A Great Teacher Shows Us the Creator More Clearly
THE people of first-century Palestine “were in expectation.” Of what? Of the “Christ,” or “Messiah,” foretold by God’s prophets centuries before. The people were confident that the Bible was written under God’s direction and that it contained foregleams of the future. One such, in the book of Daniel, pointed to the Messiah’s arriving in the early part of their century.—Luke 3:15; Daniel 9:24-26.
They needed to be cautious, though, for self-made messiahs would arise. (Matthew 24:5) Jewish historian Josephus mentions some: Theudas, who led his followers to the Jordan River and claimed that its waters would be parted; a man from Egypt who led people to the Mount of Olives, asserting that Jerusalem’s wall would fall at his command; and an impostor in Governor Festus’ time who promised rest from troubles.—Compare Acts 5:36; 21:38.
In contrast to such deluded followers, a group who came to be called “Christians” recognized Jesus of Nazareth to be a great teacher and the true Messiah. (Acts 11:26; Mark 10:47) Jesus was no impostor messiah; he had solid credentials, as is amply confirmed in the four historical books called the Gospels.a For example, the Jews knew that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, would be in the line of David, and would perform wonderful works. Jesus fulfilled all of that, as is borne out by testimony even from opposers. Yes, Jesus met the qualifications of the Biblical Messiah.—Matthew 2:3-6; 22:41-45; John 7:31, 42.
Crowds of people who met Jesus, observed his outstanding works, heard his unique words of wisdom, and recognized his foresight became convinced that he was the Messiah. Over the course of his ministry (29-33 C.E.), evidence supporting his Messiahship mounted. In fact, he proved to be more than the Messiah. A disciple acquainted with the facts concluded that “Jesus is the Christ the Son of God.”b—John 20:31.
Because Jesus had such a close relationship with God, he could explain and reveal what our Creator is like. (Luke 10:22; John 1:18) Jesus testified that his closeness to his Father began in heaven, where he worked with God in bringing into being all other things, animate and inanimate.—John 3:13; 6:38; 8:23, 42; 13:3; Colossians 1:15, 16.
The Bible reports that the Son was transferred from the spirit realm and “came to be in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:5-8) Such an event is not normal, but is it possible? Scientists confirm that a natural element, such as uranium, can be transformed into another; they even calculate the results when mass is transformed into energy (E=mc2). So why should we doubt when the Bible says that a spirit creature was transformed so as to live as a human?
To illustrate it another way, think of what some physicians accomplish with in vitro fertilization. A life that begins in a “test tube” is transferred into a woman and is later born as a babe. In the case of Jesus, the Bible assures us that by the “power of the Most High,” his life was transferred into a virgin named Mary. She was of the line of David, so Jesus could be the permanent heir of the Messianic Kingdom promised to David.—Luke 1:26-38; 3:23-38; Matthew 1:23.
On the basis of his intimate relationship with and likeness to the Creator, Jesus said: “He that has seen me has seen the Father also.” (John 14:9) He also said: “Who the Father is, no one knows but the Son, and he to whom the Son is willing to reveal him.” (Luke 10:22) Hence, as we learn what Jesus taught and did on earth, we can see the Creator’s personality more clearly. Let us consider this, using the experiences of men and women who had dealings with Jesus.
A Samaritan Woman
“This is not perhaps the Christ, is it?” wondered a Samaritan woman after conversing with Jesus for a while. (John 4:29) She even urged others from the nearby town of Sychar to meet Jesus. What was it that moved her to accept Jesus as the Messiah?
This woman met Jesus as he rested from walking all morning over dusty roads in the hills of Samaria. Although tired, Jesus spoke with her. Observing her keen spiritual interest, Jesus shared profound truths centering on the need to “worship the Father with spirit and truth.” In time he revealed that he was really the Christ, a fact that he had not yet confessed in public.—John 4:3-26.
