The Promises of God
When Mary was told about the coming birth of Jesus, she recognised that it was "In remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever." [Luke 1:54,55 NKJV]
Her relative, Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, also saw the birth of Jesus as God's work "For he has visited and redeemed his people, and has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets...to perform the mercy promised to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant, the oath which he swore to our father Abraham." [Luke 1:68-70,72,73 NKJV]
We cannot hope to understand the mission and work of Jesus Christ without an understanding of the Old Testament part of the Bible.
Promises were made by God in Eden to our first parents, that a Seed would be born who would save mankind from the effects of their sin. "And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." [Gen 3:15 NKJV]
This Promise was expanded to a faithful man called Abraham by God, who said "By myself I have sworn .. I will bless you .. I will multiply your descendants .. In your seed all nations of the earth will be blessed, because you have obeyed my voice." [Gen 22:16-18 NKJV]
These Promises were repeated to the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. From his twelve sons the nation of Israel was formed.
These Promises were expanded further when God said to David, the second King of Israel, "When your days are fulfilled...I will set up your seed after you...I will establish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father and he shall be my son." [2 Sam 7:12-14 NKJV]
It was partial fulfilment of these Promises that Mary realised when she was told of Jesus: "He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever." [Luke 1:32,33 NKJV]
Here was the SEED promised right from Eden. Here was the Saviour of mankind who would bring blessings on all nations. "When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law." [Gal 4:4,5 NKJV]
The death of this Promised Seed, Jesus Christ, brought about the means of redemption, as Peter explained: "Him, being delivered by the carefully planned intention and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that he should be held by it." [Acts 2:23,24 NKJV]
Jesus Christ is the first out of the human race to overcome the power of death. He is now at God's right hand. The purpose of God is being fulfilled even now through this Promised Seed. Peter tells us, "But those things which God foretold...that the Christ would suffer, he has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send Jesus Christ...whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, of which God has spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." [Acts 3:18-21 NKJV]
The Call to repentance and conversion goes out to all who seek salvation and immortality. "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the nations by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, In you all the nations shall be blessed. So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." [Gal 3:7-9 NKJV]
We can all be related to these Promises of God through the Promised Seed, Jesus Christ, by the rite of Baptism. "For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek...there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." [Gal 3:27-29 NKJV]