wicklowwalks

A pictorial guide to walks  in the beautiful Irish county of Wicklow
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The Storyline of the Bible 3

 The Storyline of the Bible 23/30
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The Appearing of the King
The Four Gospels
The four Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each give their account of the coming and work of the CHAMPION KING in the person of Jesus of Nazareth.  Mark 1: 15  records Jesus' urgent message at the start of his ministry "The time has come," he said. "The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" 

This continued to be his message during the three years of his ministry - announcing good news and warning of coming judgement.

With great compassion  and authority Jesus preached the  good news, taught, miraculously healed the sick and fed the hungry. But not all were happy -  His ministry upset the religious leaders because he  condemned their lives and teaching. He threatened their religious position and livelihood. 
As he taught that the Kingdom was not of the present age, t
he common people were disappointed that that he did not proclaim himself king, raise up in rebellion and overthrow the Romans.  (As he later explained to Pilate "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place." John 18: 36 ). 



                         
                                       
                         
                                                                         
 The Storyline of the Bible 24/30
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The Death of the King.
The End?

In mockery the Roman Governor asked the assembled Jewish mob
"Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews”? They shouted back, "No, not him! Give us Barabbas!" Now Barabbas had taken part in a rebellion. John 18:39 and 40
Although not understood at the time, Jesus had foretold his death and the fact that it would enact the New Covenant, at the last meal he had together with his followers .
Jesus took a cup of wine and said “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you”. Luke 22: 20

Speaking about his death Jesus has also said “Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world (Satan) will be driven out”John 12:31. That is to say that this decisive event will determine who shall rule this World.
The four Gospels record the bitter disappointment, grief and fear of the followers of Jesus when he was arrested by the religious leaders, tried for blasphemy (He claimed he was the Son of God - see Matthew 26:62 to 64), handed over to the Roman authority and executed as a common criminal.
The brave among them determine that his body must receive a fitting burial for a prophet of God. And so a small number of woman prepare burial spices and ointments and await the coming morning light so that they might visit his tomb and anoint his body.



                     
                                       
                                                                           
                       
 The Storyline of the Bible 25/30
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The Resurrection of the King - The Gospels and Acts

When the woman got to his tomb they found it empty. Perplexed they observed the stone removed from the entrance and the empty tomb. Then they met their resurrected King and in great joy and fear returned to tell the rest of his followers. Jesus appeared to many (over 500) of his followers and the most dubious believed in his resurrection and his deity (see John 20: 26 to 29).

Armed with this experience their fear turned to courage and when Peter (after Jesus was taken up to Heaven) healed a cripple man. Peter was able to confront the religious leaders face to face and say

 It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. He is ‘the stone you builders rejected, which has become the capstone.’  Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."
 Acts 4 :10 to 12

In this wonderful way God (bringing good out of evil - see Acts 2: 23 and 24) has dealt with mankind's sin problem. God had himself taken on our humanity and in his own person (as a man) had satisfied the demand of his justice by dying on a cross. In this way His mercy and love are exercised to those belonging to his Kingdom without sacrificing his justice. (see Romans 3:25 and 26)



                                                       
                 
                                   
                                     
 The Storyline of the Bible 26/30
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The Kingdom becomes Multi-National

Luke the author of the one of the Gospels wrote another book called The Acts of the Apostles. This book outlines the triumphant growth of the Kingdom, through severe opposition and persecution for the (approximately) next 30 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus. The first advance is the inclusion of Greek speaking Jews. Previously the Christian faith were manly make up of Jews from Judea and Galilee who spoke Aramaic, then after the preaching of the Apostle Peter and the outworking of the Holy Spirit, multitudes of Greek speaking Jews from around the Roman Empire believed.

