Thursday, December 18, 2008

10 Things Part 7: The Scriptures part 2


We need story. Story explains what life means and how we are to get on in our world. Christians claims that the Bible contains the true story of humanity and it’s relation to God. It tells the story of God the creator. He made all things good and created human beings to be in special relationship with him and his created order. But Adam was deceived by the devil and sinned against God, pulling judgment down on himself and the entire human race. The fascinating thing is that although man descends deeper and deeper into rebellion God acts with mercy. He will put the world to rights. God will deal with the problem of sin and the evil where it originated.

God works within his creation by creating a covenant family through Abraham; this family will be a blessing to all nations and is promised the inheritance of a land. He shows his covenant love to his family by recuing them from slavery to evil and he gives them a law so that they can be a light to the nations. He gives them the temple as a meeting place with humanity and God and provides the sacrificial system so that a sinful people may approach a holy God.

Eventually, however, Israel is unfaithful to God. Instead of living in unique relationship with him they become just like everyone else and worship idols. The bearers of the solution became a part of the problem. This sin invokes the wrath of God and his people are sent into exile and God’s meeting place is destroyed. The people of God suffer under foreign rulers and they long for the day when they would be freed from evil, when evildoers would be judged, Israel would be given a King who would shepherd his people, they would receive God’s spirit, creation and humanity would be renewed, they would be able to meet with God again and their sins would be forgiven (and many more promises). Things ‘would’ happen. The prophets proclaimed that God had not utterly forsaken his people but that God would fulfill his promises to his people and to the whole world.

When John the Baptist came on the scene preaching that the Kingdom of God has drawn near God’s people, at least some, would have realized that God was finally fulfilling his promises. The true return from exile was happening. God was doing what he said he would do at last. Jesus came and exercised authority of all sorts of evil including demons, sickness and even ‘natural disasters’. Jesus was taking care of evil at its root. He was also forgiving sins apart from the temple and pronounced judgment on it, showing that he was himself the eschatological meeting place for God and his people. Sinner’s and outcasts were welcomed to be apart of the celebration showing that God was building his renewed people. Jesus was exiling people out of this evil age into the kingdom of God. He was at last becoming King.

Jesus didn’t meet the expectations of some, however. Many people were hostile towards Jesus because his kingdom agenda looked a lot different than what they expected. They expected fireworks but Jesus brought a mustard seed. Jesus knew that he would be killed because of his kingdom work. He was claiming that his kingdom way was the right way and that all other kingdom ways were wrong and would be judged by God. But his death was no accident. The very judgment that would fall on Israel, and the whole world, would be focused on Jesus himself on the cross. Jesus became a substitution for his people. Jesus would create a kingdom people.

Jesus did not stay dead. On the third day he rose again. Jesus is the leader of the church. He is the one who was raised ahead of the rest, thus, inaugurating God’s new creation. He ascended to the right hand of the Father and is exercising his messianic reign. This is good news because Jesus is the good King who brings justice, mercy, forgiveness and love. He will come again and complete the work of new creation fully establishing his kingdom on the new earth.

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