I love Zaxbys. Not necessarily because I love their chicken, or their sandwiches, or their sweet tea, yet all of which I like. You see, I love Zaxbys for their Zax sauce. They have the secret sauce that draws me in. For me, there’s no Zaxbys without the sauce.
In our scenario, there’s no plan of God without the promise of Jesus. For the plan of God to exist there must be the promise of Jesus. Specifically, The promise of Jesus includes the solution for our sin, a means for our mission, and a hope for a home.
A Solution for our Sin
For God to possesses a chosen people, Jesus provides a solution for sin.
A Prophecy (Genesis 3:15)
14 The Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. 15 I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.”
Last week, we addressed how God made us as image-bearers. He made us like to Him not only to fulfill certain responsibilities on earth but also to relate to Him. Unfortunately, through Satan’s temptation of Adam and Eve, the sinless creation of God is introduced to sin. However, in this dark moment when all hope seems lost, God delivers a prophecy to create a bright future. While detailing the punishment to Satan for what he’s done, God shares a metaphor to reveal the solution for our sin. He tells Satan the offspring of Adam and Even will bruise his head even though he would bruise his heel. At first glance, this may appear to reference how the snake now is flat on his belly. However, Paul in Romans 16:20 further clarifies this prophecy by stating “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.”
Essentially, albeit cryptic, we find early on in the Plan of God that He has a solution for our sin: an offspring of Adam and Eve will come and destroy Satan and remove sin altogether.
As helpful and as hopeful this prophecy may be, God doesn’t leave us hanging on a cryptic word. Actually, we gain great clarity on how God will provide a solution for our sin by a picture that Jesus gives.
A Picture (John 3:9-15)
9 Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” 10 Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? 11 Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. 12 If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except he who descended from heaven, the Son of Man. 14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in him may have eternal life.
In this classic conversation between Jesus and the Jewish ruler, Nicodemus, we see a picture of the solution for our sin. Jesus makes reference to Moses holding up a serpent in the wilderness and then likens that picture to himself. Let’s quickly address this story of Moses from Numbers 21:4-9:
4 From Mount Hor they set out by the way to the Red Sea, to go around the land of Edom. And the people became impatient on the way. 5 And the people spoke against God and against Moses, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and we loathe this worthless food.” 6 Then the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people, so that many people of Israel died. 7 And the people came to Moses and said, “We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord and against you. Pray to the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us.” So Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent and set it on a pole, and everyone who is bitten, when he sees it, shall live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze serpent and set it on a pole. And if a serpent bit anyone, he would look at the bronze serpent and live.
Jesus uses this OT example to portray what will happen in His life to account for our sin. The picture is rather grave. Sinful, unthankful people are dying on account of vicious serpents. The way these people live is by looking at a raised serpent on a pole. Their look is not what saves them, nor the actual object. Their obedient faith provides a pathway for healing. Jesus then points out through this picture that those who look to Him, raised up on a cross to provide healing, will also be saved.
The prophecy and picture all point to the prescription regarding the solution to our sin. We know that Jesus will take care of sin and we’ve seen a picture of what that will look like. Now, in 1 John 1, we’re prescribed a method to respond to our sinful state.
A Prescription (1 John 1:9-2:2)
9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. 2 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. 2 He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
John demonstrates the means for experiencing the solution for our sin: confession. He tells us that in our confession of sin, we can have hope beaus God is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins. The two key words here are faithful and just. These words convey not only that God will but also that God can provide a solution for our sin. “How is this the case” you may ask? Let me draw your attention to verse 1 of chapter 2. For those who sin, we have an advocate, one is our helper, intercessor, appearing in our behalf. Jesus, the sinless one, provides the ultimate solution for your sin. He is your propitiation. the instrument to appease your sin before God.
For God to possesses a chosen people, He must provide a means to solve the problem of sin. The whole plan of God revolves around making a way for Him to enjoy a relationship with His chosen people. So, to address this major component of God’s plan, the Father sends the Son to solve the problem of sin.
As move into the second component of the Plan of God, we again find Jesus playing a central role in equipping God’s chosen people for their divine purpose. Specifically, Jesus creates a means for the mission.
A Means for the Mission
For God’s chosen people to embrace their divine purpose, Jesus creates a means for the mission.
A Foreshadow (John 16:5-11)
God’s chosen people have always had a divine purpose. We saw this last week that in the Garden, part of this mission is unfolded. As the story of Scripture progresses, we find the expansion of this divine purpose as it relates to the Kingdom of God. In light of this divine purpose, Jesu foreshadows to His followers His means for their mission.
