Thinking of Three

by Victor Knowles

As we venture into the third millennium since the birth of Christ, think of threes. Solomon said two are better than one and that three is best of all (Eccl. 4:9,12).

The triangle is the strongest geometric design. God ordained three institutions: the home, the nation, and the church. Chuck Colson adds, "The home for the propagation of life; the state for the preservation of life; and the church for the proclamation of the gospel."

Our American system of government has three branches: executive, judicial, and legislative. If it is to be, it is up to these three. The motto of the U.S. Army is "Duty, honor, country."

Three is the number of unity. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are the great "Three-in-One" (sometimes called the Trinity or Godhead). All humanity can be placed into one of three divine classifications: Jew, Gentile, or the church of God, i.e., Christian (1 Cor. 10:33).

The unity of the human race can be traced to Noah's three sons (Gen. 6:10). Israel had three yearly feasts (Ex. 23:14-17). Esther prepared her heart for three days before meeting with the king (Esth. 4:16). Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days (Matt. 12:40).

The Bible was written in three languages (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic). The Bible was written on three continents (Asia, Europe, Africa). Jesus said the Old Covenant Scriptures consisted of three groupings: the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms (Luke 24:44).

The three most famous Old Testament patriarchs are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Deut. 1:8). Isaiah heard the Seraphim praise God as three times holy (Is. 6:3). Paul said the three greatest things in the world are faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13). The New Jerusalem will have three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west (Rev. 21:13).

But I especially think of threes in regards to Jesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior.

Wise men from the East presented the Christ child with three gifts fit for a king: gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:1-11). After three days of searching, His parents found 12-year-old Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:46). Jesus' public ministry lasted three years (Luke 13:7).

Jesus filled three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King ("Crown Him Prophet, and Priest, and King"). He had an "inner circle" of three special friends: Peter, James, and John (Mark 14:33). On the Mount of Transfiguration, Peter suggested that three tabernacles be built for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah (Matt. 17:4).

Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times (Matt. 26:34). He told the Jews that if they destroyed the temple (His body) He would raise it up in three days (John 2:19). In the Garden of Gethsemane He prayed three times while His disciples slept (Matt. 26:34). As Jesus predicted, Peter denied His Lord three times (Matt. 26:75).

It was the third hour (Jewish time) when Jesus was crucified (Mark 15:25). His cross was one of three Roman crosses (Matt. 27:38). The accusation placed over His head was written in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (John 19:20).

Jesus suffered from three wounds ("See from His head, His hands, His feet, sorrow and love flow mingled down"). Three women named Mary stood at the foot of the cross: His mother Mary, Mary wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene (John 19:25). The third words spoken from the cross contained three words: to Mary, "Behold thy Son"; and to John, "Behold thy mother" (John 19:26,27).

Jesus was in the grave for three days (Matt. 12:40). Early on the morning of the third day, He arose (Matt. 28:1-7). Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" (John 21:15-17).

The gospel consists of three great truths: the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ (1 Cor. 15:3-4). "There are three who bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one" (1 John 5:7). "There are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one" (1 John 5:8).

"Communion," "the Lord's Supper," and "the Breaking of Bread" are three names for the special meal we partake of each Sunday. Baptism is the only command given in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19).

The claims of Christ are so comprehensive that we are only left with three choices: either Jesus was a liar...a lunatic... or the Lord He professed to be.

Three words instantly spring from my heart: "Lord, I believe!"