This week, we are excited to have author Joshua Cooley as our guest contributor. Be amazed as he discusses Jesus’ wondrous eternality!
In 1977, with America firmly in the grip of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the Cold War and disco fever, a new phenomenon swept across the land. It was called Star Wars. Hopping in their Pintos, Gremlins and Cutlass Supremes, a record number of fans flocked to theaters to witness the first installment of director George Lucas’ epic outer space film odyssey.
But what many of those bell-bottomed patrons might have missed is that they were entering the story midway. The original Star Wars movie, subtitled A New Hope, was actually Episode IV of the saga. After episodes V and IV—The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi—came out in the early 1980s, fans were forced to wait until 1999 to witness the story’s origins when Lucas released Episode I: The Phantom Menace (a.k.a. “The Jar Jar Binks Catastrophe”). Lucas cleverly gave us the sequel before the prequel, a model that Hollywood has mimicked many times since.
Knowing part of a story is good. Knowing it in its entirety is far better. The same is true—a million times over—with Jesus Christ. The gospels are the heart of Scripture, revealing the climax of God’s redemptive purposes for sinful humanity through the incarnation of his Son. But the story of salvation didn’t begin in the Bethlehem manger or end with the empty tomb. It goes far beyond both.
The narrative of Jesus—God’s love toward his creation manifested in a sinless Savior—saturates all of Scripture, from Genesis to Revelation. It reaches into both eternity past and eternity future, and our faith will be greatly strengthened the more we understand the breadth of this timeless rescue plan.
The Bible hints of a coming Messiah almost immediately—in its third chapter. No sooner had sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s rebellion than God graciously responded by promising a coming Redeemer during his curse on Satan: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel” (Genesis 3:15). The woman’s offspring, ultimately, was Christ!
But that was just the beginning. The Old Testament is filled with more than 300 prophecies—both implicit and explicit—about Jesus. Moses spoke of him (Deuteronomy 18:15). So did David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel and many others. In the New Testament, every single book proclaims his name. The story of the Bible is the story of Jesus.
Jesus, though, isn’t bound by human history. As the eternal Son of God, he has always existed and he always will. Colossians 1:15 says he “existed before anything was created,” and Revelation 1:18 affirms that he is “alive for ever and ever.”
It is there—in the mysterious eons of eternity past, before the world began—that Jesus’ coming was prepared. Sin didn’t catch God by surprise. Christ’s incarnation and sacrifice wasn’t some hastily concocted Plan B after the Fall. This marvelous rescue mission was God’s plan all along. As Ephesians 1:4-5 says, God “chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.” Similarly, 2 Timothy 1:9 says that God’s “grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” Amazing!
I hope you can feel my excitement about this. When you stop to consider the depth of God’s love for us in Christ, it takes your breath away. This is why I was thrilled to write The One Year Devotions With Jesus, a 365-day devotional that will be released by Tyndale later this month.
The whole purpose of the book is to help pre-teens and teens build a sturdy spiritual foundation of faithful Christology during a crucial stage of their lives. It will take them on a journey through Scripture, exploring Jesus’ eternality, deity, birth, life, miracles, teachings, death, resurrection, second coming and much more. My prayer for each reader is that their faith would deepen as they grow in understanding who Jesus is and what he has accomplished for them on the cross.
I can’t wait to see how God uses this book in the lives of today’s youth!
Joshua’s The One Year Devotions With Jesus, a 365-day devotional for pre-teens and teens, will be available on October 15. He has also published the Heroes of the Bible Devotional and The One Year Sports Devotions For Kids through Tyndale. You can learn more about Joshua on his website, www.joshuacooleyauthor.com.