This Samaritan woman found her encounter with Jesus very meaningful. Her earlier religious activities centered on worship at Mount Gerizim and were based on just the first five books of the Bible. The Jews shunned Samaritans, many of whom descended from a mix between the ten tribes of Israel and other peoples. How different it was with Jesus! He willingly taught this Samaritan, even though he was commissioned to go to “the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” (Matthew 15:24) Here Jesus reflected Jehovah’s willingness to accept sincere people of all nations. (1 Kings 8:41-43) Yes, both Jesus and Jehovah are above the narrow-minded religious hostility that permeates the world today. Our knowing this should draw us to the Creator and his Son.
There is another lesson we can draw from Jesus’ willingness to teach this woman. She was then living with a man who was not her husband. (John 4:16-19) Yet, Jesus did not let this prevent him from speaking to her. You can understand that she must have appreciated being treated with dignity. And her experience was not unique. When some Jewish leaders (Pharisees) criticized Jesus for dining with repentant sinners, he said: “Persons in health do not need a physician, but the ailing do. Go, then, and learn what this means, ‘I want mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came to call, not righteous people, but sinners.” (Matthew 9:10-13) Jesus extended assistance to people groaning under the burden of their sins—their violations of God’s laws or standards. How heartwarming it is to learn that God and his Son will help those who have problems that result from their past conduct!—Matthew 11:28-30.c
Let us not overlook that on this occasion in Samaria, Jesus spoke kindly and helpfully to a woman. Why is this significant? Back then Jewish men were taught that in the street they should avoid speaking to women, even to their own wives. Jewish Rabbis did not consider women able to take in deep spiritual instruction but regarded them as “of a light mind.” Some said: “Better that the words of the law should be burned than deliver[ed] to women.” Jesus’ disciples had grown up in such a climate; so when they returned, they “began to wonder because he was speaking with a woman.” (John 4:27) This account—one of many—illustrates that Jesus was in the image of his Father, who created and assigned honor to both male and female.—Genesis 2:18.
Afterward the Samaritan woman convinced her fellow townspeople to listen to Jesus. Many examined the facts and became believers, saying: “We know that this man is for a certainty the savior of the world.” (John 4:39-42) Since we are part of “the world” of mankind, Jesus is vital to our future too.
A Fisherman’s View
Now let us take a look at Jesus through the eyes of two intimate associates—Peter and then John. These common fishermen were among his first followers. (Matthew 4:13-22; John 1:35-42) The Pharisees viewed them as “men unlettered and ordinary,” part of the people of the land (ʽam-ha·ʼaʹrets), who were looked down on because they were not schooled as rabbis. (Acts 4:13; John 7:49) Many such people, who were “toiling and loaded down” under the yoke of religious traditionalists, longed for spiritual enlightenment. Professor Charles Guignebert of the Sorbonne commented that “their hearts belonged wholly to Jahweh [Jehovah].” Jesus did not turn his back on those humble ones in favor of the wealthy or influential. Rather, he revealed the Father to them through his teachings and dealings.—Matthew 11:25-28.
Peter experienced Jesus’ caring attitude firsthand. Soon after he joined Jesus in the ministry, Peter’s mother-in-law fell sick with fever. Coming to Peter’s house, Jesus took her by the hand, and the fever left! We may not know the exact process of this cure, just as physicians today cannot fully explain how some cures occur, but the fever left this woman. More important than knowing his method of healing is appreciating that by curing the sick and afflicted, Jesus evidenced his pity for them. He truly wanted to help people, and so does his Father. (Mark 1:29-31, 40-43; 6:34) From his experience with Jesus, Peter could see that the Creator values each person as worthy of care.—1 Peter 5:7.
At a later time, Jesus was in the Court of the Women at Jerusalem’s temple. He observed people putting contributions into the treasury chests. Rich people put in many coins. Paying keen attention, Jesus saw a poor widow drop in two coins of very little value. Jesus told Peter, John, and the others: “Truly I say to you that this poor widow dropped in more than all those dropping money into the treasury chests; for they all dropped in out of their surplus, but she, out of her want, dropped in all of what she had.”—Mark 12:41-44.
