Welcome back to week 2 of our bible shorts. This week we are going to talk a bit about Jesus. Everyday there is a bit of the bible for you read and a short explanation to help you. We hope you enjoy finding out some more about our incredible Saviour, Creator, Messiah, King and friend.
Genesis 1:1- 3 says this; “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. And God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.”
And John 1:1-5 tells us this; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”
In the very first verse, of the very first chapter, of the very first book of the Bible we read that God made everything. God is like us in some ways (Genesis goes on to tell us about how He made people in His likeness) but in some other ways God is very different from us. You see God is not just one person He is three ‘persons’ yet still only one God. It’s a bit complicated to get your head around but this is what we call The Trinity. God the Father, God the Holy Spirit (we’ll learn more about Him in week four) and Jesus, whom John chapter 1 refers to as The Word. We could spend a very long time talking about just these 2 scriptures but you probably have lots of other things you want to do today so let’s just focus on this for now; Jesus (aka The Word) was there at the very beginning of time and He made everything that you see and hear and smell and touch. The whole universe was made by Him and for Him. And that includes you!
Both of today’s texts also talk about light. Spend a few minutes thinking about what happens to darkness when the light shines. Why do you think Jesus is called The Light of the world?
Hebrews 1:1-3 says “In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven”
We are just the luckiest! We were born with a date with an AD on the end instead of a BC. BC means before Christ whereas AD stands for anno domini, which is Latin for in the year of our Lord. BC (in the Old Testament) God would speak to people through leaders called Prophets – they were like messengers. But then everything changed. Jesus came into the world that He had made. He became a man to show us first-hand exactly what God is like. Now we don’t have to rely on special people to pass on the message – we can all know God for ourselves! Jesus is like us because He became a human being with thoughts and feelings and hair-growth and siblings and all the other stuff we face in life. But Jesus is also exactly like God – pure and Holy and powerful and completely good. Not only did He make the world but He keeps the whole thing going – every day that dawns, every meal you eat, every breath you breathe is a gift from Him. Why don’t you tell Him today how thankful you are?
John 1:14 tells us “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
And Luke 1:26-35 says “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants for ever; his kingdom will never end.’ ‘How will this be,’ Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin? ’The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.”
Happy Christmas! We talked a bit yesterday about how Jesus became a man and stepped into the world so that we could know what God is like – but this is how He did it; He didn’t come as a member of a royal family or a celebrity with tons of money – He became a tiny, weak, helpless baby born to a young, unmarried, ordinary girl. He was born in a smelly stable in a small insignificant town where He slept in a feeding trough surrounded by animals. His teenage mum and her fiancé were forced to flee for their lives to a foreign country because the king wanted to kill their child. Seriously?! Why did He choose to do it that way? Jesus who is surrounded by all the light and colour and worship of Heaven chose to leave it all. He wanted to show God’s love to the kids without dads and the people without homes. He wanted to make God real to single mums and to refugees. He wanted to make friends with those without a good education (like the Shepherds) and those who were searching for truth (like the wise men). There is nothing you have been through that Jesus doesn’t understand. God Himself stepped into our dark, sad, broken world and showed that we could swap with Him for all of the light, freedom and glory of His home. Now that is a good Christmas present wouldn’t you say?!
Just for fun sing your favourite Christmas carol!
In Matthew 11:2-5 we read; “When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples to ask him, ‘Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?’ Jesus replied, ‘Go back and report to John what you hear and see: the blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor.”
The Jews knew, because of the BC prophets, that God was going to send a Messiah (from the Hebrew meaning chosen one) to save them. John, Jesus’ cousin, recognised that Jesus was this chosen one, or Christ (which comes from the Greek word for Messiah) – but when things got tough and he ended up in prison for telling people about Jesus, he started to doubt. He sent a message to Jesus asking him if He really was the Saviour. Jesus replied to John telling him all about the things that were happening… everywhere Jesus went sick people were healed, dead people were brought back to life and people were hearing the gospel – the good news about how they could be forgiven and made friends again with God. This was what the Old Testament said the Messiah would do – so basically Jesus’ answer was “Yes, I am God’s promised chosen one!” The Bible is full of stories where Jesus healed sick bodies and minds. Jesus set people free who were trapped in addictions and fear and shame. Jesus showed people the way back to God. And He still does.
