December 3 I Friday
1 John 2
“…who as to His earthly life was a descendant of David, and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.” —Romans 1:3-4
What is the substance of the gospel? The substance is completely and unequivocally the person of Jesus Christ. It is not a philosophy, a doctrine, a religion, a great teacher or even a role model to follow, but Jesus Christ Himself is the embodiment of the Christian gospel.
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he writes, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2). Paul did not preach Christianity or a lifestyle, but he came with only one message about a person, Jesus Christ—who He is and what He did. Christianity will never be understood until we realize that it centers wholly on the person of Jesus Christ, which is what separates Him from every other religious leader.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). He also said, “I am the light of the world (John 8:12), I am the bread of life (John 6:35), I am the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).” Everything Jesus taught was about Himself, and His invitation is, “Come to Me and abide in Me.” In other words, “Do not go to My teachings, but live in a right relationship with Me and I will be everything you need.” For that to be realized Jesus has to be alive, which is why Christianity either falls or stands on the basis of His resurrection.
Over the years, the resurrection of Christ has been disputed by various theories, none of which have materialized, but what has never been disputed is the empty tomb. In 1 Corinthians 15:14, Paul writes, “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” Then he adds, “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead” (1 Corinthians 15:20). Scripture records not only the disciples of Christ being the only witnesses to His resurrection, but Paul tells us that Jesus appeared to more than 500 brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom were still living when he wrote his letter (1 Corinthians 15:6).
As a man on earth, Jesus Christ was both divine and human. He was a descendent of David, born into this world and subject to all the temptations we are. He was raised in a family, was schooled, worked, played, ate, slept, rejoiced and wept—all of which speaks of His humanity. Paul then writes, “who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection” (Rom 1:4). This speaks of the deity of Christ. While Jesus lived on earth, He was never less than God, but He lived as though He was never more than man. The substance of the gospel is entirely Jesus Christ who, by His life, death and resurrection, has reconciled humanity to God.
Prayer: Precious Lord, thank You for having died for me and, by your Spirit, becoming all that I need. You are my life, and I love You, Lord.