JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “What is a Mediator, and how does it apply to the Gospel?”
A mediator is a person who works with conflicting parties to establish peace and reconciliation.
God created us for relationship with Him. However, we declared war on God through our acts of disobedience to God. Our sin shattered the peace that existed between us. Jesus came into the world to take upon Himself the guilt of our sins, so that God’s justice could be poured out on our sin through Christ, and His mercy could be poured out on the inhabitants of the world
First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time.”
Jesus was God’s peace offering. We can have peace with God by accepting Jesus as our Mediator in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the wonder of the cross.
One of the great wonders of the cross is that while Jesus was nailed to the cross, the nails were not the ultimate force that kept Him there.
In Matthew 26, when Jesus was arrested, one of Jesus’ disciples drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. This drew a swift rebuke from Jesus, who said to His disciple, “Put your sword back in its place….” Then He said, “Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels?”
Jesus was saying that if He wanted to call off His mission to die for our sins, He could call the heavenly cavalry at any time consisting of 72,000 angels. Jesus did not need nor did He desire His followers to defend Him.
“The wonder of the cross” is that no one took the life of Jesus from Him. He laid it down for us willingly because of His extraordinary love for the sinners of the world.
The wonder of the cross is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the declaration of the Centurion who stood by the cross.
On the day when Jesus died, Matthew 27:54 records the response of a centurion and those nearby. “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God.’”
There were a number of extraordinary circumstances surrounding the crucifixion. In the middle of the day, darkness came over the land.
At the death of Jesus, there was an earthquake that caused the rocks to split. The curtain of the temple was torn in two. And Matthew’s Gospel records that tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.
Another extraordinary circumstance was the way Jesus prayed for those who were crucifying Him. He prayed, “Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing.”
The Centurion was perceptive to the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ death and concluded that Jesus was not an ordinary man.
The exclamation of the Centurion acknowledging Jesus as the Son of God is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the motivation behind the cross.
In the shame and guilt of our sins, we needed a Savior, and that is where Jesus has stepped into the world at the right time to provide the solution for our greatest need.
John 3:16 reveals the heart of God’s love for the people of the world. That is why He gave His one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. Love was God’s motivation for sending us Jesus.
First John 4:10 says, “This is love: not that we loved God but that He loved us and sent his Son to be an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
Because of Jesus’ accomplishment at the cross, the price has been paid. We have a pathway to get out of the prison of our shame through faith in Jesus Christ. He is our bridge to true and lasting peace and freedom, and a fulfilling relationship with God that lasts forever.
The sacrifice of Jesus at the cross is the ultimate expression of God’s love for us and is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the power of the cross.
Jesus paid a price for a debt load at Calvary that no amount of money could purchase. That price was His blood that was shed at the cross. His blood was the complete payment for our sins, and the full price for our redemption. The cross was such a monumental event that Jesus’ sacrifice is celebrated in the songs of heaven for eternity.
The value of Jesus’ blood to our freedom and forgiveness is found in places like Ephesians 1:7 which says, “In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.”
And First John 1:7 says, “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.”
The blood of Jesus, shed for you and me, is the source of power that flows from the cross to reach us with God’s saving grace.
The power of the cross is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the purpose behind the cross.
Jesus died for us. He gave His life as a sacrifice for our sins. What does that accomplish? What was the purpose of Jesus dying on the cross for us? The Bible shows us various ways that we are blessed by what Jesus accomplished at the cross.
Second Corinthians 5:15 says, “He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died for them, and was raised again.” The death of Jesus gave us purpose to live for His glory.
First Thessalonians 5:10 says that Jesus “died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.” The death of Jesus provided a way for us to live in God’s presence.
First John 4:9 says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” The death of Jesus gave us power to live through His love to touch people with His grace.
The purposes behind the cross to bless us are reasons to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason To Believe is the predictions about the cross.
In the Old Testament, there were prophecies made about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross before crucifixion was even invented as a form of execution.
In Psalm 22:16, David prophesied, “They have pierced my hands and my feet.”
Isaiah 53:5 prophesied about Jesus, “He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities.”
Jesus also predicted His own suffering when He said to His disciples in Luke chapter 9, “The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of men.”
These predictions reveal a God who knew in advance what would happen. He purposefully worked through the sacrifice of Jesus to fulfill His redemptive plan of saving souls. The prophecies related to the cross highlight God’s faithfulness to fulfill His promises.
The predictions in the Bible made about the cross are reasons to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – Today’s Q and A Segment explores the question, “When Jesus went to the cross, what was the joy that was set before Him?”
Hebrews 12:2 urges us to fix our eyes on Jesus, “the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Just before Jesus died, we see many quotes, where Jesus is looking past His suffering to the glory that would follow. He said to His disciples, “Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice.”
Perhaps the most insightful statement revealing the joy that was set before Him came when He prayed to the Father just before His death. Jesus prayed in John 17:24, “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”
The cross was the only way this holy desire could become reality. By way of the cross, we have a pathway to heavenly citizenship, whereby we can be in His presence and enjoy His glory forever.
By faith, the joy that was set before Jesus becomes our greatest hope in the Year of Exploration.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the parables taught by Jesus.
Jesus fulfilled many prophecies in the Old Testament. One of them comes from Psalm 78:2, which says, “I will open my mouth in parables.” In the New Testament, the Gospel of Matthew tells us that Jesus fulfilled these words when He spoke in parables.
These parables were stories that Jesus told to describe what God’s kingdom is like. To the average person, these were interesting stories. To the person who had understanding, these parables were more than just interesting stories. They reflected important truths about the nature of God’s Kingdom.
In Matthew 13, Jesus told His disciples why he taught the people in parables. He said to them, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. Whoever has will be given more, and he will have an abundance.” The parables were structured in such a way that His followers could understand them, because they accepted His words. But to the hearts that were calloused, they heard, but did not understand. Yet, if their hearts were open to His message, they would understand and turn to God for the healing of their souls.
Each parable taught by Jesus is a reason to believe in God’s good news.
JOHN SHIRK – In the Year of Exploration, today’s Reason to Believe is the birth of the nation of Israel.
The story of the Bible reveals certain events that were humanly impossible. One example is the virgin birth of Jesus. Another example would be His resurrection from the dead. Yet another example would be the birth of Israel.
In Genesis 12, the call came to Abram, who would later be called Abraham, to leave his country and his people, and go to the land that the Lord would show him. The LORD said to him, “I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you.” Later, God told him, “All peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” That statement is linked to the Gospel in Galatians 3:8, showing us that Jesus would be the ultimate fulfillment of the blessing that came through Abraham’s descendants, specifically, the nation of Israel.
Sarah, his wife, was beyond childbearing years. Yet, by God’s intervention, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son named Isaac. That was how the birth of Israel happened, which sends us the message, “what is impossible with man is possible with God.”
The birth of the nation of Israel is a reason to believe in God’s Good News.