Have you heard the song? "Tell me the story of Jesus. Write on my heart every word. Tell me the story most precious. Sweetest that ever was heard."
Is there any story as sweet and as precious as the story of Jesus? If you went to the bookstore, it is a story you will not find in the fictional section. It is a story you will not find in the fantasy section. It is not a story you will find in the self-help section. It is in fact a love story. It is a story of God who so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. It is a story of tremendous sacrifice for a people who did not deserve it. It is a true story about God’s love for you and me.
Let me tell you the story of Jesus...
What we have in the above verse is what is called a Messianic prophecy. It is a prediction about the Messiah whom the New Testament identifies as Jesus.
The verse says that the One who was to be born in Bethlehem and be ruler of Israel is from everlasting. If you turn to the book of Matthew which is one of four books which tells us the story of Jesus, you will read in Matthew 2.1,2, "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, 'Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.'"
When these wise men who came from the East asked about the One "who has been born King of the Jews," Herod was disturbed. He was troubled about the possibility of a king, so he sought out scholars and asked them the same thing that the wise men asked him.
In Matthew 2.5,6, we read their response to Herod: "So they said to him, 'In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a Ruler who will shepherd My people Israel.'" These scholars reference Micah 5.2 as the passage that told them where Jesus could be found. Put these two passages together.
The New Testament puts it this way: John 1.1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”
Then in John 1.14, it says that this Word "became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Who is the only begotten of the Father? According to 1 John 4.2, "By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God." Notice in the context of 1 John 4, we are reading about Jesus. Then you come down to 1 John 4.9, and Jesus is described as "His only begotten Son."
Summary: In the beginning was the Word who was with God as a separate being, and was God in that He was deity. This Word became flesh and is identified as the only begotten of the Father. The only begotten of the Father is identified as Jesus.
Before He became flesh, He was with God and was God. Jesus is from everlasting. Jesus said the same thing of Himself in John 6.38, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me."
Just before Jesus died, as He was praying to God, He said in John 17.5, "And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."
The story of Jesus begins with Jesus being deity who existed as God before He was born.
Before Jesus was born, He existed in heaven as the Word, as deity. But as was the plan of God, the story of Jesus continues with Him being born as a man.
Jesus stepped away from His home in heaven, then traversed the vast chasm between the spiritual realm and the physical realm. By the Holy Spirit, He was planted in the womb of a young virgin woman named Mary. In her womb, the Word, who is God, grew and developed. He grew arms and legs and fingers and toes, and was born into this world as a human being. In Matthew 1.21-25, He was given the name Jesus.
In Isaiah 53.2, you will find a well-known reference to Jesus. Here is a man who would grow up with God watching over Him. As He grew up, He was not strong and commanding in stature. He was not handsome in appearance.
In Acts 8, you will read of a man known as an Ethiopian Eunuch. This was a man who was a cabinet member of the Queen of Africa. He was returning to North Africa from Jerusalem. He was either a Jew or a proselyte. He had gone to Jerusalem to worship and now was on his way back home. We can read about that in verses 27,28.
Philip, as instructed by the Holy Spirit, went to meet this Ethiopian Eunuch. As it turned out, this man happened to be reading the story of Jesus from Isaiah 53, although he did not understand what he was reading. This man asked Philip who Isaiah was writing about? Philip responded in Acts 8.35, "Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him."
Philip told this Ethiopian Eunuch that Isaiah 53 was referring to Jesus. According to Isaiah 53...
In Romans 1.3, Paul opens up his letter by writing, "concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh."
John says in 1 John 1.1:
Jesus put it this way in John 6.53, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in you."
Now the spiritual meaning, the symbolism, is later explained by Jesus in verse 63, but just to make the point, Jesus refers to Himself as having flesh and blood.
When you start reading the Bible from Genesis, you don't get very far before you read that Adam was formed from the dust of the ground. Then in Genesis 3.19, God said to Adam, “For dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
In Ecclesiastes 12.7, Solomon said, "Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it."
Man is a spirit being who is housed in a physical body formed from the dust of the ground. When the spirit of man is separated from the physical body, the physical body dies. James wrote in James 2.26, that "the body without the spirit is dead." So the Bible tells us that there will come a time when the spirit will leave the body and the body will die.
