Every aspect of Jesus’ life has significance. His birth, perfect life, death, resurrection and ascension each represent a vital truth about God’s purposes that helps us see His hand in our daily lives.
1. Incarnation: Jesus’ birth is referred to as the Incarnation (Latin: “being in flesh”). The uniqueness of Jesus’ conception in the womb of a young virgin and the circumstances surrounding his birth only hinted at the staggering thought of what actually took place. God became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). The idea that Jesus is God in the flesh is so mind-boggling that few Christians take the time to ponder it. The purpose of the incarnation was to make the invisible God ‘visible’ by showing what he is like and how he behaves. But Jesus became one of us for another reason: to identify with our humanity so that as our representative, he could redeem us from the power of the devil (Heb 2:14-18).
2. Perfect Life: Jesus has the most incredible biography in human history. Even though he was tempted in every way, just like we are, the Bible makes it plain that he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15). So his life is the perfect example of how his followers should live. But Jesus gave us more than an example in his perfect life. He was a perfect sacrifice. Since he was the “Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), he had to fulfill the Jewish law’s requirements as a “lamb without blemish” (I Peter 1:19). His perfect life made him a worthy sacrifice to atone for sinners (I John 3:5).
3. Crucifixion: The cross was the most gruesome instrument of execution known in the ancient world. Roman justice used crucifixion as an example of its severity, an event that struck fear in the hearts of oppressed people who cowered under Roman control. Jesus suffered the excruciating pain of the cross to reveal the pain and horror caused by sin. In his death, Jesus took our sins upon himself. He experienced alienation from the Father and cried out, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” (Psalm 22:1) For an instant, the Father looked away from His beloved Son. He made Jesus who knew no sin to be sin on behalf of sinners, so that sinners might become the righteousness of God in Christ. (II Corinthians 5:21). Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree” (Galatians 3:13; Deuteronomy 21:23). The curse of death would provide life-giving blessing for our lives (Galatians 3:14).
4. Resurrection: If Jesus had remained dead, there would be no Christian faith. He would have been considered another deluded religious martyr. The resurrection was God’s seal of approval and vindication that Jesus’ death was divinely arranged to be the perfect sacrifice to atone for human sin. The resurrection of Jesus is also a guarantee that we too will be resurrected from the dead to live with our Heavenly Father forever. (Philippians 3:20-21, I Corinthians 15:20-22)
5. Ascension: After the resurrection, Jesus spent about 40 days showing himself to his disciples and preparing them for the upcoming task of preaching the Gospel. Before he said goodbye to his disciples on the Mount of Olives, he commissioned them to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:18-20). Before their eyes, Jesus ascended into heaven to sit at the right hand of the Father (Acts 1:3; Colossians 3:1). The ascension means that Jesus intercedes for us before the throne of ‘God (Hebrews 7:25). We have an advocate with the Father (I John 2:1) and our sins are continually forgiven (I John 1:9).