First, from the bottom of your loved one’s heart, the fact that you have read all that has been presented is a blessing.
We would ask you to consider printing all of these sections, as the future will have challenges, and this message will be challenged as well. The long-term ability to access this website is not known. We also encourage you to get a Bible, and read the verses presented and the chapters around them to understand so much more. For ease of reading, we have used the English Standard Version Bible, so if a word or phrase is different in the bible you were able to get, please don’t fret, the message is still there.
There may be doubts as to what was presented in What’s Coming, but please know this: these biblical prophecies (future occurrences) were presented just like the prophecy that stated your loved one would be taken in a moment - in a twinkling of an eye.
There is one prophecy (future occurrence) that was mentioned in the bible over 300 times, the message of a coming Savior of the world. But why did we need a Savior, keep reading.
The next few pages will present the gospel (good news) of the kingdom. Your loved one trusted this path, and in the book of Revelation they were promised to be kept from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world.
“Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth. 11 I am coming soon. Hold fast what you have, so that no one may seize your crown.”
The Bible outlines over 1500 years of time, so this simple outline is in no way comprehensive, it is designed to share a simple set of Truths, that we hope gives you as the reader a place to start your understanding and grow in your understanding of the Faith that your loved one holds so closely to their heart.
The Beginning to the Need for a Savior
God is our Creator
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1)
God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:27)
God set up a Relationship and Trust with Mankind, Mankind broke that Trust and Relationship
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden. (Genesis 3:8)
Without a Relationship with God, Mankind continued to drift to a horrible life
Murder: And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against his brother Abel and killed him. (Genesis 4:8)
Violence: Now the earth was corrupt in God's sight, and the earth was filled with violence. (Gen 6:11)
Evil Continually: The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. (Gen 6:5)
Wars for Land and Plunder, led by Kings: So, the enemy took all the possessions of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their provisions, and went their way. (Gen 14:11)
Rape/Homosexuality: And they called to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us, that we may know them.” (Gen 19:5) know, throughout the bible is expressing a sexual connection or encounter in this case.
During this time God, seeking to lead the few that would seek a relationship with Him, and the joy of a life worth living, God wiped most of the wickedness away with a massive world-wide flood (Gen 8), and later even confused languages (Gen 11).
In God’s desire for relationship with mankind, God chose a man by the name of Abram(Abraham). God led Abraham, blessed Abraham, and made a covenant/commitment to Abraham. This covenant/commitment was that through Abraham’s descendants the families of the earth shall be blessed (Gen 12-17). The people that Abraham’s descendants became were the Israelites, later called the Jewish Nation, or Jewish people.
As the Jewish people grow, generation by generation, they are blessed when they seek God, and face challenges when they turn from God. By the start of the second book, they have squandered their wealth and found themselves slaves to the rulers of the time, Egypt and the Pharaoh.
In the second book of the Bible, A man by the name of Moses was selected by God to lead His chosen people out of a life of slavery (Exodus 3-14). This story is such a story of strength of how God can use the unlikely person and do something incredible. After Moses led the people out of slavery, the Jews wandered in the wilderness. Through this journey where God was working hard for their hearts to turn to Him, He provided them a set of rules, what is commonly referred to as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). These commandments, laws and instructions showed the people how they could live with God and with each other (Exodus 20-23).
Over the next 38 books of the Old Testament (OT) the Bible weaves a story of blessing and hardship for God’s chosen people, the Jews. When the Jews would turn to God, the blessings were more than is possible by human standards, yet when they would turn away from a relationship with God the hardships would return. In the book of Daniel chapter 9 verses 8 – 11 a better description of the Israelites/Jewish people could not be more clearly stated:
8 To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you. 9 To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him 10 and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. 11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned aside, refusing to obey your voice. And the curse and oath that are written in the Law of Moses the servant of God have been poured out upon us, because we have sinned against him.
Sin, as a word in our culture is a hard concept, many inside the church and outside the church have heard this word spoken with such bluntness and accusation that it has left our culture seeing this word as one thing, evil. Sin, is simply when you a person chooses to fall short of the law’s standards. We will discuss Sin further, but not in a way to shame, condemn or even judge you; rather in a way to understand how the Bible uses this term, and it’s true purpose.
