This is post #4 of a series entitled Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace. We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here you’ll find very practical and biblically-sound advice on building bridges instead of walls, offering hope instead of despair. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
Click on the link below to listen to the podcast version of this blog!
Truth #1: Peacemakers Understand the Times in Which We Live.
Today’s Lectio Divina: Jesus, seeing that everything had been completed so that the Scripture record might also be complete, then said, “I’m thirsty.” A jug of sour wine was standing by. Someone put a sponge soaked with the wine on a javelin and lifted it to His mouth. After He took the wine, Jesus said, “It’s done . . . complete.” Bowing His head, He offered up His spirit. John 19: 28-30 (MsgB)
At that moment, the Temple curtain was ripped in two, top to bottom. There was an earthquake, and rocks were split in pieces. What’s more, tombs were opened up, and many bodies of believers asleep in their graves were raised. (After Jesus’ resurrection, they left the tombs, entered the holy city, and appeared to many.) The captain of the guard and those with him, when they saw the earthquake and everything else that was happening, were scared to death. They said, “This has to be the Son of God!” Matthew 27: 51-54 (MsgB)
In our last session, we pointed out two unique gifts of time awareness that would be very helpful for us Christ-followers to embrace as we journey with Jesus through these turbulent times in which we live.
- An awareness of the uniqueness of the time in which we live, and…
- An awareness of what we should be doing in such a unique time.
So, today, in following up on this theme, please allow me to ask two obvious questions…
What time is it? And, how is this time we live in unique?
To answer those questions, we must go back to the entirety of the Scriptures and understand that the Bible is not just a collection of stories placed into one book, but, more importantly, one story placed within a collection of books.
This one story can be summarized this way:
The Bible is the story of One God, our Father, Creator of Heaven and Earth, who loves His Creation so much that He will do anything and everything necessary to redeem, restore and reconcile that Creation back to Himself, even when those who were put in charge of that Creation, willingly stepped away from the stewardship role we were given. This God-work of redemption and reconciliation spans all of human history, culminating with the arrival of God’s Son, who through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, lived, died, and was raised back to life in order to show all of us the way back home to God, Our Loving Creator. So, as we turn the pages of the Bible, we are slowly progressing through this one long love story of God’s redemptive plan for His entire Creation.
In Genesis, we find the beginnings of this love story. As we read this ancient text, we find that long ago, in a garden far, far away, our ancestors, who were formed by our Loving Creator, and made in both His image and likeness, were commissioned to be hand-picked stewards of this beautiful blue marble we call Earth. But before our Mom and Dad could even get their bearings, they foolishly listened to some lies and half-truths made by a shady character who had done like-wise many ions earlier. Sadly, Mom and Dad decided that they could handle this new stewardship job on their own, outside the loving protection, wisdom, and guidance of the Creator. As you know, this set up a domino-effect of tragic events that would have spiraled completely out of control if the Father had not immediately stepped in, working on behalf of His wayward children. The remainder of what we call the Old Testament is a very-detailed story, showing us the beginnings and the early stages of an amazing God-plan to step back into time and space, accomplishing a rock-solid salvation plan that ultimately redeems all of Creation, restoring us all back to Himself, as though nothing bad had ever happened!
What we call the New Testament is the continuation of this God-story that started in Genesis. And as you can see from reading it, what happens here is the real game-changer. In what the Gospel writers call “the fullness of time,” God sends His unique Son to planet Earth to activate this God-breathed redemption plan. Everything worked perfectly. Jesus of Nazareth came quietly onto the scene, lived a human existence like all of us, and in the process, modeled for us both the heart of the Loving Father and what it looks like when human beings yield themselves back to that Father, living a life for the greater glory of God. Now, that would have been enough for most religions, but Jesus took this redemption plan one step further by taking our place on the Cross, dying for all of our sins and self-centeredness. And it’s on a hill called Calvary (see today’s Lectio Divina) in 33 A.D., just outside the city of Jerusalem, where God’s ultimate plan of salvation is completed.
In the symbolic ripping of the temple’s curtain, the holiness of God has now become accessible to fallen flesh. So now, through the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus, all human beings can be free from our trespasses, redeemed to live both this life and the life to come forever restored back into the garden of the Lord. Hallelujah!
But now, back to our questions.
What time is it, and why is this time unique?
Well, since 33 A.D., the moment Jesus ascended back into heaven with His unique promise of one day returning for all of us, a new dispensation of time began here on planet Earth. The Bible refers to this span of time (between Christ’s first coming and His second) as the Last Days. So, if you look at your calendar, you and I are living right at the very beginning of the third millennium of time called the Last Days.
And if you read your New Testament carefully, you’ll find that this span of time will be an age of the Holy Spirit, where God’s Spirit is poured out on all flesh, and you and I, as Christ-followers are not only given an earthly existence where we are free from the consequences of our sinful living, but we are also commissioned by Jesus to go, in His name, telling others about this Good News of salvation (that’s where our word Gospel comes from) that is available to any and all, regardless of age, sex, color, nationality, tribe, or tongue, to receive Jesus’ invitation to “Come, follow Me.”
So, as we discussed earlier, today, you and I are standing two thousand years closer to the Second Coming of Christ than our brothers and sisters who walked with Jesus at His first coming. And indeed, in the annals of God, this is one unique time. No one in the first century saw this time coming. They assumed Jesus was going to return in their lifetime. Read the book. You’ll see it. But here’s the surprise.
Jesus hasn’t come back. But, He left lots of messages for us on how you and I, who live much closer to the second coming than the first should be living. He also deposited the Holy Spirit in all of us, empowering us for the work at hand.
So, next time (now that we have better understanding of what time it is) we can discuss the second awareness we’re asking for. Not only are we needing to be aware of the unique time in which we live, but we also want to be better aware of what we should be doing with this time we have.
My Prayer: Jesus, thank You that God has given us a calendar that helps us answer the question of “What time is it?” For me, it’s so helpful to know that we’re not just swimming in an ocean of time, bobbing up and down, just trying to survive until You return for us. Thank You, that the Bible gives me the larger love story of God, and thank You, that You’ve enabled me to see myself on that timeline. Holy Spirit, indwell and empower me to live this unique time for Your glory. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.
A Few Questions to Ponder: As I see it, knowing the timeline of God’s bigger love story helps me find my place on the map. Just like when I go to a large shopping mall and study one of those “You are here!” signs, knowing where I’m at on the timeline of God helps me better find my bearings. How does knowing the uniqueness of the time I live in affect me? Does anything practically change in my life, knowing that I live and breathe in a unique time the Bible calls the Last Days? If so, what? And why?
So, how are you experiencing God’s presence as you are becoming a peacemaker for the cause of Christ?
Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace.
We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!