The Bible tells us that this same thing happened to Jesus.
The story of Jesus tells of Jesus dying with His spirit leaving His body.
Jesus is a spiritual being. In John 4.24, it says that "God is Spirit," referring to the Father. The same description can be made in reference to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.
Jesus as a deistic, spiritual being left His home in heaven, and was infused into an embryo in the womb of a young virgin woman, developed and grew, came out of the womb, and lived among men as as man for 33 years.
As the story of Jesus continues, on the cross, this deistic, spiritual being who then occupied a physical body shouts out, “It is finished,” and then leaves the body, and the body dies.
Where did His spirit go? While on the cross, Jesus said to the thief who was also on a cross, “Today you will be with Me in Paradise” (Luke 23.43). When Jesus died, He went to a place called Paradise. In keeping with the divine plan, He remained there for three days. The story of Jesus picks up again after the three days. When these three days had ended, Jesus as a spirit being left Paradise and was infused back into His body, and His body came back to life.
When we first read this passage, you and I do not know the full meaning of what this passage says until we come to the New Testament and read Acts 2.
In Acts 2.31, Peter is guided by the Holy Spirit and tells the story of Jesus. In doing so, he refers back to this verse in Psalm 16.10. We read in Acts 2.31, "he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption." Through inspiration, Peter says that David, in Psalm 16.10, was writing about the resurrection of Christ.
The deistic spiritual being who is Jesus the Christ was in a place called Paradise, a part of the Hadean world, a place where Lazarus went in Luke 16. However, Jesus did not remain there. His body did not see corruption. It did not deteriorate and return to dust because Jesus was put back into the body, and He got up and walked out of the tomb.
Jesus Himself said it was going to happen. In Matthew 12, Jesus used Jonah and the big fish as an analogy and said, "For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. 12.40).
Notice this passage in John 2.19-22: "Jesus answered and said to them, 'Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.' Then the Jews said, 'It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?' But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said."
In John 2, Jesus called everyone’s attention to the temple of Herod. He said that the temple would be destroyed, and in three days He would raise it up. The people thought He was talking about the temple. They said that it took 40 years to build this temple, and Jesus was claiming to rebuild it in three days? John added commentary saying that Jesus was talking about His body.
Jesus said that just as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish, so He will be in the ground three days. Jesus said, you can take this body and tear it down and try to destroy it, but He is going to come back in three days.
That's why He could be with His disciples and display Himself to them. We read in John 20.27, "Then He said to Thomas, 'Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing.'"
For 40 days, Jesus would interact with the people in His life. He would open up the understanding of His disciples so they could know the story of Jesus as it was foretold in the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms. In Acts 1, we read that He spoke things concerning the kingdom of God. Then at a specific time in Galilee, as He was with a small number of disciples, Jesus was taken into the heavens and into Heaven itself where He was given a place to sit at the right hand of God.
We have to be very careful because the words in the verse above will go right over our heads.
We can read about Melchizedek in Genesis 14, but what does this mean? We don't know the significance of Melchizedek until we come to the New Testament to the book of Hebrews. Hebrews, by the way, is the only book in the New Testament that calls Jesus a High Priest.
We read in Hebrews 6.19,20, "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek."
What these verses tell me is that in the story of Jesus, He has entered the presence of God and has become our High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek. That leads into chapter 7, where it talks about Melchizedek only to make this point in Hebrews 7.4: "Now consider how great this man was, to whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils."
Everything that we read about in reference to Melchizedek in Hebrews 7 is to point out that this was a great man. And in doing so, a comparison is made. Jesus is compared to him. This Jesus came and lived as a man, He went back to heaven, and now this great Man is our High Priest forever.
That's why we can read in Hebrews 2.17, "Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people."
Right now, Jesus is at the right hand of God serving as a High Priest for you and me. Right now, He is talking to God on our behalf. Right now, He is serving as our advocate as One who can relate to us and sympathize with us, having lived on this earth facing temptation Himself.
It is in this role as High Priest that we read in 1 John 2.1, "My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
Also in Hebrews 7.25, we read, "Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."
This Jesus is deity who came down to live as a man, who died as a man, and shed His own blood, and He did it for you and for me.