Are there any places in your life where you need Jesus to do a miracle?
This from Mark 15:25-39; “It was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The written notice of the charge against him read: the king of the jews.
They crucified two rebels with him, one on his right and one on his left. Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads and saying, ‘So! You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, come down from the cross and save yourself!’ In the same way the chief priests and the teachers of the law mocked him among themselves. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘but he can’t save himself! Let this Messiah, this king of Israel, come down now from the cross, that we may see and believe.’ Those crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
At noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?’ (which means ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’). When some of those standing near heard this, they said, ‘Listen, he’s calling Elijah.’ Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. ‘Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down,’ he said.
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’”
There He hung. His body beaten up and bruised. His friends had all run away. Those all around Him cursing and accusing Him. The One who had made the world – the Only Son of God. The One who had never broken God’s laws, who had never sinned, hung on a cross beside criminals. He took all our sin and shame on Himself. He took all the punishment we deserved. And the sky went dark as God turned away – He couldn’t look at all the darkness and evil that covered His Beautiful Son. Jesus was left completely alone. But as He gave up His life something happened…. in the middle of the temple (a special building where the Jews worshipped God), in a little room called the Holy of Holies (which represented where God lived) a great big curtain that was supposed to keep the people out, separate from where God was, was ripped in half from the top to the bottom! Because Jesus died on the cross all the things that kept us out, stopped us from knowing God are torn up, ripped in pieces like that curtain. Because Jesus was hurt we can be healed. Because Jesus was hurt we can be healed. Because Jesus was punished we can be forgiven. Because Jesus was forsaken we can be friends with God. Because Jesus died we can live forever. I know I’ve used a lot of words today but when I look at what Jesus did I am left quite speechless.
Find a piece of paper to write down some of the things you have done that stopped you being friends with God, then rip the paper up and throw it in the bin. Thank Jesus that He took it all so you could be forgiven.
Matthew 28:1-8 says this; “After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men. The angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: “He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.” Now I have told you.’ So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples.”
For 2 days Jesus friends hid and grieved. It had all gone wrong – their Messiah, the one who they thought had come to save them, to be their promised King had been arrested, brutally beaten and subjected to the most horrendous death imaginable. What had gone wrong? Had they misunderstood Him? Had they gone a bit crazy or eaten a dodgy prawn and imagined the whole thing? They were heartbroken, confused and disappointed. But then on the morning of the third day some of the women went to the tomb to put perfume on Jesus’ body. When they arrived, they found the tomb was empty - His body was gone! You see not even death could contain King Jesus – we call this the Resurrection which means He came back to life. Over the days that followed Jesus appeared and talked to over 500 people. Jesus’ resurrection changed everything for them. And for us. The fact that Jesus came back to life proves that He is who He claimed to be. The fact that He is alive means that we can know Him as our friend and Saviour and King.
Makes me want to do a little dance to celebrate! You can join me, or if dancing is not your thing find another way to thank and worship God. You could sing or shout or draw something, find a way to celebrate that Jesus is alive!
Acts 1:1-11 “In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: ‘Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’ Then they gathered round him and asked him, ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’ He said to them: ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. ‘Men of Galilee,’ they said, ‘why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.’
Theophilus is such a great name don’t you think? Luke wrote the book of Acts in the bible as a letter to Theophilus to tell the next bit of the story after Jesus died and rose again. Jesus’ friends got to spend 40 more days with Him before the time came for Him to go back to His Father in Heaven. Jesus’ friends, sometimes called the disciples (which means they were His students), wanted to know the plan. How was Jesus going to become King of the world? Jesus told them they couldn’t know all the details of God’s plan but that they should wait for God to send them a very special gift. It was a bit like waiting in for an Amazon delivery when you are not sure when it’s coming. The disciples didn’t realise that God’s plan to take over the world was them! He was going to send His Holy Spirit to live inside each one of them so that they would go and tell the whole world about Jesus. The disciples watched in amazement as Jesus lifted off – up into the sky. They couldn’t believe their eyes - they just stood there watching the clouds. Two men in white, who I suspect were angels, asked them why they were looking up – did they not realise Jesus was gone for now but, they said, one day He will come back.
Nobody knows when Jesus will return – it could be tomorrow or in a thousand years, but if Jesus came back today what would you say to Him?