During the blessings and the hardships God was cultivating a bigger plan. This bigger plan was being laid out through different visions and dreams given to prophets and priests during the Old Testament (OT) time period.
These visions and dreams were outlining future events, and many focused on one event, they foretold of the coming King.
Kingdom established forever from the line of King David: In 2 Samuel 7:4-5,13-14 4 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 5 “Go and tell my servant David, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son.
1 Chron 17:3,12-14 3 But that same night the word of the Lord came to Nathan, 4 “Go and tell my servant David, 12 I will establish his throne forever. 13 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from him who was before you, 14 but I will confirm him in my house and in my kingdom forever, and his throne shall be established forever.
Mediator between man and God: Job 9:32-33 32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. 33 There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both.
Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon[d] his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.
Isaiah 35:4-10 4 Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God
will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; 6 then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; 7 the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes. 8 And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. 10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
The coming King was Prophesied/Foretold in some many ways (over 300 references of his coming, role, reign, and kingdom exist). These written accounts spanned centuries of history, and as you will read during the first four books of the New Testament, they all were fulfilled in Him, the coming King.
The biggest challenge of the coming King for many was the time, the centuries of waiting, the lives lived waiting can affect people, a lifetime spent patiently waiting, maintaining a strength of heart, and belief in a coming King, when the world around them was so challenging. Time has a challenging effect on people, we will look eagerly for something, but when time lags on, we can start to fill the perceived gaps with our own explanations, solutions, and life plans. This is something you may have found the most challenging if you have experienced a church environment that has turned you away from the message of the Bible – you see, people are flawed and when they speculate, create their own solutions, and their own plans this sometimes creates an environment and even teaching that is not the Word of God, the Bible.
The New Testament Begins
The first four books of the New Testament share a common story, the story of the coming King. Each of these accounts are written from the author’s personal account of the events as they occurred. When you reflect on the words foretold of the coming king, the long-held hope of the Jewish people had for centuries just waiting for the coming King cannot be underestimated.
The Jewish people had, by the first century, suffered from a history filled with struggle: The Jewish people were slaves under Egypt, then Babylon, and at this point were a scattered people under Roman rule. This long history of suffering as we go through the gospels is evident.
We will find in these accounts of the coming King a people filled with: Doubt in Who this King Is, Who the King Is Not, and the Purpose of His Arrival.
The first book, personally, was hard for me to follow, especially if you start reading the bible with the book of Matthew. The book starts out in a relatively confusing manner to a new reader. The first book in the New Testament, seems like a logical place to start, but the first chapter is confusing: A list of names – the family history of Jesus. The context of any section of a story is the important part. The Jewish people are a family-centered people, and the line of a person to a specific tribe of Israel was a mainstay in their culture. To speak of the birth of Jesus and to not express his family line, back to the father of the Jewish people, Abraham, would create doubt in the Jewish culture. This opening, speaks to the Jew who wonders who this Jesus is.
A king’s firstborn is such an important milestone in any kingdom. The birth is recorded as the point in time when the future of a kingdom is determined to those who are of the kingdom. The birth of the King that will unite all people into an everlasting kingdom that shall not be destroyed, foretold by vision of Daniel.
Daniel 7:13-14 13 “I saw in the night visions, and behold, with the clouds of heaven there came one like a son of man, and he came to the Ancient of Days and was presented before him. 14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
The birth of the King of the Jews didn’t come in the traditional way kings are born….
First, His birth of a Virgin.
Matthew 1:18-23 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ[e] took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed[f] to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
Second, the King is born in the most unlikely place
You may have heard this story at Christmas or seen a nativity scene in your past.
Luke 2:4-7 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
When the King was born, his mother and betrothed (fiance’) were completing a census. They were unable to get to a room and ended up in the equivalent of a barn at the time of his birth. The King born in a manger, a food trough for animals in the barn.
