Monday, February 18, 2008

Portraits of Jesus: Alpha & Omega over history

We’ve been rolling through the A to Zs of Jesus so far and Jesus seems to be in charge over, the Alpha & Omega over, the spiritual realm, but there’s not much case beyond that. Revelation next gives us a clear picture that Jesus is the Alpha & Omega over history.

Remember how Jesus’ redemptive work proved Him fit to open the seals of the scroll? We’re going to see why that matters.

Now I watched when the Lamb opened one of the seven seals, and I heard one of the four living creatures say with a voice like thunder, "Come!" 2 And I looked, and behold, a white horse! And its rider had a bow, and a crown was given to him, and he came out conquering, and to conquer. 3 When he opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, "Come!" Revelation 6:1-3
The pattern continues in the same chapter, verses 5, 7, 9, & 12. Now it depends on how you view Revelation what these mean. Some think they are the beginning of the end, others think they are a picture of what human history is like between the first and second coming of Jesus. I would generally think the former, but latter made a good bit of sense when John Stott explained it (The Incomparable Christ). Either way, the point for this point is the same. Things happen when Jesus says they happen – in one case at the end, in the other case over the last 2000 years. Scripture regularly asserts God is in control – and Jesus shares the attributes of God.

What does this mean? It means when the planes hit the towers on 9/11 He didn’t say, “Oops. I didn’t see that coming.” It means the tragedies in personal our lives are not the surprises to Him they are to us.

I don’t like that. I’d like a warning, a heads up.

This may frustrate us on a bunch of levels, but we trust that He is working all things toward and end that glorifies Him – even if all the details don’t make sense to us (and we don’t see how they ever could). But that’s the truth of Rom. 8.28 – all things work for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes. This is what the church in Smyrna (that we read earlier) had to trust in. Jesus said stay faithful to the end – and that’s likely going to mean death for some of them.

It isn’t that Jesus is calloused; He’s working on the vast tapestry of history. He cares deeply. In the next chapter of Revelation you’ll see that that those who have suffered will be led by the Lamb to springs of living water and have every tear wiped from their eyes … but make no mistake; they’ve suffered. But it is somehow part of Jesus’ plan.

I wish I had easy answers on this one. If I did I’d have a best-selling books and you’d have to pay to read my musingsJ

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