You can see that Jesus looked for the good in people and that he appreciated each one’s efforts. What do you think was the effect on Peter and the other apostles? Perceiving from Jesus’ example what Jehovah is like, Peter later quoted a psalm: “The eyes of Jehovah are upon the righteous ones, and his ears are toward their supplication.” (1 Peter 3:12; Psalm 34:15, 16) Are you not attracted to a Creator and his Son who want to find good in you and will listen to your pleas?
After some two years of association with Jesus, Peter was sure that Jesus was the Messiah. Once, Jesus asked his disciples: “Who are men saying that I am?” He got various answers. He then asked them: “You, though, who do you say I am?” Peter confidently replied: “You are the Christ.” You might find strange what Jesus did next. He “strictly charged them not to tell anyone” about that. (Mark 8:27-30; 9:30; Matthew 12:16) Why would he say that? Jesus was available in their midst, so he did not want people to reach conclusions based on mere hearsay. That is logical, is it not? (John 10:24-26) The point is, our Creator likewise wants us to find out about him through our own investigation of solid evidence. He expects us to have convictions based on facts.—Acts 17:27.
As you might imagine, some of Jesus’ countrymen did not accept him, despite ample evidence that he had the Creator’s support. Many, being preoccupied with their position or with political goals, did not find this sincere but humble Messiah to their liking. As his ministry drew to a close, Jesus said: “Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her,—how often I wanted to gather your children together . . . But you people did not want it. Look! Your house is abandoned to you.” (Matthew 23:37, 38) This changed situation for that nation marked a significant step in the realization of God’s purpose for blessing all nations.
Soon thereafter Peter and three other apostles heard Jesus give a detailed prophecy about “the conclusion of the system of things.”d What Jesus foretold had an initial fulfillment during the Roman attack on and destruction of Jerusalem in 66-70 C.E. History bears out that what Jesus predicted did occur. Peter witnessed many of the very things that Jesus foretold, and this is reflected in 1 and 2 Peter, two books that Peter wrote.—1 Peter 1:13; 4:7; 5:7, 8; 2 Peter 3:1-3, 11, 12.
During his ministry Jesus had patiently extended kindness to the Jews around him. But he did not shrink from condemning wickedness. This helped Peter, and it should help us, to understand our Creator more fully. As he saw other things fulfilling Jesus’ prophecy, Peter wrote that Christians should keep “close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah.” Peter also said: “Jehovah is not slow respecting his promise, as some people consider slowness, but he is patient with you because he does not desire any to be destroyed but desires all to attain to repentance.” Then Peter offered words of encouragement about ‘new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness will dwell.’ (2 Peter 3:3-13) Do we, as did Peter, appreciate God’s qualities mirrored in Jesus, and do we manifest trust in his promises for the future?
Why Did Jesus Die?
On his last night with the apostles, Jesus shared a special meal with them. At such a meal, a Jewish host would show hospitality by washing the feet of guests, who might have walked over dusty roads in sandals. No one offered to do this for Jesus, however. So he humbly rose, took a towel and a basin, and started to wash the apostles’ feet. When Peter’s turn came, he was ashamed to accept this service from Jesus. Peter said: “You will certainly never wash my feet.” “Unless I wash you,” Jesus responded, “you have no part with me.” He knew that he was soon to die, so Jesus added: “If I, although Lord and Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash the feet of one another. For I set the pattern for you, that, just as I did to you, you should do also.”—John 13:5-17.
Decades later Peter urged Christians to imitate Jesus, not in a foot-washing ritual, but in humbly serving others rather than “lording it over” them. Peter also realized that Jesus’ example proved that “God opposes the haughty ones, but he gives undeserved kindness to the humble ones.” What a lesson about the Creator! (1 Peter 5:1-5; Psalm 18:35) Yet, Peter learned more.
