Journey Church
Awe - Week 4 Bible Reading Plan
Locations & Times
  • Journey Church
    3500 Spring Forest Rd, Raleigh, NC 27616, USA
    Sunday 10:00 AM
Make no mistake, there is one undeniable hero of the Bible, and His name is Jesus. This week we’ll discover some key truths about Jesus: His eternal existence with the Father, His sinless life, His atoning death, His sin-conquering resurrection, and His imminent return. Today we begin by focusing on His eternal existence. Jesus is not a created being as some religious fringe groups would have us believe. Rather, Jesus always was, always is, and always will be. That’s why the Pharisees were so enraged when Jesus made the claim, “Before Abraham was, I AM.” In that one statement, Jesus identified Himself as co-equal with the eternal God, Yahweh (the same verb form of “I AM.”) Additionally, Paul tells us in Colossians chapter one that not only was Jesus with the Father in eternity past, but He was actually the primary agent involved in creation. And here’s the most profound thought of all: the same voice that spoke the universe into existence calls after you today. He wants you to sit at His feet in humble adoration. Take some time today to thank Him for His creative work, His eternal existence, and His pursuit of your heart.
The virgin birth and sinless life of Jesus cannot be overstated. Without the virgin birth, Jesus would have been like any other human with Adam’s sin passed down to Him. However, conceived by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was 100% God and yet 100% sinless man. While a man, He was tempted in every way as you and I are. He knows your struggles. He knows the feelings of loss, hurt, frustration, desertion, and betrayal that you have felt. Yet, He never sinned. He stands by you today as One who has felt everything you feel and came out victorious so that you can enter into His victory for yourself. His sinless life afforded Him the opportunity to stand in your place as a substitution—to take your sins on his own body on the cross and die the death that you and I deserve—a work that alone could be accomplished by the shed blood of a perfect sacrifice. Jesus was that sacrifice. Not only did He stand in your place, but He also prays for you. He prayed for you just before He went to the cross and He prays for you now, interceding before the Father on your behalf. As you read the following passages, approach God’s Word with an attitude of thankfulness that He stood in your place, He stands by you now, and He prays for you.
The word gospel is a word we often take for granted, as if everyone knows what we mean. Put simply, gospel means “good news,” and when it comes to the message of Jesus, this “good news” can be summarized in two simple verses. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 Paul explains, “For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins ​in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day ​in accordance with the Scriptures.” This is the simple gospel in a nutshell—a message of first importance. Yes, the bad news is bad: I am a sinner, separated from God—condemned, lost, and hopeless. But the bad news makes the good news exponentially better. The good news is Jesus. He died for our sins, was buried, and rose again. Has the gospel taken root in your heart? Is the good news of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection just a nice piece of ancient literature on the same level with Homer’s Iliad or Aesop’s Fables? Or has this great story intersected with your story in such a way that you’ve never been the same? Wrestle with these questions as you read.
Today we deal with the death of Jesus and His atonement for sin. As we saw yesterday with the word gospel, the word atonement likewise needs some explanation. We define the atonement as “the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation” (Grudem, Systematic Theology). The Bible makes it clear that Jesus’ shed blood was necessary for the forgiveness of sins, as you’ll see in your reading below. The atoning work of Jesus through His death on the cross flies in the face of modern Oprah-influenced theology. Maybe you’ve heard someone say, “Because God is loving, of course He’ll just forgive everyone.” The problem with this view is that it completely discounts Jesus’ sacrifice. Oswald Chambers explains, “Beware of the pleasant view of the fatherhood of God: God is so kind and loving that of course He will forgive us. That thought, based solely on emotion, cannot be found anywhere in the New Testament. The only basis on which God can forgive us is the tremendous tragedy of the Cross of Christ. To base our forgiveness on any other ground is unconscious blasphemy” (My Utmost for His Highest). As you read through the passages below, approach God’s Word with “fresh eyes” to see the overwhelming importance of Jesus’ death on the cross.
Jesus’ claims for Himself demand that we stop and pay attention. He wasn’t ambiguous about His identity and mission. By far Jesus’ most offensive and exclusive claim is found in John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me.” He left no room for debate. Jesus is the only way to heaven. C. S. Lewis reminds us that there is no middle ground with Jesus. In Mere Christianity he explained, “You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.” Today, as you read through many of the shocking claims Jesus made about Himself, ask the Holy Spirit to illuminate your mind. Was He lying? Was He a lunatic? Or is He Lord of the universe and Lord of your life? Those are the options.
Singing the truth of God’s Word is one of the greatest privileges we have as the people of God. Philippians 2:6-11 has been thought by most ardent biblical scholars to have been an early Christian hymn known as The Christ Hymn. Paul knew his Philippian audience would be familiar with it and chose to use it as a way to remind them of the profound nature of Jesus—that though He was God, He subjected Himself to human form. Not only did he humble Himself by taking on human flesh, but He went so far as to endure death—a brutal death on a cross. But that wasn’t the end of the story. On day three of his tomb rental, God victoriously raised Jesus to life and now has exalted Him to the highest place and given Him the most powerful and highest name of all—Jesus Christ the Lord. Every knee will eventually bow in reverence to this King, whether by choice or by force. As you read, thank Jesus for his victory over death. You may want to kneel in the privacy of your home and renew your confession to Him as your Lord and Savior. Consider singing the words of Philippians 2:6-11 as a song of worship using your own tune.
The story of Jesus’ eternal pre-existence, sinless life on earth, atoning death, and glorious resurrection would not be complete without talking about His soon return. Jesus closed the book of Revelation with a thrilling reminder, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Some translations say “quickly” rather than “soon,” but that doesn’t do the word proper justice. It’s a term that denotes time as opposed to the manner in which He will come. Make no mistake, history’s clock is winding down and Christ will tear the sky wide open and appear in all His glory just as He ascended. For believers who are stuck in the waiting, our mission is clear: make disciples. It’s not a passive waiting. We must wait anxiously and actively for our Savior, working while it is still called today. Ask Jesus for a renewed sense of commitment to His mission while you await His soon return.