He Is The Way And The Truth
Some of those who followed Jesus most closely felt from the beginning that He was the promised Messiah, in whom God lived to accomplish His purpose on earth. Others came to realize this truth as their understanding was opened. They saw in every detail of Jesus’ life the fulfillment of prophecy. Some of them heard the voice from heaven at the Jordan River and the announcement of John the Baptist. They listened to His marvelous teachings. They saw Him work great miracles. They felt in their hearts the presence and the love that came from God in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
But these followers of Jesus were people, very much like us. They had questions. Jesus spoke of His suffering and death for the redemption of people from sin. This was hard to understand. How could God redeem people through Jesus? Why would God permit suffering, humiliation, and death? How could the penalty for sin be paid once and forever, for all mankind? As He continued preaching, teaching, working miracles, and quoting from the prophets, Jesus gradually revealed to His followers His true nature. He said, “God works and I work.” That is, God was living in Him for the purpose of revealing a special work. Because of His sinless life, Jesus fulfilled every aspect of God’s law. Pure, obedient, and totally submitted to the will of God, He had no sin of His own to be covered; He fulfilled the requirements for righteous living. As the sinless One, He offered Himself as the Lamb of God, the Perfect Substitute for man’s sin. That work was the redemption of mankind, as promised by Isaiah. God was in Jesus, the Messiah, reconciling man to Himself. Jesus explained that He would be put to death and would rise again in order to complete the plan of salvation.
“Trust in Me,” He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.”
The events of His life soon brought greater understanding of His words. The chief religious rulers brought false accusations against Jesus the Messiah and arranged to have Him crucified. Their proud and rebellious hearts were not willing to accept this mystery of Jesus the Messiah for what it was-a revelation of mercy from God. They treated Him as an ordinary man and therefore accused Him of blasphemy for claiming to be the Savior of mankind.
You see, the religious leaders were concerned only about outward, earthly appearance and conditions.
They had no time for what seemed to them like foolish teachings about changing the condition of the soul.
Actually, their minds were shackled by the customs and rituals which they themselves had devised. So they decided to eliminate forever this Messiah who had exposed their hypocrisy.
Of course Jesus could have escaped by miraculous power, but He gave Himself willingly. He did this in order to accomplish His purpose, and every event proceeded according to God’s divine plan of redemption. As the prophets had said, He went like a silent lamb being led to sacrifice.
Those who did executions for the government put Jesus the Messiah on a cross, as this was the customary procedure for execution at that time. Two thieves were placed on crosses beside Him, and this fulfilled the prophecy that He would die among the wicked, even though He was without guilt One of the thieves repented and asked forgiveness. So even as Jesus the Messiah suffered, He spoke peace to the penitent one. Also, He spoke other words of forgiveness and love. His manner of 16 sacrifice and the supernatural signs which accompanied it fulfilled every prophecy. His body was taken by a wealthy man, was placed in a stone tomb, and the tomb was sealed by the government officials.
On the morning of the third day alter Jesus the Messiah had given His life as the Perfect Sacrifice, His body arose from the dead, just as He had foretold The religious leaders thought they had eliminated Jesus the Messiah, but God foiled their scheme. Jesus the Messiah, though He suffered the experience of being a sacrifice, was raised alive victoriously, to remain triumphant forever. The death of the body indicated the humiliating suffering of God’s Spirit as the sacrifice was made in order to redeem mankind, His greatest creation, whom He loved so deeply. Now the act of redemption was complete! The great Perfect Sacrifice had been offered. A miracle had taken place to affect forever the affairs of mankind.
After it was discovered that the tomb was empty, some of the followers of Jesus the Messiah met Him in His resurrected body. He walked with them and talked about the prophets. “Do not be slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken,” He said, “Jesus the Messiah had to suffer in the way He has, and then enter His glory.” Beginning with Moses, He explained what all the prophets had said about Himself.
The men who heard Him felt the truth burning into their hearts. They more clearly understood that the suffering and resurrection of Jesus the Messiah was indeed God’s plan of redemption as foretold by the prophets. They were so excited about what they had learned that they hurried to the city to tell their friends. “It is true,” they shouted, “Jesus the Messiah has risen from the dead!”
After that, Jesus the Messiah appeared to several others. He showed them His resurrected body, and said again, “Everything must be fulfilled that is written about Me in the Torah, the Prophets, and the Zabur.”
Then He opened their minds so that they could understand the Scriptures. He told them to go and proclaim to all people the message of repentance, forgiveness, and redemption from sin-all provided by God, the Redeemer, manifested in Jesus the Messiah. This is the Good News, the Injil, the Gospel, that is to be expounded to all the world.
Jesus the Messiah was taken up into heaven where He remains alive. His followers were filled with confidence and joy. Their questions had been answered. The person and work of Jesus the Messiah were indeed the fulfillment of all prophecy.