These items are hardly the way most lines of kingdoms continue. This King is unique and was born with a purpose. A purpose that doesn’t reside behind the gold, guards and towers of a traditional kingdom.
As the King grew, He grew in wisdom and stature.
Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
When Jesus reached the age of 30, He began His path to His Kingship. He didn’t begin His Kingdom with cheering fans, but with a simple humble action. Jesus went to a river, where a man by the name of John the Baptist was baptizing(submerging in water) people to cleanse them from sin. This simple gesture is not how a king is crowned, but rather the way a relationship starts with a humble friend, and we get to hear a proud Father.
Matthew 3:13-17 13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
There is a lot of new concepts presented here but let us start slowly. Baptism is a fancy word for Immersion in water, or more commonly to dunk the person fully. Righteousness does have the word ‘right’ in it, but the word means a ‘right relationship’ with God. Righteousness is not being right all the time but building a right relationship with God. I will only pause here to say, from the beginning the one thing God has wanted with us, his creation, is relationship. A relationship that is growing, alive and loving. The idea of sin, righteousness, and obedience are so much more than we understand. An example, what marriage is successful without challenges, mistakes, and love; no marriage is perfect, but it can be so fulfilling when it is filled with forgiveness, perseverance, caring for another more than yourself.
Secondly, we are introduced to the three distinct persons of God. Oh, this subject can be expanded on in so many ways, but just for a simple introduction. We see the King, Jesus, who is being baptized by John, who is also referred to as the beloved Son. Then we get the Holy Spirit, who in these verses is described like a dove descending down and resting on Jesus. Finally, we have the voice from Heaven, the Father that says He is well pleased. All of these concepts we will continue to be expanded on.
Matthew 4:17 17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” We have the first naming of His Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. Mark 1:15 is a parallel verse, meaning a moment of time that was recorded by one the other four writers of the story of Jesus. Mark’s verse says 15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand;[e] repent and believe in the gospel.” These simple words give us more instruction on what the Kingdom is about, it is a kingdom that asks for two things ‘repent’ and ‘believe in the gospel’.
We have touched on Sin in the Old Testament, but in Mark 1:15 we are clearly told to repent for this kingdom. Repent means to turn your heart away from what is distracting you, Sin. Sin, simply put, is a choice to pursue what separates us from a whole relationship. So, if we put these concepts together, first, Repentance (the action of repenting) is to turn your heart back to God and away from sin. Another way of saying this, Repentance is turning your heart back to the relationship and getting rid of the distractions(sins) that hurt the relationship.
The second is, for us, to believe in the gospel. Gospel is another bible word that simply means the good news. Remember, at this time, the Jewish people were trying to keep over 600 Jewish laws to be in right standing with God or Righteous. What could be better news than believe in the King, who has met all the prophecies, and come to save the world, and simply believe in what you hear?
This Belief in the gospel, when seen, is why a man named John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This will be confusing for most, but the way for centuries the Jewish people would repay for breaking the law was through the sacrifice of animals, like a Lamb, to God. Yes, in our modern times this seems barbaric, but recall the sacrifice of animals for your family’s dinner was a regular occurrence. The request to sacrifice an animal to the Almighty God for your mistakes was a custom easily understood, animals were easily converted currency, value and the work of many in raising. So, when John saw Jesus his expression of Him as the Lamb of God capable of taking away the sins of the world, what could be more perfect and complete sacrifice for sins?
As we go into the story of Jesus, An early encounter involved a Jewish Leader with a well-known verse, John 3:16-this is a good place to continue. Nicodemus was a leader among the Jews, and he has met privately with Jesus to learn who this Jesus is.
John 3:2-21 2 This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him.”
Rabbi is another word for teacher. The signs Jesus performed were what any person today would be called miracles.