After that final meal, Judas Iscariot, who was an apostle but became a thief, led a band of armed men to arrest Jesus. As they did so, Peter reacted. He drew a sword and wounded a man in the mob. Jesus corrected Peter: “Return your sword to its place, for all those who take the sword will perish by the sword.” Then, as Peter looked on, Jesus touched the man, healing him. (Matthew 26:47-52; Luke 22:49-51) Clearly, Jesus lived up to his teaching to “continue to love your enemies” in imitation of his Father, who “makes his sun rise upon wicked people and good and makes it rain upon righteous people and unrighteous.”—Matthew 5:44, 45.
During the course of that stressful night, Jesus was given a hasty hearing by the Jewish high court. He was falsely accused of blasphemy, taken to the Roman Governor, and then unjustly turned over to be executed. Jews and Romans ridiculed him. He was brutally abused and was finally impaled. Much of that mistreatment fulfilled prophecies written centuries earlier. Even soldiers observing Jesus on the torture stake admitted: “Certainly this was God’s Son.”—Matthew 26:57–27:54; John 18:12–19:37.
Those developments must have caused Peter and others to ask, ‘Why did the Christ have to die?’ It was only later that they understood. For one thing, those events fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah chapter 53, which showed that the Christ would make liberation available not for the Jews only but for all mankind. Peter wrote: “He himself bore our sins in his own body upon the stake, in order that we might be done with sins and live to righteousness. And ‘by his stripes you were healed.’” (1 Peter 2:21-25) Peter grasped the sense of a truth that Jesus had presented: “The Son of man came, not to be ministered to, but to minister and to give his soul a ransom in exchange for many.” (Matthew 20:28) Yes, Jesus had to lay down his right to life as a perfect human so as to repurchase mankind from the sinful state inherited from Adam. That is a basic Bible teaching—the ransom.
What does the ransom involve? You might think of it this way: Suppose you had a computer but one of its electronic files was corrupted by an error (or virus) that someone had planted in an otherwise perfect program. That illustrates the effect of what Adam did when he deliberately disobeyed God, or sinned. Let us continue the illustration. Whatever copies you might make of the corrupted electronic file would be affected. However, all need not be lost. With a special program, you could detect and purge the corrupting error from your files and computer. Comparably, mankind has received a “virus,” sin, from Adam and Eve, and we need outside help to wipe it out. (Romans 5:12) According to the Bible, God provided for this cleansing through Jesus’ death. It is a loving provision from which we can benefit.—1 Corinthians 15:22.
Appreciating what Jesus did moved Peter to “live the remainder of his time in the flesh, no more for the desires of men, but for God’s will.” For Peter as well as for us, this would mean avoiding corrupt habits and immoral life-styles. Others may try to make problems for the person who strives to do “God’s will.” Nevertheless, he will find that his life becomes richer, more meaningful. (1 Peter 4:1-3, 7-10, 15, 16) That was so with Peter, and it can be with us as we ‘commend our souls, or lives, to a faithful Creator while doing good.’—1 Peter 4:19.
A Disciple Who Recognized Love
The apostle John was another disciple who closely associated with Jesus and who, therefore, can help us understand the Creator more fully. John wrote a Gospel and also three letters (1, 2, and 3 John). In one letter, he offered us this insight: “We know that the Son of God has come, and he has given us intellectual capacity that we may gain the knowledge of the true one [the Creator]. And we are in union with the true one, by means of his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and life everlasting.”—1 John 5:20.
John’s gaining knowledge of “the true one” involved employing “intellectual capacity.” What did John discern about the Creator’s qualities? “God is love,” John wrote, “and he that remains in love remains in union with God.” Why could John be sure of that? “The love is in this respect, not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent forth his Son” to offer the ransom sacrifice for us. (1 John 4:10, 16) As was Peter, John also was touched by God’s love shown in sending his Son to die in our behalf.
