Last year in September I started a series about Jesus and History. I promised three parts and delivered two. This is that missing third part, just like Jesus I trust it will be worth the wait.
In our first instalment, Jesus-Yesterday I spoke of how the incarnation of Jesus set a trajectory of forgiveness for us today. Often we think about Jesus work as being completed, and in a very real sense Jesus’ mission was fulfilled in the cross and resurrection. But this inbreaking into history was the beginning of something new, not the end.
In our second instalment, Jesus-Today, I talked about recognizing the imminent work of Jesus. Jesus is at work all around us, drawing folks to the Father and revealing the Kingdom of God. This is something we don’t tend to meditate on enough; in fact we tend to overemphasize Jesus’ relationship to the end of history.
Now my intention was not to make you wait this long for the third instalment, but as I am writing this I cannot help but be struck by how appropriate that is. All of our hope is tied into Jesus – and yes our hope is that at the end of all things we will be with Jesus.
In light of the pain that is often our experience of the immediate world around us, it is easy to see why we would choose to focus on this hope. But the big problem with a focus on an eschatological hope is that we can’t really prove it. Just read the gospel of John and look for what is the actual catalyst for change in lives, over and over it is the presence of Jesus that evokes greater and more specific confessions of faith. By focusing on the hope that is to come we are just deferring hope, something the Bible rightly tells us makes our hearts sick.
Rather, our eternal hope must spring from the realized immediate hope of our encounter of Jesus Christ. So waiting for this message you likely gave up, thinking it was a great idea but Frank is a new blogger and bound to let a few things fall to the wayside. So too in waiting for the return of Christ many have given up.
This is exactly the reason I started this little series. My heart is to see a people who are confident in whom they know (present) so that they will trust Jesus with all that is to come (future). Didn’t Paul say something along those lines (2 Timothy 1:12).
So be encouraged, Christ has come. Jesus made the way for us to live in the forgiveness of God. Christ is here. Jesus promised to be with us even unto the end of days, He will never leave nor forsake us. And Christ will come again. Our hope is bolstered by our hearts assurance that the one who faithfully working in us today is the same one who will come at the culmination of all things. Praise be to Jesus, the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.