The Bible remains silent on God’s activity in the 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. The dark void in the top left corner of this panel points to this silence, though it is abruptly broken by the appearance of the star that heralds the birth of Jesus, the long-awaited King of God’s people (Matt 2:1-2).
While many anticipated the coming of the Messiah, his arrival was not as expected. He was not simply a godly man, but the very Word of God incarnate among his creation (Jn 1). Yet He came as a baby, to Mary and Joseph, a humble couple selected by God, in very humble circumstances, placed at his birth in a feeding box for animals (Lk 1:26-38; 2:1-7; Matt 1:18-25). To show that Jesus’ birth was truly for all people, it was announced first to common shepherds by an angel (Lk 2:8-21).As a grown man preparing for the work God had sent him to do, Jesus was baptized by John. Here his identity as God’s Son was affirmed and he was anointed by the Holy Spirit (Matt 3:13-17; Mk 1:9-11; Lk 3:1-22; Jn 1:29-34). From his baptism, Jesus was led into the wilderness where he endured temptation from Satan (Matt 4:1-11; Lk 4:1-13). The tempter is depicted here in the same form as the serpent from panel 1 to show how Jesus’ temptation connected him to the entire human race—and by overcoming that temptation, Jesus not only sympathizes with humanity’s weaknesses, but is able to extend grace and deliverance from them (Heb 4:14-16).
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