning of life’s miracle.
After lighting earth with His presence on creation week’s day one, God, the supreme intelligent designer, divided “land” from “sea,” wrapped an atmosphere around the emerging planet, and introduced the plant kingdom by the close of day three.
Creation of the sun and moon on day four completed earth’s pristine, life-sustaining ecosystem. Deferring creation of the sun until day four confirmed the new star as being a contributing sustainer of life, not its originating source.
The Author of science created “living creatures” of the sea and “every winged bird!” on day five, followed by the creation of “man in His own image” on day six. Humans did not originate by accident but were designed by the Ruler of the universe and given dominion over all other life on earth.
Perfection deserved celebration. The seventh and final day of creation week was preserved in perpetuity as a reminder that God designed and created all life while guaranteeing humans a weekly rest from physical labor.
The bucolic scene didn’t last. Satan sinister adversary of all things good, launched a barrage of lies to challenge God and to mar creation.
Flawed human choice fell for the bait to be wise “like God”, set in motion decline, degenerative mutations in the natural world and eventual physical death to Homo sapiens—“the wages of sin.” The death curse did not strike in a lightning bolt instant but triggered the not-so-subtle aging process.
Human character took a catastrophic hit. Relationships were poisoned by passions of hate fueled by pervasive covetousness, lying, adultery, stealing and mass killings. “Every inclination of the thoughts…was only evil all the time.” Brothers murdered brothers. Battles between families and wars between cultures spread like a contagious plague. Merchants of hate enslaved, subjugated, tortured and killed with malicious abandon.
Instead of honoring the Creator of life, humans resorted to superstitious rituals, bowing to man-made idols and worshiping created objects such as the sun. Pagan thought abandoned acknowledgement of the Creator, substituting the flawed conjecture that Homo sapiens evolved, over millions of years, from a simple cell that created itself accidentally, in some “warm little pond.”
As an antidote, God delivered ten keys for better living to Moses, on Mt. Sinai, reminding confused humanity of God’s character of love, the exclusive formula for finding personal happiness and inner peace.
When the Ten Commandments were misunderstood by some and ignored by others, God sent His “only begotten son” as a living demonstration of God’s character in action and the awesome power of unselfish love to vanquish malignant hate. Christ personified unimaginable love—willingly taking on man’s fallen nature.
Christ lived an unblemished life of perfection despite constant temptations, stresses and pressures; He suffered an anguished death to pay the price for the shortfall of all humanity; and by conquering death, He opened the door to life eternal to all embracing the faith to believe.
The Bible’s Old Testament predicts the miraculous birth of a “Messiah” presaged with a litany of symbolic sacrificial ceremonies providing a hint of what was to come. When Christ died on the cross, the massive temple curtain dividing the “Holy” and “Most Holy” compartments, was ripped top-to-bottom by an unseen hand, announcing the ritualistic law had no further purpose—Christ’s actual sacrificial life and death had fulfilled the symbolic litany.
The New Testament account reports Jesus was born in a barn with rumors of suspect parentage. He learned the carpenter’s trade in Nazareth, his home village, where poverty and corruption shrouded the streets. Despite this less-than-ideal environment, Christ’s flawless character emerged uncorrupted.
Contrary to epic notions of heroic history built around military conquest with its harvest of death, Jesus never commanded an army, sought political office, received a university degree, or wrote a book. Rather than accumulating property and owning a bank account, Christ advised: “You cannot serve both God and money…seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all theses things will be given to you as well.”
Inspired by His charismatic command to “Follow me,” twelve young men abandoned personal careers to join Christ’s ministry without promise of financial perks or job security. In time they learned that rather than a mission to deliver a subjugated culture from Rome’s physical bondage, His was a spiritual ministry of healing for individual bodies and souls. He didn’t sermonize from the altar of a grand cathedral or a highly promoted pulpit in an arena seating thousands. No media blitz publicized His appearances. News of His enlightening words and miraculous deeds traveled with lightning speed.
When a wedding celebration ran short of wine, He transformed water into prime vintage by His word alone. Powered by His blessing, five loaves of bread and two fish satisfied the hunger of a crowd of 5,000. With leprosy’s blight running rampant, hearts beat faster and eyebrows rose with news He restored vibrant health to ten lepers. Responding to His command, an infirm man “picked up his mat and walked.” The restoration of sight to a blind man startled witnesses to the unprecedented scene.
Hundreds followed Christ to an outdoor setting on a hillside slope. Admission was free; tickets were not required. The Light of life for all people, urged followers to be peacemakers, merciful, pure in heart, and to reconcile and to forgive adversaries. He counseled, “Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Assuring believers they were the “light of the world,” His bold advocacy galvanized the human spirit, sounding a call to war against evil, not to military action. Listeners pondered Christ’s wisdom, responding to His promise of abundant living today and a future, forever life. The resurrection of Lazarus, confirmed His power and authority to create life. Christ’s life of perfection conquered evil and death’s curse.
Following a sham trial, Christ willingly suffered the agony of the death curse for all humanity, on a cross of wood while being whipped, mocked and taunted. His sacrifice demonstrated ultimate love in action—even reaching out to those who hated and had killed Him with the words, “Father forgiven them for they do not know what they are doing.”
The perfect life and unselfish death of God’s “one and only Son,” demonstrated Divine power, limitless love, and eternal justice.
While His sacrifice made the ceremonial law an obsolete ritual, nothing He said or did suggested the code for unselfish behavior reflecting God’s character, had been abolished. Christ removed all doubt: “I have not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it.” His perfect life demonstrated love in action—translated from words chiseled in stone to living action, “written on the heart.”
God’s perfect character doesn’t change!
When asked “which is the greatest commandment in the law,” Christ said there were two, both exemplified by love in action. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” Love of God is shown by not misusing God’s name, nor worshipping other gods or making idols and by resting from labor every seventh-day to celebrate God’s creative power.
Christ continued, “And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Far from abolishing the guidelines for abundant living, Christ amplified their meaning by identifying love as the common denominator in meaningful human relationships. The ten rules for better living represent a codified reflection of the eternal principles God’s perfect character.
Love of neighbor requires honoring parents, not murdering, committing adultery, lying, stealing or coveting—180 degrees from hatred’s contempt life. Love, reacts with compassion: extending a helping hand to others in need; giving personal resources with no expectation of a return and even willingness to sacrifice your life for another person.
Responding to a question, Christ reminded listeners that the “Sabbath was created for man, not man for the Sabbath.” He joined others, “as was His custom,” to worship God on the Sabbath day.
In addition to celebrating God’s creative power and universal authority, Sabbath observance carries derivative benefits: it confirms humans did not evolve by some unplanned accident; weekly rest from physical labor is assured; believers can experience the miracle of a spiritual new birth; and its reminder of eternal life for those who lived their faith.
Eyewitnesses to Christ’s crucifixion, burial and resurrection, viewed another miracle—His ascension and promised return. “This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
The reality of Christ’s death and miraculous resurrection was witnessed by devoted humans who put their own lives on the line to share the “good news.”
Peter and John were privy to the Divine power evident in Christ’s resurrection and ascension into heaven. Christian martyrs like Stephen and Paul, would not likely have accepted their own martyred deaths built on superstitious myth.
Sixty-six books, authored by forty-four authors, during a span of fifteen centuries, speak with inspired authority. The greatest story ever told provides a “big picture” perspective of God’s son assuming human form in order to teach the truth about God and to remind humans that “God created the world.” The life, death and resurrection of Christ revolutionized history. When He returns, He will make all things new.