Continued from last month

 

          I hope you remember the true story about Jesus with which we concluded last month's issue of The Traveler. It was from the 24th chapter of the Book of Luke in the New Testament portion of the Bible.  If you don't remember the story, please take a few minutes to review it. It's very important you get a feel for that story before you read any further.

 

          To continue our thinking about finding Jesus in every Book of the Bible, We're going to refer now to a book in the Old Testament portion of the Bible, the book written by a man named Daniel approximately 600-700 years before the time of Jesus.  Many of you are familiar with the story in that book about how three friends of Daniel wouldn't bow and worship a great statue erected by the king of Babylon.  To make a long story short, Daniel's three friends were given the death penalty for not worshiping the statue; the penalty was for them to be tied up and hurled alive into an extremely hot furnace, there to die a very excruciating death.

 

          As with many death penalty executions in some parts of the world there were witnesses to the execution. In this case, the king chose to be one of the witnesses.  As he peered into the furnace, not only were the three men alive in the fiery flames, but there was a fourth man walking and talking with them! The king was dumbfounded, stating that the fourth man looked like the "Son of man."  The king got as near to the flames as he could and yelled at the three young men to come out of the furnace. They came out alive and well with not even the smell of smoke on them!

 

Jesus Throughout the Bible

 

          There are many things that could be written about this incident, but I want to point out just one. When Jesus began his public ministry at age 30, He was known as the "Son of Man" and even referred to Himself by that title.  Many believe the fourth man in the furnace was, indeed, Jesus, in a mysterious appearance before he was born to Mary 600-700 years later. There are a number of instances similar to that throughout the Old Testament . . . centuries and years before Mary gave birth to Jesus.

 

          The Old Testament tells of a number of occasions before the birth of Jesus when God revealed Himself as Jesus in human form. Students of the Bible refer to those instances as theophanies. That's just a Greek word meaning "God reveals Himself." There are a total of 152 such theophanies contained in the Old Testament.  Okay, that's just a little information about Jesus throughout the Old Testament. I could fill a book with more such information.

 

Jesus in the New Testament

 

          But now let take a brief look at Jesus in the New Testament.  I hope it goes without saying that the New Testament portion of the Bible is clearly all about Jesus. In the Old Testament, He is sort of "veiled" and "shadowed." In the New Testament, however, Jesus is seen very clearly throughout.

 

          Of course, the first 4 books of the New Testament—the Gospels—are each separate biographies of Jesus. Each is written from a different perspective, but taken together they give us a very clear picture of Jesus: Savior of humankind. Messiah. Deliverer. Healer. Son of God. Coming King . . .

 

          Then the remaining 23 books of the New Testament—written by other early followers of Jesus—simply tell what Jesus continued to do through the Church (his living Body) for about another 35 years or so after He was raised from the dead and returned to heaven.  Jesus is alive! And after He returned to heaven He sent God's Spirit to live in all his followers so they could be empowered to carry on the work He began while He was here as a human, the God-man.

 

          In the centuries since He returned to heaven, Jesus is still "here" now in his "unbodied form" of God's Spirit living in each of his followers. Same Jesus. Same work. It's just that He is doing the same work "dispersed" through each of his followers. When He was here 2,000 years ago, He was a single human who could only be in one place at a time. Now, He can be found everywhere his followers are found, in whom the Spirit of God lives.

 

          Same Jesus in the Old Testament as a theophany. The God-man Jesus in the four Gospels. The unbodied Jesus in the remaining books of the New Testament. The same unbodied Jesus here and now . . . in you, in me, in all his followers worldwide.  Yes, the Bible is all about Jesus!

 

          Human reason. logic, the mind, and intellect cannot "find" Jesus throughout the Bible. It is a matter of spiritual revelation. As Jesus Himself said, "The person who has [inner] eyes to see, let that person see!"  Everyone who reads the Bible does so either through a "lens" of faith or a lens of logic, reason, and the intellect. If one reads through the lens of faith—with an open spirit—one will clearly see God revealed as Jesus throughout the Bible.

 

So What?!

 

           Okay, I've made a simple attempt to teach you that Jesus can be found throughout the entire Bible. I've tried to teach that the Bible is God's written revelation of Himself to humankind. I've tried to teach that Jesus is God's living revelation of Himself to humankind.  If we want to know who God is, what He's like and what He does . . . both the Bible and Jesus answer those questions.  But just information about God, the Bible, and Jesus isn't enough. God uses the Bible and Jesus to transform us. God didn't give us the Bible—and send Jesus to earth—merely to inform us . . . but to transform us!

 

          Why do we need transformed? We were originally created in God's image, but we marred that image in us by our sin. Sin is living self-centered and self-absorbed lives instead of God-centered lives.  By means of the Bible and Jesus, God is in the process of transforming us and restoring us back into his clear image. The image of God means we are visible representations of the invisible God.