3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
Here we have something interesting with the words Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, even a leader of the Jews found the concept presented to be challenging to understand. Despite all of Nicodemus’ study of the Old Testament, the words of Jesus (the gospel) was hard to understand when looked at through the world’s standards. Here Jesus is seen by Nicodemus as being with God (verse 2), yet Nicodemus struggles to look at the words of Jesus than anything different than words from a man. We have a inside track, as we were able to read of Jesus’ first action – his baptism in Matthew 3:16 ‘16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;’ Jesus shows us in his own actions that being born again is being born of water and the Spirit, and further tells Nicodemus that without being born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus continued…6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Jesus knowing the heart of Nicodemus continues to explain to Nicodemus what is holding him back. The bible uses the words flesh to express the worldly view of life and uses spirit to express the Kingdom /heavenly view (we will expand on this later). Nicodemus continues to try to put the words of Jesus in worldly terms, and understand the gospel this way:
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
This is where we have seen so many get hung up in the Word of God, including myself in the past. The Gospel is simple, but we try to complicate it. A relationship involves growing past ourselves, to step into the world of the person we want a relationship with. This is the challenge, to be a follower we must get outside of ourselves, and choose to put down our worldly views and learn about the King and His Kingdom. Jesus continues:
13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. (another name for Jesus) 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. 16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. 19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world (referring to Jesus), and people loved the darkness (worldly things) rather than the light (heavenly things) because their works were evil. 20 For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. 21 But whoever does what is true comes to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that his works have been carried out in God.”
Jesus introduces several concepts to Nicodemus here: First, verse 16, whoever believes in Jesus should not perish but have eternal life. Here we learn that life can be eternal, there is life after death, and it is possible in Jesus. Second, verse 17, Jesus is not here to condemn but to save the world, through belief in Him.
Those who followed Jesus continued to grow in number. Matthew 4:23-24 23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them.
Jesus brought his Kingship with teaching and proclaiming the gospel, the very elements that instruct followers on what His Kingdom is and what it will bring. The evidence of His Kingship was shown is his Healing, these signed proved to His followers His Kingdom was not of this world, but of Heaven. The next verses in Matthew 5 begin a well know teaching of His, the sermon on the mount. Jesus begins:
Matthew 5:3 3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. This language is unfamiliar to us, but the easier to understand version, blessed is the person who recognizes their spiritual poverty, their overarching need for God. The persons that understand the need for God receive His Kingdom. There is so much goodness in chapter 5, but the focus of our quick overview is How we become part of the Kingdom of Heaven. Verse 10 10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Here we are reminded of earlier in our study that righteousness is being in right relationship with God. When we are persecuted for having a right standing with God Almighty, we are citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven.
We also learn in these words of Jesus: He is here to fulfill the Law. Verse 17 17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” We learned previously in our study that the Law was to show the people what Sin was: not meeting the law. So, Jesus and His Gospel (good news) was the fulfillment of the Law, and the purpose of the law was to expose sin. We’ve also stated that sin is what separates us from God. Jesus continues in Chapter 5 to express practical ways we can be part of the kingdom, and ways we can be in right standing with God. One such way to be part of the kingdom, is understanding what the new King brings: the Kingdom of Heaven and with it, an entirely new way to live.
Matthew 5:43-48 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”
The Gospel or good news is based on one critical element: Love. 1 John 4:7-9 7 “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him.”
The difficulty with the Good News the Gospel and life in the Kingdom is you are choosing something that is counterculture: You are choosing to swim upstream against the flow of this world. Since Jesus came into this world, His impact has been evident, life is no longer about getting what you are owed, it is about giving your heart to Him. (Therefore, the problem is, the world doesn’t give up on you easily, so you have to be ready to fight.)
During the time of Jesus, the Pharisees and religious leaders opposed the message and impact of Jesus. The Jews during the first century were under the rule of the Roman empire, the only power positions that existed in the Jewish leadership were religious positions, and those that excelled in the Old Testament Law and study of it. Today, we are inundated with experts in different fields, like medicine, physics and law, and these experts achieve power in their deep understanding of a topic. The Jewish time was no different, and what threatens their power is a man, Jesus, who is teaching a better path.
In Mark 3:6 6 ”The Pharisees went out and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against Him, how to destroy Him”. The Pharisees were a Jewish sect that specialized in the study of the Old Testament Law, and they sought to kill Jesus due to his threat to their power.