The next advance was to the Samaritans who were related to the Jews by blood (see 19/30). Finally the the Gentiles (non-Jews) were included with the command of God to the Apostle Peter to preach to a Roman centurion his family and friends. The second part of the book is an outline of the missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul to the non -Jewish World. The book begins in Jerusalem and ends in Rome demonstrating the outward move of the Kingdom from one nation to the World. The book finishes with a statement about the Apostle Paul while under house arrest in Rome, which could be a summary of the whole book.
"Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ".



                           
                                 
                                           
                                   
 The Storyline of the Bible 27/30
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The Epistles - Letters to Kingdom Citizens

As people became followers of Jesus they associated together in small groups, often meeting in homes. Here the Kingdom of God was not displayed in wealth, lofty buildings or in pomp of its leaders. It was hidden in the hearts of its humble and  insignificant (to the world) adherents. The Epistles were letters written to these groups explaining the faith and giving instructions on how to live (in an alien country) as citizens of the Kingdom. 

The Epistles taught the same truths as the  Gospels (which were written later). Here in this sample the Apostle Paul summarised his teaching in one of his letters. " Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.  By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,  and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve.  After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born". 1 Corinthians 15: 1 to 8




               
                           
                                                             
                                 
 The Storyline of the Bible 28/30
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The Kingdom becomes Worldwide

The advancement of the Kingdom of God did not end with the last chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. It has continued right throughout history down to this present day. Many in the Roman world became Christians despite the most cruel persecutions. The invading barbarians nor the ignorance and superstition of the Dark and Middle Ages did not stop it growth. Religious Institutional corruptions did not destroy it. Many became Christians during the Reformation and Spiritual Revivals that struck Europe and America.

In our present day, the kingdom is growing the fastest. The reduction in professing Christians in the West is well made up for in the advancement of Christianity in Africa, Latin America, China and India as well as other parts of the world. The words of Jesus have been proved to be true.And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it". Matthew 16: 18 and again He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." Matthew 13: 31 and 32



                   
                                 
                                             
                                                                   
 The Storyline of the Bible 29/30
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Where are you

in the Story of the Kingdom ?

As stated at the beginning of the Storyline of the Bible, the Bible is a great story but it also has a great invitation. YOU are invited to make it YOUR story. In fact it is not only an invitation, but a command by God to do so. Speaking about his ministry the Apostle Paul summed it up in this sentence. “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus” Acts 20:21.

The Greek word for repentance literally means “to change your mind”. In the context of Luke's writings it is a turning away from sin and turning to God with deeds that demonstrate the reality of that repentance (see Acts 26: 19 and 20). This is not to earn Salvation because Salvation is a gift from God (see Ephesians 2: 8 to 10 ).

Faith in the Lord Jesus means trust (or confidence) in his person and work to provide Salvation - which includes the opening of blind spiritual eyes, a transfer from the power of Satan to God, the forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among the people of God (see Acts 26: 18).



                               
                                                                                                   
                                                               
                                                                                                                 
The Storyline of the Bible 30/30
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The Return of the King

The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever." Revelations 11: 15
The Bible closes with a promise and a payer.
In the book of Revelations chapter 22 verse 20 we read the promise “Yes I am coming soon” - and then the prayer – Amen. Come Lord Jesus.
In fact there are over 300 references to the return of Jesus Christ in the New Testament. He is reigning unseen now, but will come again to this Earth to reign in glory and splendour.

Lo! He comes with clouds descending,
Once for favoured sinners slain;
Thousand thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of His train:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God appears on earth to reign.

Every eye shall now behold Him
Robed in dreadful majesty;
Those who set at naught and sold Him,
Pierced and nailed Him to the tree,
Deeply wailing, deeply wailing, deeply wailing,
Shall the true Messiah see.

Every island, sea, and mountain,
Heav’n and earth, shall flee away;
All who hate Him must, confounded,
Hear the trump proclaim the day:
Come to judgement! Come to judgement!
Come to judgement! Come to judgement!
Come away!

Now redemption, long expected,
See in solemn pomp appear;
All His saints, by man rejected,
Now shall meet Him in the air:
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
See the day of God appear!

Charles Wesley