5 But now I am going to him who sent me, and none of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. 8 And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; 10 concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you will see me no longer; 11 concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.
Jesus delivers troubling news to His followers: He’s leaving. Losing someone you love is never easy.
Having a mentor you love transition out of your life is never easy. Yet, look what Jesus says: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you
Here we find this foreshadowing of Jesus’ departure and the arrival of the Helper offering something better than the physical presence of Jesus on this earth. Interestingly, a keyword that occurs in John 16, referring to the Holy Spirit, also occurred in 1 John 1: Helper. As Jesus functions as the helper to provide a solution for our sin, we now see another Helper who aids God’s chosen people in their divine mission. This Helper who works in tandem with Jesus provides what we need to fulfill our divine purpose: God himself with us.
A Fulfillment (Acts 1:8, 2:1-4, 14-21)
The fulfillment of this foreshadowing creates a mighty impact. Notice how this fulfillment unfolds: But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” 9
2 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.
14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “ ‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’
We see in this passage how the fulfillment promised by Jesus directly helps the chosen people of God fulfill their divine mission. They have the courage and enablement, through their helper in conjunction with the work of Jesus, to tell all the world that whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.
As we’ve tied the plan of God into the promise of Jesus, we’ve seen how Jesus provides a solution to sin and then creates a means for the mission. Basically, Jesus equips His people to share a message that we all long: we have a home with God. This longing, for a safe, secure home, is within all of us. Why do we send people off to war? Why do we build fences and buy security systems? Why do desire subdivisions with gates and communities with neighborhood patrols? Because deep down in all of us, we long for the safety and security of a stable home. I believe this longing is from God and ultimately, for God.
Think about this, ever since mankind was kicked out of his first home, we’ve longed for that home again and God has promised it to His people. Now we find out how through Jesus we can have a hope for a home.
A Hope for a Home
For God’s chosen people to enjoy their sacred home, Jesus offers a hope for our home
A Promise (John 14:1-4)
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. 2 In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.
Jesus offers us what we all long for: acceptance. There’s something magical when someone tells us “I want you”. Growing up, I remember moments at recess where we’d play kickball and the captains would have to pick teams. We’d all line up and go through the painful process of being chosen one-by-one. When your name was called, you’d feel like you could conquer the world. However, I also remember a moment where I experienced rejection. I thought I found the love of my life, I wrote her a note, and she rejected it. In Jesus’ promise of a home, our excitement isn’t merely over our guaranteed spot. Our excitement centers on the fact that Jesus wants us. Jesus leaves, yet doesn’t leave us empty. The very point of His leaving is to make a home for us because He wants to make everything right again: God’s chosen people in there sacred place.
A Premonition (Revelation 21:1-4)
Just in case the promise of Jesus wasn’t enough, we see a premonition from John regarding this home Jesus prepare for us.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 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.
Notice how this moment is described. John likens our reception with Jesus in our new home like the reception of a new husband and bride. This place will be where we dwell with God. He will be the One to care for us personally.
I vividly remember the moment I saw Megan for the first time on our wedding day. As much as I appreciated her preparation physically for that moment, I found myself equally attracted to how she prepared herself emotionally and spiritually as well. This woman loves me enough, well before she ever knew me, to prepare diligently for the moment where two would become one. Now, was she perfect? No. Neither was I.
But consider this: Jesus, right now, is preparing for the moment when we will dwell with Him forever. He’s preparing for the moment when He will embrace you and welcome you Home. He’s preparing for the moment to draw you into His arms, to wipe away your tears and all of your pain, to remind you once again You are His!
John’s premonition of our new home grants us with great comfort. We are assured that Jesus will provide a home for His chosen people. As consider the promise of Jesus, we encounter that He is the Solution for our Sin, He provides the means for our mission, and that He offers a hope for our home.
You see: this is our secret sauce! We have the promise of Jesus. The plan of God gives us the story of scripture but the promise of Jesus shows us how we can be a part of this plan. We cannot fully understand nor participate in the plan of God without the promise of Jesus. Consequently, the promise of Jesus, our secret sauce, not only makes the plan of God come together.
So, How should we respond to the promise of Jesus? Celebrate!
You belong to God’s family. You occupy a divine purpose. You possess an eternal home.
You are accepted, equipped, and endowed with all you could ever need or ever want.
This is why we set out to reach every street: so that people can enjoy these promises.