I think we can all agree that we have seen proof positive where Jesus made numerous appearances on earth long before He came to earth as God’s ultimate sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. The past few weeks we have seen how the Old Testament writers recorded His appearances as the king of peace, as a priest of God Most High, as the angel of the Lord, and yes, even appearances in the likeness of a man. Each time was for a specific purpose and the appearances were numerous. It has become obvious that He chose whatever form He felt necessary to complete that purpose on each occasion. This evening we will close the series with a few more examples of His visits but where He was referred to as an angel. At this point however, I think it would behoove us to remember that no matter what form of appearance He took, He was still God. He was. He Is. And He is to come.
One appearance of Jesus has already been presented and that is when Jacob wrestled with Him. In Genesis 32 we saw that Jacob wrestled with someone who was in the likeness of a man but Hosea records in chapter 12 of his writings that he wrestled with an angel and prevailed. However in both recordings of the event it is revealed that it was actually the Lord himself.
The book of 2nd Samuel and the book of 1st Chronicles records the event where the Lord chastened David and the people of Israel because of disobedience. David was given three options for the punishment and he left it in the Lord’s hand. God brought a pestilence to the land that resulted in the death of 70,00 men and planned to destroy the city of Jerusalem. However, God then relented and did not destroy the city. Here Jesus was the One to carry out the destruction of the city and He is referred to as the Lord, the angel of the Lord, and as an angel.
In the book of 1st Kings, chapter 19, we find where an angel (Jesus) strengthened Elijah after he fled from Jezebel and was resting under the juniper tree. In Daniel chapter 3 we see one of the best known events of the appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament. The angel (Jesus) protected Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego after Nebuchadnezzar had them thrown into the fiery furnace. In this event He is also referred to as Son of God. And of course we find in Daniel 6 where the angel (Jesus) protected Daniel when he was thrown into the lion’s den. In verse 22 the Bible says that God sent His angel and that He shut the lions mouths.
There are many other recorded events in the Old Testament where God, in the person of Jesus, appears on earth and intervenes in the lives of men. As we mentioned earlier, every time He did it was for a specific purpose, at a specific time, involving specific people, and had a specific conclusion to the matter. However, we need to realize that every one of these instances were just one more event in God’s plan to ultimately reconcile man to Himself. Just another step towards the most significant event to ever occur in the history of this world that involved another appearance of Jesus.
The last time Jesus set foot on this earth was different from all of those recorded in the Old Testament. When He came, Jesus did not just appear in the likeness of a man. He was born as any other human although conceived in Mary’s womb by the Holy Spirit. He was born of a virgin woman and was a real human being. He was God Incarnate! He was all God and at the same time all man. He was a man, He was tempted in all ways as a man, He lived a sinless life as a man, He physically died, and He was buried like any other man. But there is a whole lot more to the story!
Because He lived that sinless life, He was the only One that could be the ultimate sacrifice for sin. While He was on the cross God laid all of mankind’s sin on Him. Not for one, not for some, not for many, but for all men. I’m talking every sin ever committed by every man, woman, boy, or girl who has ever been born since the creation and fall of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, up to this very moment in time and from this point until the end of time as man knows it. In other words, He became sin for us so that we could become the righteousness of God. And when He arose on the third day He became the first of many that will be raised from death unto life both physically and spiritually speaking. Sin and death had been conquered! Because of God’s love for us, He shed His grace abroad in our hearts so that we could become His child! What a mighty God we serve!
I’m reminded of a short chorus we used to sing but don’t hear very often now. It went like this: “Thank you Lord for saving my soul. Thank you Lord for making me whole. Thank you Lord for giving to me Thy great salvation so rich and free.” Thank you Lord for reminding me once more of what you did for me!