Monthly Archives: April 2009
He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.– Ecclesiastes 3:11b
The gospel must be central because nothing else even comes close to filling the eternal gap.We all agree that fallen man has a “God-shaped hole,” but then we go on to suggest all kinds of fillers that are not God — financial success, good sex, promotions at work, healthy relationships, happy spouses and children, community service, outlets for our creativity, etc. All good things but all things you can have and do and still be eternally bankrupt.
Our scale is far too small. The Bible speaks to all manner of good things useful to all men, but the Church is starving (starving!) for the glory of God. We too easily forget that the gospel covers the scale of eternity, that it is the division between real life and death, that God is infinite and our sin is a condemnation-worthy offense against an eternally holy God. We preach and we settle for much less than, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!”
Every week people file into our church services aching for eternity; in our zeal to provide something they may find comfortable and useful and inoffensive, are we offending the God who wishes to offend us in awe of his glory? Are we dismissing our brother Jesus whose formula for victory includes crucifixion?
The scale is enormous, the stakes are high. Instead of spiritually …
Imagine you are one of Jesus’ devoted followers grieving his execution. A couple of days have passed. You are dejected, bewildered, perhaps scared of the repercussions. You are, of course, totally devastated that your friend, the kindest, gentlest, most faithful friend you’ve ever had has been executed for a crime he didn’t commit. There is at this time no celebration that Jesus had finally achieved victory on the cross. You and the other disciples aren’t partying, overjoyed that Jesus has died to forgive your sins. In your minds, your friend is gone, and since messiahs weren’t expected to die before establishing a restored kingdom of Israel , seeds of doubt begin to sprout. Maybe you begin to wonder if he was who he said he was. You begin to think the cause has been defeated.
In grieving the loss of your friend and rabbi, you are beginning to wrestle with grieving the loss of the meaning he gave to life and to the incredible promise of God’s return to his people he represented. At some point, a dangerous despair could kick in.
That is how Christianity would have stalled before it could even get started, were it not for one shining moment in the history of the world.The resurrection.
As Christians, we believe that Jesus not only died for our sins, but that he rose from the dead three days later to conquer death. And that glorious event is when all heaven broke loose.
For the disciples, the sacrificial death of Jesus …