As Easter approaches, we are entering the season in which we commemorate the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am often asked from friends and family who do not yet have a relationship with Jesus how he was different from other men who have walked on this earth and why he was chosen to bring salvation to mankind.
When we share our beliefs about Jesus and the gospel with others, I think it is important to explain why Jesus was the only person who could have been sent here for the task of saving mankind. Though I am far from a Biblical scholar, I usually begin my explanation by starting in the first book of the Bible.
The book of Genesis contains a verse that is known as the Proto-Evangelium. It is located in Gen. 3:15 and means ‘the first gospel’ (broken down in Latin from the word proto or protos, meaning first, and the word evangelium, referring to the Good News of Salvation or the Gospel). It reads, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” This passage deserves attention because a message of hope and mercy is delivered within it.
Although God is about to handout punishment, he tells of his creation having offspring in the future. It also contains a promise of redemption; this special verse contains the first Biblical mention of God’s plan of salvation for mankind through the seed of the woman and someone who will crush the head of the serpent.
The promised Messiah, the savior of the world, would be born of a woman. Isaiah 7: 14 adds, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (God with us).” Within these scriptures we begin to see that God’s only begotten Son, Jesus, was the fail-safe plan of redemption for all of us.
In his youth, it is obvious that Jesus was learning about his Fathers business, so that he would be well prepared for his Life when it began. All throughout his Life we learn how wise and powerful Jesus was and that is why the Pharisees feared him. They could not compete with Jesus on a spiritual level because of his vast knowledge and wisdom of spiritual matters, and also because the Father’s anointing of the Holy Spirit was on him.
Jesus was God’s chosen vessel for a very important mission and God Himself promised to fulfill this mission. That is why God’s plan had to be perfect, just as He is; our Father would not have left this mission up to chance. But Jesus was human, bore all the emotions that we feel and he also had free will.
Jesus knew what his mission was because he was so well versed in the sacred scrolls and knew that the Prophet Isaiah was speaking of him in Isaiah52 – 53. He knew that his suffering at the hand of the Romans would cause “his appearance disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness,” (Isaiah 52:14).
He knew that he would be spat upon, mocked, beaten, humiliated, rejected, flogged, wounded, bruised, oppressed and afflicted with a slash in his side and nails in his hands and feet.
It would take all that he had to submit to this torture, as a lamb led to the slaughter. As the time of the crucifixion drew near, the weight of all this took its toll on our Lord and he withdrew to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. Luke 22:42-44 shows Jesus praying to the Father saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Your will be done. Then an angel appeared to him from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony, he prayed more earnestly. Then his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” I feel that this is the breaking point where most people would have definitely opted out of the mission, but not Jesus, even though he agonized over it.
So, how did our heavenly Father know that Jesus would fulfill the mission he was sent for? This is a question I had prayed about and asked God to show me the answer in scripture, so that I could understand it better and share with others when they ask me questions specifically about Jesus and his mission.
God directed me to several scriptures that provided the answer I was looking for.
One Scripture that powerfully impacted me was Isaiah 55:11, which states, “So shall My Word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void. But it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” God was letting me know that His Word will always fulfill its purpose.
As Christians, we know from John 1:12-14, that God sent us His Word in the flesh, through Jesus: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor the will of man, but of God. And the 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.”
Our Father knew that there was only one way to complete the important mission of salvation for mankind – and that was by sending Jesus Christ – the Word of God. God clearly lets us know that His Word will not return to Him void, period.
Whatever He states by His word will be completed… The job will always get finished. The mission of salvation of mankind was not dependent on human will to be completed. God sent Himself, in the flesh as Jesus Christ, the Word of God, fully knowing what would happen to Him here– He did it because He loves us so much.
We have an amazing example of what is stated in Isaiah 55:11, seeing full circle the completion of what God’s word was sent out to do – through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ – the Word of God…the perfect salvation plan.