I heard this on the radio this morning. The host said, “What if I told you a story about someone who could heal all your hurts.” Then they went on to say, “well it is not a story”. It is the greatest story ever told. They went on to explain that Jesus came to heal all of their hurts. Then they just said that we should have joy over that. It was not a bad thing to say at the first hearing. I assumed that their reference was to the movie, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” that was released in 1965 by directory George Stevens. This is a movie adaptation of the biblical telling of Jesus of Nazareth, from his birth to his ascension, after his resurrection from the crucifixion. Or maybe it was referring to the Gather song, “It’s Still the Greatest Story Ever Told” which sings of the coming of the messiah as the baby Jesus, and how God became his own flesh and blood creation out of love for mankind. Now, this is the greatest story ever told. It also happens to be true. God became man. The Creator became his own creation to reveal his love of his to his creation. But to say that Jesus came to heal your hurts is the greatest story is a sweet little lie, or at the minimum a very incorrect statement, and no where near the truth.
You see, since the ancient of times, we have had great men of renown (Genesis 6:4). We have had wise men, like Solomon to give us sage advice and provide a model of sound judgement. Men like his father King David to show us how to protect the weak and provide for one another have been around since the beginning. We have even had men who have walked and talked to God, men like Enoch, Job, Noah, Moses and Abraham. We even have references to peoples hurts and sicknesses being healed in the Old and the New Testament, without it being a miracle. The author of the Gospel of Luke and Acts was a physician himself. God, from his throne was already reaching out to his people and healing their lands, their health, and giving them protection from their enemies. Jesus did not need to come here for any of that kind of stuff. Jesus did not come here for that kind of stuff. Did Jesus heal? Yes, he did. Did he come here to heal, yes, but not superficially. Does he care for you and your problems? Yes, he does. But that is not the reason why him coming is, “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. You see we can already do all of these things for one another, if we so chose to do.
We can provide emotional support and care. We can provide medical treatment, and life saving measures. We can prolong life beyond what would have been. We can deter the effects of many diseases and even put many in remission. We can provide food and clothing to the orphans and widows. We can encourage one another when going through rough patches. But what we cannot do, is restore our relationship to God. We cannot raise ourselves from spiritual death, and make ourselves holy before God. This is what makes “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. God sent his only Son to restore our relationship to himself. Only God can give life. Only God can sustain life. Therefore, only God and bring us back to life.
In the beginning God created man with his own hands, and gave him life. Genesis 1:26-27 – And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. Genesis 2:7 – And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. Here we see the special relationship that God and man had from the very beginning. God created man with a special vision and purpose in mind. He created man as a model after himself and man was to be the caretaker of creation. He was God’s representative on earth. God planned him out, formed him with his own hands from the earth. This shows man’s relationship to God and to his creation. The God breathed life into man. God gave man life in an intimate and direct manner. Then man became a living soul. Man from the very beginning was flesh, spirit, and soul. Man was alive and if you were to continue reading in Genesis you would see that he was in fellowship with God. He walked and talked to God with no mediator in between, no fear.
Then a horrible event took place. Man was deceived by an enemy of God, who was once one of God’s chief angels. This fallen angel wanted to God. So he used cunning words to deceive the woman and the man that God was unfair and unjust. This deceptive picture of God caused man to question God’s word and authority. This led to the first sin of disobedience against God. Because man’s image of God had been distorted by what they were told about God, they believed incorrectly, and sinned. This is the same reason that I am writing this today. This false image of who Jesus is and why he came is a deception that must be confronted, lest anyone come to Jesus for the wrong reasons, and miss out on the real reason he came. Did Jesus heal people of their hurts, diseases, and deliver them from devils? Yes, he did. However, those were just signs to prove his authority for why he really came. The reason he came is so much more important than just physical healing or food for your stomach. He came to give you life, life that you have never had before. He came to deliver you out of the hands of death.
You see sin, brought death. Not just spiritually, but physical death also. Diseases, famine, pestilence, injustice, mental illness, and far more are all brought about by sin. These are not brought about by God, but by our fallen condition, caused by sin. We have never known a day without sin, since the fall of mankind in the beginning. This is part of the reason we cannot redeem ourselves. We do not even have an idea of what true justice, or righteousness looks like. But God does. He above all knows the cost that sin has had upon us, his special creation. Therefore, Jesus came to make us his righteousness. He was sent by the Father because someone had to die for the sin that we were trapped in. It had to be someone who had never sinned, nor was a receiver of the curse of sin through the bloodline of Adam.
Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. This is the statement made by God through the apostle Paul. The only payment for sin is death. That is the only reward that sin ever brings – eternal death. But God gives eternal life through Jesus Christ. The apostle John recorded the words of Jesus as this, For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16) So, let us take a moment to reflect on these two statements made by God. Sin, of which we are all guilty of by inheritance, action, or omission is punishable by death. There is no alternative to this debt. Unless the debt is paid for us.
Now, here comes the Creator. He loves us so much, that he created us with a special purpose and in an intimate manner and remembers the intimacy we once had. He desires to have this intimacy once again with his creation (you and me) so much that he decides to pay the death penalty for us. He does this though sacrificing his own son, Jesus Christ. Since Jesus died in our place, anyone who believes and accepts this payment of our death debt through the death of Jesus can be saved based on that belief. Now we who believe are brought from death to life. We are not just spared death and given a life, but we are given eternal life.
So what is eternal life? Jesus put it like this, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3) Eternal life is the restoration of the creation to the Creator. We once again are able to walk in fellowship with God. Remember, he is the source of life. Life emanates from him. Without him there is no life. We are tied into the source of life for eternity because he is eternal. He does not change, nor die, and neither do we. We have eternal life through Jesus Christ unto God the Father, sealed by the Holy Spirit.
What is the difference in what you believe? He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him. (John 3:36) You see we must have a clear understanding of who Jesus is and why he came. He came to do far more that just heal our hurts. He came to restore our relationship to God himself. He came to deliver us from death and from the wrath of God. Those who reject him, or who do not believe on him, are already under the wrath of God. Deliverance from the wrath of God comes in this way…
That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Romans 10:9-10)
Believe that Jesus is the Son of God. Believe that he was sent by God the Father to redeem you. Believe that Jesus did everything necessary to redeem you though his death, burial, and resurrection. Believe from the heart is not a feeling, but a choice to fully believe this as the truth. Belief on Jesus is what makes you righteous before God, and confession of this faith in Jesus Christ is what ties this belief to your acceptance of salvation. This is because it is prof of your belief. Not for God, but for yourself and for those who need to hear the truth. God Saves… this is “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. It is the story of how God loved you so much that he sent his son Jesus Christ to die for you, so that you could live with him. God has done for you what you could not do. He saved you from wrath, and death. He gave you eternal life.