John, having been very close to him, could appreciate Jesus’ emotions. An incident in Bethany, near Jerusalem, deeply impressed John. Having received a report that his friend Lazarus was very sick, Jesus traveled to Bethany. By the time that he and the apostles arrived, Lazarus had been dead at least four days. John knew that the Creator, the Source of human life, was backing Jesus. So could Jesus resurrect Lazarus? (Luke 7:11-17; 8:41, 42, 49-56) Jesus said to Lazarus’ sister Martha: “Your brother will rise.”—John 11:1-23.
Then John saw another of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary, coming to meet Jesus. How did Jesus react? He “groaned in the spirit and became troubled.” To describe Jesus’ reaction, John used a Greek word (rendered “groaned” in English) that had the sense of deep emotions wrung from the heart. John could see that Jesus was “troubled,” or had inward commotion, great sorrow. Jesus was not indifferent or aloof. He “gave way to tears.” (John 11:30-37) Clearly, Jesus had deep and tender feelings, which helped John to appreciate the Creator’s feelings, and it should help us similarly.
John knew that Jesus’ emotions were linked to positive acts because he heard Jesus cry out: “Lazarus, come on out!” And it happened. Lazarus came to life and came out of the tomb. What joy that must have brought to his sisters and the other onlookers! Many then put faith in Jesus. His enemies could not deny that he had performed this resurrection, but when the news of it spread, they “took counsel to kill Lazarus” as well as Jesus.—John 11:43; 12:9-11.
The Bible describes Jesus as ‘the exact representation of the Creator’s very being.’ (Hebrews 1:3) Thus, Jesus’ ministry provides ample proof of his own and his Father’s intense desire to undo the ravages of sickness and death. And this extends beyond the few resurrections recorded in the Bible. In fact, John was present to hear Jesus say: “The hour is coming in which all those in the memorial tombs will hear [the Son’s] voice and come out.” (John 5:28, 29) Note that instead of the common word for grave, John here used a word rendered “memorial tombs.” Why?
God’s memory is involved. Certainly the Creator of the vast universe can remember every detail of each of our dead loved ones, including traits both inherent and acquired. (Compare Isaiah 40:26.) And it is not just that he can remember. Both he and his Son want to do so. Regarding the wonderful prospect of the resurrection, faithful Job said of God: “If an able-bodied man dies can he live again? . . . You [Jehovah] will call, and I myself shall answer you. For the work of your hands you will have a yearning.” (Job 14:14, 15; Mark 1:40-42) What a wonderful Creator we have, worthy of our worship!
Resurrected Jesus—Key to Meaningful Life
The beloved disciple John observed Jesus closely until His death. More than that, John recorded the greatest resurrection that ever took place, an event that lays a firm foundation for our having a permanent and meaningful life.
Enemies of Jesus had him executed, nailed to a stake as a common criminal. Onlookers—including religious leaders—mocked him as he suffered for hours. Despite being in agony on the stake, Jesus saw his own mother and said to her about John: “Woman, see! Your son!” By then Mary must have been a widow, and her other children were not yet disciples.e Hence, Jesus entrusted the care of his aging mother to his disciple John. This again reflected the thinking of the Creator, who encouraged caring for widows and orphans.—John 7:5; 19:12-30; Mark 15:16-39; James 1:27.
But once he was dead, how could Jesus carry out his role as the “seed” through whom “all nations of the earth will certainly bless themselves”? (Genesis 22:18) With his death, on that April afternoon in 33 C.E., Jesus laid down his life as the basis for the ransom. His sensitive Father must have been pained by the agony his innocent Son went through. Yet in this way, provision was made for the ransom price needed to free mankind from the bondage to sin and death. (John 3:16; 1 John 1:7) The stage was set for a grand finale.
