a. How did the angels give the message about the birth of Christ—and what had God commanded them? Luke 2:10, 11; Hebrews 1:6–8.
“At these words, visions of glory fill the minds of the listening shepherds. The Deliverer has come to Israel! Power, exaltation, triumph, are associated with His coming. But the angel must prepare them to recognize their Saviour in poverty and humiliation.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 47.
b. How was Christ’s birth prophesied? Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:22, 23.
“It was to manifest this glory that [Christ] came to our world. To this sin-darkened earth He came to reveal the light of God’s love—to be ‘God with us.’ Therefore it was prophesied of Him, ‘His name shall be called Immanuel.’ ”—Ibid., p. 19.
2. A PERFECT LIFE
a. What are we told about the entire life of Christ on earth? Isaiah 53:2–4; Luke 4:18, 19; Acts 10:38.
“[Christ’s] whole life was a preface to His death on the cross. His character was a life of obedience to all God’s commandments, and was to be a sample for all men upon the earth. His life was the living of the law in humanity. That law Adam transgressed. But Christ, by His perfect obedience to the law redeemed Adam’s disgraceful failure and fall.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 382.
“Christ, the outshining of the Father’s glory, came to the world as its light. He came to represent God to men.”—Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 416.
“Christ’s work is to be our example. Constantly He went about doing good. In the temple and the synagogues, in the streets of the cities, in the marketplace and the workshop, by the seaside and among the hills, He preached the gospel and healed the sick. His life was one of unselfish service, and it is to be our lessonbook. His tender, pitying love rebukes our selfishness and heartlessness.
“Wherever Christ went, He scattered blessings in His path. How many who claim to believe on Him have learned His lessons of kindness, of tender pity, of unselfish love? . . . There was no wearying of His patience, no repressing of His love.
“Christ calls upon us to labor patiently and perseveringly for the thousands perishing in their sins, scattered in all lands, like wrecks on a desert shore.”—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 31.
b. Near the close of Christ’s mission on earth, what did He declare about Himself—and how does this benefit us? John 8:46.
“The divine Son of God was the only one of sufficient value to satisfy the claims of God’s perfect law. . . .
“He was the only one, who as a man walked the earth, who could say to all men, Who of you convinceth Me of sin? He had united with the Father in the creation of man, and He had power through His own divine perfection of character to atone for man’s sin, and to elevate him, and bring him back to his first estate.”—Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 2, p. 10.
3. HE DIED FOR HUMANITY
a. Describe the climax of the gospel and its impact. 1 Corinthians 15:3.
“Hanging upon the cross Christ was the gospel. . . . If we can awaken an interest in men’s minds that will cause them to fix their eyes on Christ, we may step aside, and ask them only to continue to fix their eyes upon the Lamb of God. They thus receive their lesson. Whosoever will come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. He whose eyes are fixed on Jesus will leave all. He will die to selfishness. He will believe in all the Word of God, which is so gloriously and wonderfully exalted in Christ.”—Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 37.
“The Son of God was rejected and despised for our sakes. Can you, in full view of the cross, beholding by the eye of faith the sufferings of Christ, tell your tale of woe, your trials? Can you nurse revenge of your enemies in your heart while the prayer of Christ comes from His pale and quivering lips for His revilers, His murderers—’Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do’ (Luke 23:34)?”—That I May Know Him, p. 65.
b. What is the only way anyone can be eternally saved? Isaiah 45:22; John 3:14–16, 36; 2 Corinthians 5:21.
“Guiltless, [Christ] bore the punishment of the guilty. Innocent, yet offering Himself as a substitute for the transgressor. The guilt of every sin pressed its weight upon the divine soul of the world’s Redeemer. The evil thoughts, the evil words, the evil deeds of every son and daughter of Adam, called for retribution upon Himself; for He had become man’s substitute. Though the guilt of sin was not His, His spirit was torn and bruised by the transgressions of men, and He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”—Selected Messages, bk. 1, p. 322.
“Christ’s death proves God’s great love for man. It is our pledge of salvation. To remove the cross from the Christian would be like blotting the sun from the sky. The cross brings us near to God, reconciling us to Him. With the relenting compassion of a father’s love, Jehovah looks upon the suffering that His Son endured in order to save the race from eternal death, and accepts us in the Beloved.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 209.
4. HE IS RISEN
a. What wonderful news did Mary Magdalene and the other women receive from the angels? Luke 24:5–8.
“[The women] turned to flee, but the angel’s words stayed their steps. ‘Fear not ye,’ he said; ‘for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is risen, as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. And go quickly, and tell His disciples that He is risen from the dead’ [Matthew 28:5–7]. . . .
“He is risen, He is risen! The women repeat the words again and again. No need now for the anointing spices. The Saviour is living, and not dead. They remember now that when speaking of His death He said that He would rise again. What a day is this to the world! Quickly the women departed from the sepulcher ‘with fear and great joy; and did run to bring His disciples word.’ ”—The Desire of Ages, p. 789.
b. How essential is the resurrection of Christ to the plan of salvation? 1 Corinthians 15:4, 12–20.
“With convincing power the apostle set forth the great truth of the resurrection. [1 Corinthians 15:13–20 quoted.]
“The apostle carried the minds of the Corinthian brethren forward to the triumphs of the resurrection morn, when all the sleeping saints are to be raised, henceforth to live forever with their Lord.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 320.
“We read in the Bible about the resurrection of Christ from the dead; but do we act as though we believed it? Do we believe that Jesus is a living Saviour, that he is not in Joseph’s new tomb, with the great stone rolled before it, but that he has risen from the dead, and ascended on high, to lead captivity captive, and to give good gifts unto men? He is there to plead our cases in the courts of heaven. He is there because we need a friend in the heavenly court, one who is to be our advocate and intercessor. Then let us rejoice in this. We have everything for which to praise God. Many judge of their religious state by their emotions; but these are not a safe criterion. Our Christian life does not depend upon our feelings, but upon our having a right hold from above.”—The Review and Herald, March 8, 1892.
5. HE WAS SEEN
a. How many people became witnesses of the resurrection of Christ? Matthew 27:52–54; 1 Corinthians 15:5–8.
“As Christ arose, He brought from the grave a multitude of captives. The earthquake at His death had rent open their graves, and when He arose, they came forth with Him. They were those who had been colaborers with God, and who at the cost of their lives had borne testimony to the truth. Now they were to be witnesses for Him who had raised them from the dead. . . .
“These went into the city, and appeared unto many, declaring, Christ has risen from the dead, and we be risen with Him. Thus was immortalized the sacred truth of the resurrection.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 786.
b. What is promised to all faithful believers? 1 Corinthians 15:51–55; 1 Thessalonians 4:13–18.
“Jesus declared, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life.’ In Christ is life, original, unborrowed, underived. ‘He that hath the Son hath life.’ 1 John 5:12. The divinity of Christ is the believer’s assurance of eternal life. ‘He that believeth in Me,’ said Jesus, ‘though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in Me shall never die. Believest thou this?’ Christ here looks forward to the time of His second coming. Then the righteous dead shall be raised incorruptible, and the living righteous shall be translated to heaven without seeing death.”—Ibid., p. 530.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. What does the incarnation of Christ teach us about humility?
2. How can my life more closely reflect that of my Lord?
3. How are the scenes of the crucifixion to impact my attitude?
4. How is the resurrection of Christ to impact my attitude?
5. What do we need to realize about the significance of Christ’s divinity?