The life of Jesus, and the introduction to His Kingdom brought threats to the power of religious leaders, and these threats only escalated when people began to follow Him. This is the hardship of following Jesus, the world doesn’t want to give up on you, and when you choose to follow Jesus.
In Matthew 16:21-28 we see that the threats of the religious leaders were bringing about a time that Jesus knew was coming. Jesus told his disciples (close followers). 21 From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”
24 Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 25 ”For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. 26 For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? 27 For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. 28 Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.”
What was Jesus telling his disciples? First, that Jesus would pay the ultimate price to offer people freedom and relationship with God. Peter, one of his close followers, was opposed to this, and ready to fight to keep the King safe. Jesus scolded Peter comparing him to Satan (so much more on this figure in deeper study) and telling Peter that he should be focusing on the things of God, not the things of man.
Jesus continued, that anyone who would follow Him must deny himself and take up his cross and follow after Him. A cross was an understood way of punishment by the Romans, the crucifixion. The crucifixion was the process of crossing timbers so you can affix both the arms and the legs of the person on the cross, then the person would be nailed by hands and feet to the cross. The final step of this process was for the person, if still living to hang, suspended in the air by their nailed hands and legs, and ultimately suffocate from the pain and pressure of trying to raise oneself up in order to gain breath in their lungs. The cross itself was two heavy wood timbers that would be carried by the person, to the site of their crucifixion (This example was used by Jesus to explain what complete surrender to Him can feel like when we choose to deny self and reject the world).
Jesus says: Matthew 11:29-30 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
A yoke is a weighted harness placed on cattle that would be used to pull a large cart or plow. This harness and the weight pulled are heavy, and therefore the burden is significant. Jesus tells us here to take his yoke upon you, learn from Him……His yoke is easy, and burden is light. When we choose to take on the weight of this world (all the things this world tells us we need to be, all the things we have to do and think to be significant), Verse 26 says 26 ” For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” These things are burdens that don’t give us strength, but weigh us down. When we take off the burdens of our selfishness and choose Jesus’ yoke, our life becomes easier and lighter.
Jewish leaders and experts try to challenge Jesus, Matthew 22:34-40 34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
Jesus when questioned by the Pharisees, He gave the two new commandments. These laws take into account the full ten commandments of the Old Testament, but most importantly they add more to the Law, as they added the heart. We are to love God and love others.
Jesus’ followers asked Him, what is coming in the Final Judgement, Jesus tells them
Matthew 25:31-46 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? 38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? 39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ 41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”
Jesus outlines to his followers, and to us, what will occur in the final judgement. The knowledge given to us, cannot be underestimated. Our heart and the actions of our hearts is what we will be judged by. Love the Lord and love others, the new commandments.
Matthew 26:1-4 When Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said to his disciples, 2 “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man will be delivered up to be crucified.” 3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people gathered in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and plotted together in order to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him.
The next day after Jesus was betrayed and arrested.
Matthew 27:1-2 When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death. 2 And they bound him and led him away and delivered him over to Pilate the governor.
Matthew 27:15-54 15 Now at the feast the governor was accustomed to release for the crowd any one prisoner whom they wanted. 16 And they had then a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. 17 So when they had gathered, Pilate said to them, “Whom do you want me to release for you: Barabbas, or Jesus who is called Christ?” 18 For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up. 19 Besides, while he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent word to him, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man, for I have suffered much because of him today in a dream.” 20 Now the chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowd to ask for Barabbas and destroy Jesus. 21 The governor again said to them, “Which of the two do you want me to release for you?” And they said, “Barabbas.” 22 Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said, “Let him be crucified!” 23 And he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Let him be crucified!”
24 So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man's blood; see to it yourselves.” 25 And all the people answered, “His blood be on us and on our children!” 26 Then he released for them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him to be crucified. 27 Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the governor's headquarters, and they gathered the whole battalion before him. 28 And they stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, 29 and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head and put a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 30 And they spit on him and took the reed and struck him on the head. 31 And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe and put his own clothes on him and led him away to crucify him.
