Friday, April 8, 2016
It seems the media today is always concerned about one of two things - politics and economics.
Who's ahead in the polls? How are the races going in the swing states? What's the latest controversy? How is the economy doing? How much have the markets gone down? How will the world's economic crisis and Europe's terror crisis affect us here?
The mass media covers politics and economics, and we pay attention, as we should.
We are citizens of 2 kingdoms, after all, the kingdom of the right and the kingdom of the left.
So we should pay attention on some level and know what is going on in the world.
Yet the kingdom of this world should never out-shine or over-shadow the kingdom of our Lord.
For you see, there is an even greater thing going on right now than the presidential election,
the crisis in the middle east, the Masters, March Madness, and yes, even Opening Day.
The kingdom of God has come near. The kingdom of heaven has broken through time and space and entered into our world. God has become man, the Word has become flesh, the infinite has become finite, and newsflash, this just so happens to be the most important event in the history of the world! Extra Extra - read all about it!
This is nothing less than the long-awaited end-time redemptive rule and reign of the Creator of heaven and earth himself. The kingdom of God has been ushered in by the one and only Son of God - Jesus Christ - the Anointed One - the Messiah - the Savior and Redeemer of men's souls.
What was repeatedly promised and anticipated and foreshadowed and prefigured for ages and ages has finally come to pass. Moses and the prophets, the patriarchs, priests, and kings would love to be in your shoes! What great good news - what glad tidings! The best news the world could ever receive! Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Easter, and Happy Thanksgiving all rolled into one! Could we get a little news coverage please??
I guess that the lack of press is not all that surprising. In one sense, things really haven't changed all that much. Famine, disease, sickness, death, tumult, tragedy, catastrophe, pestilence, wars, rumors of wars, political factions, economic woes, leaders vying for power and influence. How can you say the kingdom of God is here when all this chaos is going on just like it always has?
Well, the fact is, human reason can only deal with the kingdoms of this world. That's why it's all you see on TV. The kingdom of God doesn't get a whole lot of press because it looks pretty small and lowly - kind of like a mustard seed. There's nothing noticeable or remarkable or grand or glorious about it. At least not on this side of eternity.
The end-time rule and reign of God in Jesus Christ the Messiah has indeed arrived, but it doesn't always look like what you'd think. It often times looks small and lowly, weak and insignificant, pitiful and powerless.
This is the mystery of the kingdom. It is surely at work - but in a hidden kind of way. In a way hidden from human reason. In a way the mass media will never understand. For it came through the humble figure of Jesus of Nazareth, who was born in a stable, and placed in a lowly manger. His parents were poor peasants, and he became a carpenter like his father. When the time was right, he began teaching and preaching about the the kingdom of God. "Repent and believe the good news." Some followed but most did not. During the last days of his life in Jerusalem, all of his disciples abandoned him, one even betrayed him, and he was left alone to suffer and die on a roman cross.
The kingdom of God had arrived, but most everyone rejected it. It wasn't the kind of kingdom they wanted. It wasn't the kind of kingdom they thought God should have. So Jesus, though he was King, allowed himself to be despised and rejected, allowed himself to be taken into the hands of evil men, to be beaten and bloodied, whipped and tortured, and then to be crucified on the cross, to die for the sins of all the world.
Why would the King of all creation allow himself to go through all that? So that by taking upon himself all the sins of all the world, and putting them to death on the cross once and for all, He might overturn death itself by his own death and resurrection - in order to bring forgiveness and salvation to all who believe, and to inaugurate the end-times rule and reign of God.
Christ has died - Christ has risen - Christ will come again. Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And along with the Father and the Holy Spirit, He now rules and reigns to all eternity. This is most certainly true.
It might not make the morning papers or the evening news, but the kingdom of God is very much at work right now in the world. The kingdom of God is at work right here in our midst today - through Word and Sacrament, through the Holy Spirit, and through His people. Christ is present with us even now, and someday He is coming again to restore all things and claim that which he has redeemed.
Wouldn't you love to see the live shot on that day when Jesus comes again? When Christ Himself appears in power and glory and might and all people see Him for who he really is? I'd love to see the look on the reporter's face when he realizes, just before the connection goes dead, that no story in the history of the world could ever compare with this one.
If only he could have written the headline - "Creator of Universe Returns To Make Things Right".
Oh what a headline that would be ... and what a reality that will be for you and for me.