An excerpt from the 14 Eras Booklet by Iva May:
The Gospel Era
Matthew; Mark; Luke; John (Approximately 33 years)
The Silent Era concluded when an angel of God appeared to an old priest and told him that he and his barren wife would have a child “who would turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God,” as the prophet Isaiah had prophesied 700 years ago. When this priest’s wife was several months pregnant, the angel of God appeared to a young virgin engaged to a godly man named Joseph, and promised this girl, Mary, that she would have a child by the Holy Spirit who would save His people from their sins. His name would be Jesus. Mary believed God and gave birth to a son whom she named Jesus.
Jesus lived a sinless life for thirty years as a carpenter. When Jesus was about thirty, his cousin, John the Baptist, the son of the priest, began preaching in the wilderness about the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world and establish the kingdom of God. Jesus came to John and asked John to baptize Him into the Jordan to fulfill all righteousness; when Jesus came out of the water, the Holy Spirit came upon Him as a dove, and God Himself spoke from heaven saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”
After Jesus was tempted for forty days in the wilderness and resisted the devil, He began to do miracles. As Isaiah had prophesied, Jesus gave hearing to the deaf, sight to the blind, freedom to the captives, and preached the good news to the poor. Jesus healed thousands, fed thousands, forgave sins, cast out demons, and proclaimed the kingdom of God. He did everything that pleased God, His Father, and He committed no sin, making Him the perfect, innocent Lamb of God, spotless just like the lamb sacrificed at the Exodus.
Jesus called twelve men to Himself and trained them to make followers and to teach them everything He had commanded. Part of Jesus’ preparation for His disciples was to prepare them for his death for sinners. Commoners and sinners loved Jesus, but the religious crowd (the Pharisees and Sadducees) rejected Him. After three years of threats and accusations, these religious leaders arrested, falsely accused, and tried Jesus as a criminal. They delivered to the Roman governor who mocked, shamed, and beat Him, and then crucified Him on a cross between two thieves. Though He had never sinned, He died on the cross as a sin offering, as Isaiah prophesied, “We all like sheep have gone astray, we have turned each of us to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (53:6). Three days later, Jesus rose from the dead, just as He had promised.
Jesus, who knew no sin, became sin for us that we might become God’s righteousness. The perfect Lamb of God died and took away the sins of the world. He defeated the devil by His death; Jesus crushed the head of the serpent!
Jesus, Legalists, Sinners, and Women
Jesus Christ reached out to both men and women who were condemned and rejected by the religious establishment. Harlots experienced His forgiveness, demon-possessed men and women were set free, sick men and women were healed, and widows experienced His care. Jesus’ relationship with sinners fulfilled his mission “to seek and to save that which is lost.” Their response to His extravagant love was demonstrated on numerous occasions, such as when women washed his feet and dried them with their hair or when they poured expensive perfume upon His feet. Women were the first ‘evangelists’ carrying the good news of His resurrection to his disciples.
Jesus reached out to the ‘sinners’ of His day. While Solomon had said, “There is not a just man on the earth who does not sin,” the Jews considered certain occupations (such as tax-collectors) and certain types of people (lepers, harlots) to be sinners. Jesus reached out to these people, ministered to them, preached the good news of salvation to them, and even ate with them. When the religious crowd criticized Him for these acts, He responded, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”
At the same time, He regularly scolded those who believed that they were righteous through their works or that they did not need a Savior because of their status. These legalists (people who believe that they can achieve or maintain righteousness through works) received Jesus’ most fearsome condemnation because they saw themselves as better than others. When Jesus healed the man born blind, He rejoiced that those who are blind see, but sorrowed that those who think they see are blind. The legalists who heard Him asked, “Are we blind also?” He responded, “If you would say you were blind, you would see; but because you say, ‘we see,’ your sin remains” (John 9:41).
Jesus invested much of his last eighteen months preparing his disciples for his death and resurrection. He commissioned them to take the good news of Jesus Christ to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the world.
What does the Gospel Era reveal about God?
• Every promise and picture of redemption given by God throughout the Old Testament is completely fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
• Jesus heals people of their diseases, delivers them from demons, forgives their sin, and fulfills every Messianic promise.
• Jesus by His death seeks and saves all that was lost in Adam’s fall.
• God permits those in authority to crucify Jesus Christ and He raises Him from the dead.
• God may take a long time to fulfill His promises, but He always keeps them.
• God demands a payment for sin, but He also provides the payment that He demands.
• God uses the wickedness of man to accomplish His redemptive purposes.
• Legalists refuse to come to God His way. Theirs is a works- based righteousness.
• Sinners who recognize their need of redemption come to Jesus and find forgiveness in Him and new life in Him.