Jesus: the promise
The Old Testament tells us that we humans were created in the image of God. It wasn't long before we humans sinned and were driven out of paradise. But with the word of the court came a word of promise. God said: «I want to put enmity between you (Satan) and the woman and between your seed and her seed; he (Jesus) will crush your head and you will (Jesus) stab in the heel » (Genesis 1:3,15). A liberator of Eva's descendants would come to save the people.
No solution in sight
Eva probably hoped that her first child would be the solution. But Cain was part of the problem. Sin spread and it got worse. There was a partial release in the time of Noah, but the sin prevailed. There was the sin of Noah's grandson and then of Babel. Humanity continued to have problems, hoping for something better, but never reaching it.
Some important promises were given to Abraham. But he died before he got all the promises. He had a child, but no land, and he was not a blessing to all nations. The promise was passed on to Isaac and later to Jacob. Jacob and his family came to Egypt and became a big nation, but they were enslaved. Nevertheless, God remained faithful to his promise. God brought them out of Egypt with spectacular miracles. The nation of Israel continued to fall short of the promise. Miracles did not help, as well as keeping the laws. They sinned, doubted, and roamed 40 in the desert for years. God remained faithful to his promise and brought the people into the land of Canaan, and by many miracles he gave them the land.
They were still the same sinful people, and the book of judges shows us some of the sins of the people, for it always fell into idolatry. How could they ever be a blessing to other nations? Finally, God had the northern tribes of Israel taken captive by the Assyrians. One might think that would have helped the Jew to repentance, but it did not.
God left the Jews captive in Babylon for many years, and then only a small portion of them returned to Jerusalem. The Jewish nation became a shadow of its former self. They were no better off in the Promised Land than in Egypt or Babylon. They groaned, "Where is the promise God made to Abraham? How will we be a light for the nations? How will the promise to David be fulfilled if we can not control ourselves?
Under Roman rule, people were disappointed. Some gave up hope. Some joined underground resistance movements. Others tried to be more religious and to appreciate God's blessing.
A glimmer of hope
God began to fulfill his promise with an illegitimate child. "See, a virgin will be pregnant and give birth to a son, and they will give him the name Immanuel, which means translated: God with us" (Matthew 1,23) He was first called Jesus - with the Hebrew name "Yeshua", which means God will save us.
Angels told the shepherds that a Savior was born in Bethlehem (Luke 2,11). He was the savior, but he didn't save anyone at that moment. He even had to be saved himself because the family had to flee to save the child from Herod, the King of the Jews.
God had come to us because he remained faithful to his promises, and he is the foundation of all our hopes. The history of Israel shows time and again that human methods do not work. We can not achieve God's purpose by our own efforts. God thinks of tiny beginnings, of spiritual instead of physical strength, of victory in weakness rather than power.
When God gave us Jesus, he fulfilled his promises and brought with him everything he had foretold.
We know that Jesus grew up to give his life as a ransom for our sins. He brings forgiveness and is the light of day. He has come to defeat the devil and death himself by defeating him after his death and resurrection. We can see how Jesus fulfills God's promises.
We can see much more than the Jews about 2000 years ago, but we still do not see everything. We do not yet see every promise fulfilled. We still do not see Satan chained up where he can not seduce anyone. We do not yet see that every human knows God. We do not yet see the end of weeping and tears, dying and death. We still want the final answer. In Jesus we have hope and certainty to achieve this.
We have a promise that came from God, confirmed by His Son and sealed by the Holy Ghost. We believe that all that is promised will come true and that Christ will complete the work that he has begun. Our hope is beginning to bear fruit and we are confident that all promises will be fulfilled. As we found hope and promise of salvation in the child Jesus, we expect hope and promise of perfection in the risen Jesus. This applies to the growth of the kingdom of God and also to the work of the church, in every single man.
Hope for ourselves
When people come to believe in Christ, their work begins to grow in you. Jesus said that we should all be born again, this happens when we believe in Him, then the Holy Spirit overshadows us and creates a new life in us. As Jesus promised, He comes to life in us. Someone once said, "Jesus could be born a thousand times, and it would not do me any good if he was not born in me."
We could look at ourselves and think, "I do not see much here, I'm not much better than 20 years ago, I still struggle with sin, doubt and guilt, I'm still selfish and stubborn, I'm not better at it, to be a God-fearing person, as the ancient people of Israel, I wonder if God really does anything in my life, it does not seem like I've made any progress. "
The answer is to remember Jesus. Our spiritual beginning does not seem to be good right now, but it is because God says it is good. What we have in us is just a down payment. It is a beginning and it is a guarantee of God Himself. The Holy Spirit in us is a down payment of the coming glory.
Luke tells us that the angels were singing when Jesus was born. It was a moment of triumph, though people could not see it that way. The angels knew the victory was certain because God had told them.
Jesus tells us that the angels rejoice when a sinner repents. They sing for every person who comes to believe in Christ because a child of God was born. He will take care of us. Although our spiritual life is not perfect, God will continue to work in us until he completes his work in us.
Just as there is great hope for the baby Jesus, there is great hope in the newborn Christian baby. No matter how long you are a Christian, there is tremendous hope for you, for God has invested in you. He will not give up the work he has begun. Jesus is the proof that God always keeps his promises.
by Joseph Tkach