32 As they went out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name. They compelled this man to carry his cross. 33 And when they came to a place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull), 34 they offered him wine to drink, mixed with gall, but when he tasted it, he would not drink it. 35 And when they had crucified him, they divided his garments among them by casting lots. 36 Then they sat down and kept watch over him there. 37 And over his head they put the charge against him, which read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” 38 Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. 39 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” 41 So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, 42 “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.
45 Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 47 And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” 48 And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. 49 But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” 50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.
51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”
Matthew 27:57-66 57 When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who also was a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then PIlate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen shroud 60 and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had cute in the rock. And he rolled a great stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away. 61 Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. 62 The next day, that is, after the day of Preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered before Pilate 63 and said, "Sir, we remember how that imposter said, while he was still alive, 'After three days I will rise.' 64 Therefore order the tomb to be made secure until the third day, lest his disciples go and steal him away and tell the people, 'He has risen from the dead,' and the last fraud will be worse than the first." 65 Pilate said to them, "You have a guard of soldiers. Go, make it as secure as you can." 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by sealing the stone and setting a guard.
After Three Days, Jesus Arose
Matthew 28:1-10 Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”
The Great Commission
Matthew 28:16-20 16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
The actions of the Followers (Apostles)
Acts 1:3-11 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9 And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. 10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, 11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
After the death of Jesus, and His Resurrection (coming back to life), the next event was the day of Pentecost. When this day came, Peter, an apostle (close selected follower) of Jesus Christ and eleven others went into the midst of the crowd of Jews who were gathered for the Jewish celebration. Peter went into the crowd and raised his voice and began to teach them about the Kingdom of Heaven.
Acts 2:14-47 14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above
and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ 22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’ 29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’ 36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. 42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe[d] came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.
Peter taught the Jews what they needed to do to be saved, from the beginning of Jesus’ ministry we were told Mark 1:15 “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.” This simple message is true even for those that were screaming for Jesus to be crucified, and it is true for us today. Belief in the gospel is understanding what Jesus was doing, and has now done. Jesus came to this earth, lived a sinless life, fulfilled the law, and established through His death and Resurrection a way for us to come into a right relationship with the Father, God, through what He (Jesus) did.
This started the fulfillment of the Kingdom of Heaven. This introduction to the Word of God is a blessing to be able to express to you. Included are several more examples of people who came to know Jesus, to repent from their actions and seek a true relationship with God.
The first of these is Saul. Saul was a dedicated Jew who studied the law. Saul spent time resisting and persecuting those who professed Jesus to be the foretold King. As this will account, Saul was called by Jesus, after his death and resurrection, to be an Apostle (close follower) and chosen speaker for spreading the gospel.
Acts 9:1-22 But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 3 Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. 4 And falling to the ground, he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” 5 And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 6 But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” 7 The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. 9 And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Ananias.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” 11 And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” 13 But Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. 14 And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; 19 and taking food, he was strengthened. For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. 20 And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” 21 And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” 22 But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.
Saul was renamed by Jesus as Paul, the Apostle. Paul was called to speak the truth and share the Gospel (good news of Jesus) to the Gentiles. Why is this significant? Because most who read this story are Gentiles. During all the previous examples given, the people who were spoken to, and shared the Gospel were Jews. As most Americans are not Jews, so a legitimate concern of a person that is not of Jewish decent would be, “Can I be saved, repent, and come into relationship with God?” As Paul’s story outlines, all peoples that are not Jews are referred to as Gentiles, and Gentiles are included. So all people, whether Jew or Gentile can pursue God and be part of the Kingdom of Heaven.
In Acts, Peter outlines the life of Jesus, and the fact that now Gentiles (all peoples) could come to Jesus, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Acts 10:34-48 34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (He is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” 44 While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word. 45 And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles. 46 For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 47 “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.
Paul and Barnabas (followers of Jesus Christ) speaking to Jews about the inclusion of Gentiles in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Acts 13:46-49 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.
There are so many more things to be outlined from the Bible. We have only provided a brief introduction. The writings after the book of Acts in the Bible is written to Christians, followers of Christ. It outlines ways we can grow closer in relationship with God.