Monday, February 28, 2011

Telling The Story

A couple weeks ago I began a sermon series on Ezra-Nehemiah. As I was preparing for the introductory message, it dawned on me that I have been slowly, steadily learning the story of the Bible. I have repeatedly read the Bible through, and I have "known" it for years, but there are endless connections to be made as I learn how the many stories relate to The Story.

What stood out to me in Ezra-Nehemiah is that it is a "success" story that leaves you hungry for the much more. The exiles return according to God's Word and God's pre-announced timetable; the temple, the wall and the city of Jerusalem are rebuilt and God's people return to the Word with confession and corporate worship. On the other hand, they are yearning for the restoration that was promised by the earlier prophets, the restoration to be established by Messiah.

Today, we Christians are greatly blessed to live on the other side of the cross and the empty tomb. Messiah has come. We live in the age of the Spirit in the inaugurated kingdom, yet we, too, hunger for more. Our vision ought to be raised to New Covenant standards, however. Ezra and Nehemiah longed for a restored Israel. We long for a restored Universe. This is the rest of the story that we long to experience as we groan over disease, war, earthquakes and other marks of the fallen world.

Monday, February 07, 2011

A Living Hope

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith--more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire--may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:3-9