Because Jesus Christ plays a central role in the outworking of God’s purposes, he had to come back to life. That was what occurred, and John witnessed it. Early on the third day after Jesus’ death and burial, some disciples went to the tomb. It was empty. That bewildered them until Jesus appeared to various ones. Mary Magdalene reported, “I have seen the Lord!” The disciples did not accept her testimony. Later the disciples gathered in a locked room and Jesus appeared again, even conversing with them. Within days, over 500 men and women became eyewitnesses that Jesus was indeed alive. People of that time who might be skeptical could interview these credible witnesses and verify their testimony. The Christians could be certain that Jesus had been resurrected and was alive as a spirit creature like the Creator. The evidence of this was so abundant and reliable that many faced death rather than deny that Jesus had been resurrected.—John 20:1-29; Luke 24:46-48; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8.f
The apostle John also suffered persecution for bearing testimony about Jesus’ resurrection. (Revelation 1:9) But when in penal exile, he received an unusual reward. Jesus gave him a series of visions that show the Creator to us more clearly and reveal what the future will bring. You will find this in the book of Revelation, which uses many symbolisms. Jesus Christ is here depicted as a victorious King who will soon complete the conquest of his enemies. Those enemies include death (an enemy of us all) and the corrupted spirit creature named Satan.—Revelation 6:1, 2; 12:7-9; 19:19–20:3, 13, 14.
Near the end of his apocalyptic message, John had a vision of the time when earth will become a paradise. A voice described conditions to prevail then: “God himself will be with [mankind]. And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:3, 4) In the outworking of God’s purpose, the promise that God made to Abraham will be fulfilled.—Genesis 12:3; 18:18.
Life then will be “real life,” comparable to what lay before Adam when he was created. (1 Timothy 6:19) No longer will mankind grope to find their Creator and to understand their relationship with him. However, you may well ask, ‘When will that come about? And why is it that our caring Creator permits evil and suffering to exist down to this time?’ Let us next consider those questions.
a Matthew, Mark, and John were eyewitnesses. Luke made a scholarly study of documents and firsthand testimony. The Gospels manifest the earmarks of honest, accurate, and trustworthy records.—See A Book for All People, pages 16-17, published by Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York, Inc.
b The Koran says: “His name will be Christ Jesus, the son of Mary, held in honour in this world and the Hereafter.” (Sura 3:45) As a human, Jesus was Mary’s son. But what father was responsible? The Koran notes: “The similitude of Jesus before God is as that of Adam.” (Sura 3:59) The Holy Scriptures speak of Adam as a “son of God.” (Luke 3:23, 38) Neither Adam nor Jesus had a human father; neither resulted from sexual relations with a woman. Accordingly, as Adam was a son of God, so was Jesus.
c Jesus’ attitude matches Jehovah’s, as described in Psalm 103 and at Isaiah 1:18-20.
d We can read that prophecy in Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21.
e At least two of them later became disciples and wrote letters of encouragement found in the Bible, James and Jude.
f A ranking Roman officer heard Peter’s eyewitness testimony: “You know the subject that was talked about throughout the whole of Judea . . . God raised this One up on the third day and granted him to become manifest . . . He ordered us to preach to the people and to give a thorough witness that this is the One decreed by God to be judge of the living and the dead.”—Acts 2:32; 3:15; 10:34-42.
[Box on page 150]
You may enjoy comparing the parallel accounts of Jesus’ healing Peter’s mother-in-law. (Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:29-31; Luke 4:38, 39) Physician Luke included the medical detail that she had “a high fever.” What enabled Jesus to cure her and others? Luke admitted that “Jehovah’s power was there for [Jesus] to do healing.”—Luke 5:17; 6:19; 9:43.
[Box on page 152]
The Greatest Sermon Ever
Hindu leader Mohandas Gandhi is quoted as saying that by following its teachings, “we shall have solved the problems . . . of the whole world.” Noted anthropologist Ashley Montagu wrote that the modern findings about the psychological importance of love are only “a validation” of this sermon.
These men were referring to Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Gandhi also said that “the teaching of the Sermon was meant for each and every one of us.” Professor Hans Dieter Betz recently noted: “The influences exerted by the Sermon on the Mount generally far transcend the borderlines of Judaism and Christianity, or even Western culture.” He added that this sermon has “a peculiarly universalistic appeal.”
