Have you ever watched a play or movie and struggled to understand the plot? Without knowing the plot, it’s hard to make sense of the meaning of the story. The Bible is a story with one main plot running from beginning to end. What’s even better is that this story isn’t made-up but is actually happening right now—and you and I are in it!
The coming of Jesus is the turning point in the biblical narrative. Jesus’ birth is part of God’s unfolding plan to rescue his people from the eternal consequences of their sin. The big problem is that God is holy, and we aren’t. This situation goes all the way back to the garden of Eden when Adam and Eve disobeyed God, bringing both guilt and condemnation upon all humanity as well as misery upon the entire world.
Throughout the Old Testament, the devil is hard at work attempting to thwart God’s plan. From the days of Noah to the testing of Abraham, from the persecution of the Hebrews by Pharaoh and the struggles of the Israelites in the wilderness to the temptations to which David succumbs, Satan seeks to destroy God’s people by preventing the coming of the Messiah.
The devil keeps trying to eliminate Jesus, even after his birth. When Herod, the ruler of Jerusalem, hears from the wise men of a king’s birth, he orders the slaughter of all children under the age of two years old to remove any possible competition to his crown (Matt. 2:16).
Ever since sin entered the world through Adam, God was waiting for a true and faithful son who would keep his law out of duty and joyful thanksgiving, fulfilling the purpose of humanity’s creation. In his book Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God's Story, Michael Horton explains how Jesus proved that he was God’s true and faithful son by fulfilling specific requirements and prophecies:
Jesus was descended from Adam in order to prevail in the trial that Adam failed and win the right to eat from the tree of life ( 17:11; Heb. 4:15; 9:22; 10:4).
Jesus was descended from Abraham by Sarah in order to be the child of promise and not the child of human effort, which is represented by Hagar (Gal. 4:21–34).
Jesus was descended from David in order to rule on the everlasting throne (2 Sam. 7:12–13).
Since no mere human being could keep God’s law perfectly because of Adam’s fall, only Jesus—both fully God and fully man—could be the perfect Son of Israel.
Jesus triumphed over sin, death, and the devil with his perfectly obedient life, substitutionary sacrifice on the cross, and vindicating resurrection from the dead (Heb. 4:15). Just as Adam represented humanity and earned condemnation for all people when he failed his test of obedience to God, Christ is the second Adam who kept God’s law perfectly and earned justification for all who trust in him (Rom. 5:12–21).
While God’s people still battle Satan in this life, Christ has already won the victory, guaranteeing eternal life for all who trust in him as their savior. All believers shall behold their God forever in the new heaven and new earth, and "he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Rev. 21:4). Christians can rejoice that the end of God’s story in the Bible is actually the beginning of a never-ending sequel of unspeakable joy and happiness for all God's children (1 John 3:1).
If you enjoyed this article, please check out Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God's Story by Michael Horton.