 

           Because of sin, we are imperfect visible representations of the invisible God. Jesus is God's perfect visible representation of the invisible God. God is using Jesus as the "prototype" for transforming us back into his clear image.  As we read, study, obey, and apply the Bible to our lives, God uses the Bible to transform us. The Holy Spirit who lives permanently inside each follower of Jesus gives us inner power to co-operate with God in that transformation and restoration process.  That's so what!

 

Jesus in Every Book of the Bible

 

          Oral Roberts was a healing evangelist of the 20th century whom I greatly admired, although I hasten to state he was very human and made many mistakes . . . just as we all do.  Sometime during his ministry, Oral Roberts compiled a listing of "Jesus in Every Book of the Bible." I honestly don't know if that listing was original with Oral or if he borrowed it from someone, but that listing has stuck with me for many years since I first read it.

 

          I haven't memorized that listing, but I do refer to it often as I read and study the Bible. It furnishes me "clues" to help me locate Jesus in every book of the Bible.  I have recently placed that listing on our ministry website for all the world to see. I highly recommend you download it and print it; keep it handy as you read and study your own Bible. I think you'll find it very helpful and informative. The title is "Jesus in Every Book of the Bible" and you'll find it on our website under "Teachings."

 

Nitty-Gritty

 

          Nitty-gritty is a slang expression meaning the basic facts where the "rubber hits the road."  I want to disclose some basic, nitty-gritty facts about myself that a lot of people don't know. First, I'm fairly intelligent.  I am a college graduate. I have two masters degrees. I have a Ph.D. degree. I've done a lot of studying. I have many credentials. I'm not dumb. I'm not stupid. I'm halfway smart. Probably at least a little smarter than the average aardvark.

 

          I'm telling you those things only to let you know that yes, I believe the Bible is the written Word of God. Yes, I believe Jesus is the Living Word of God.  I'm not deluded. I'm not deceived. I haven't been bamboozled. I haven't been hoodwinked. I haven't been tricked. I'm not the victim of some sort of religious trickery.  An intelligent person can believe God exists and the Bible is his written revelation of Himself. A smart person can believe Jesus is God as a human, born of a virgin mother.

 

          He was born a real person, He lived for 33 years, He died as a common criminal on a cruel Roman cross. He was raised from the dead by the power of God's Spirit. He did return to heaven. From heaven, someday this same, real Jesus will return to earth to establish his eternal Kingdom.  I really believe all those things. That's why I've been teaching the Bible and related subjects for many years. With my own eyes, I've seen the Bible and Jesus transform hundreds—perhaps thousands of lives.

 

          These matters I'm writing about—as a fairly intelligent person—are true and real. You can believe the Bible is God's written revelation of Himself to humankind. You can believe Jesus is the Living revelation of God to humankind.  It's okay to believe in God, the Bible, and Jesus. It's not stupid. It's not dumb. Fairly intelligent people all over the world believe: scientists, educators, leaders in business and commerce, the military, industry, doctors, housewives . . . multitudes in all walks of life believe.  Hey, even Hollywood recognizes the meaningfulness of God, the Bible, and Jesus. 3 new blockbuster movies about God and the Bible are out (or just about to come out): Noah, God Is Not Dead, and Heaven is For Real.

 

The Transformer

 

          I'm fascinated by toys called "Transformers." There are comic books and movies about them. I know you've seen them.  I want you to know those are all toys and make-believe action figures. Jesus is the real Transformer.  If you choose to let God do so, He can change and transform your life, too. All of life is made up of choices and decisions. It's a matter of a simple decision to invite Jesus into your life in his "unbodied form" of the Holy Spirit. He will take up permanent residence within you, never to leave you nor forsake you.  Using the Bible, from within you the Holy Spirit will give you the power to transform your life for the better in cooperation with Him. It's your choice. It's your decision.  He can free you from your self-centered, self-absorbed condition. He can free you from addictions and various types of personal bondage. He can heal your "whole person" physically, mentally, and emotionally.

 

          He's not God of a second chance; He's the God of as many chances as you need. He's not the God of a new beginning; He's the God of as many new beginnings as you need.  "God's Word, the Bible, is LIFE-giving, energizing, and full of God's power. It's sharper than a surgeon's scalpel, penetrating and cutting through everything—right down to the deepest parts of our being, laying us open to listen and obey.


          It reaches down into the deepest parts of our beings and helps us to truly know ourselves. It exposes and sifts and analyzes everything about us. Nothing and no one is impervious to God's Word. We can't get away from it—no matter what.  The Bible wasn't concocted by humans just to start another religion. It resulted when the Holy Spirit prompted men and women to write it down, using their own personalities and styles."  --paraphrased from Hebrews 4: 12 and
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       2 Peter 1: 20 and 21 in the Bible

To think about this month:

 

                                                                     I've loved and read books all my life, but the Bible is the only Book that loves me back!

 

          All past issues of The Traveler are archived on our ministry website, along with many of my most popular teachings.

 

Bill Boylan
Life Enrichment Services, Inc
leservices.org

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