Why not read this relatively short but fascinating discourse? You will find it in Matthew chapters 5 to 7 and at Luke 6:20-49. Here are some highlights that we can reap from this greatest sermon:
How to be happy—Matthew 5:3-12; Luke 6:20-23.
How to maintain self-respect—Matthew 5:14-16, 37; 6:2-4, 16-18; Luke 6:43-45.
How to improve relations with others—Matthew 5:22-26, 38-48; 7:1-5, 12; Luke 6:27-38, 41, 42.
How to lessen marital problems—Matthew 5:27-32.
How to cope with anxiety—Matthew 6:25-34.
How to recognize religious fraud—Matthew 6:5-8, 16-18; 7:15-23.
How to find the meaning of life—Matthew 6:9-13, 19-24, 33; 7:7-11, 13, 14, 24-27; Luke 6:46-49.
[Box on page 159]
Man of Action
Jesus Christ was not a passive recluse. He was a decisive man of action. He traveled “to the villages in a circuit, teaching,” helping people who were “skinned and thrown about like sheep without a shepherd.” (Mark 6:6; Matthew 9:36; Luke 8:1) Unlike many rich religious leaders now, Jesus did not accumulate wealth; he had “nowhere to lay down his head.”—Matthew 8:20.
While Jesus focused his effort on spiritual healing and feeding, he did not ignore people’s physical needs. He cured the sick, the disabled, and the demon-possessed. (Mark 1:32-34) On two occasions he fed thousands of his eager listeners because he felt pity for them. (Mark 6:35-44; 8:1-8) His motive for performing miracles was his concern for people.—Mark 1:40-42.
Jesus acted decisively as he rid the temple of greedy merchants. Those observing him recalled the words of a psalmist: “The zeal for your house will eat me up.” (John 2:14-17) He did not spare his words when condemning hypocritical religious leaders. (Matthew 23:1-39) Neither did he cave in to pressure from politically important men.—Matthew 26:59-64; John 18:33-37.
You will be thrilled when reading of Jesus’ dynamic ministry. Many who do so for the first time start with Mark’s short yet lively account of this man of action.
[Box on page 164]
Jesus Moved Them to Act
In the book of Acts, we can find a historical record of how Peter, John, and others bore witness about Jesus’ resurrection. A large part of the book relates events involving an intelligent student of law named Saul, or Paul, who had violently opposed Christianity. The resurrected Jesus appeared to him. (Acts 9:1-16) Having indisputable proof that Jesus was alive in heaven, Paul thereafter witnessed zealously about this fact to Jews and non-Jews, including philosophers and rulers. It is impressive to read what he said to such educated, influential men.—Acts 17:1-3, 16-34; 26:1-29.
Over some decades, Paul wrote many books of the so-called New Testament, or the Christian Greek Scriptures. Most Bibles contain a table of contents, or list of books. Paul wrote 14 of them, from Romans through Hebrews. These provided deep truths and wise guidance for Christians back then. They are even more valuable to us, who lack direct access to the apostles and other witnesses of Jesus’ teachings, works, and resurrection. You will find that Paul’s writings can help you in your family life, in your dealings with fellow workers and neighbors, and in your directing your life so that it has real meaning and brings you satisfaction.
[Picture on page 146]
Scientists perform in vitro fertilization. The Creator transferred his Son’s life to become a human
[Picture on page 148]
Many who heard Jesus and saw how he dealt with humans came to know his Father better
[Picture on page 154]
Jesus washed the apostles’ feet, setting a pattern of humility that the Creator appreciates
[Picture on page 157]
A computer error (or virus) can be purged from the system; mankind needs Jesus’ ransom in order to be rid of inherited imperfection
[Picture on page 163]
Eyewitnesses saw that Jesus was put into a tomb (like this one) and was raised to life on the third day