2012 has been an eventful year here in our FCC family, from start to finish, and I look forward to seeing what God has in store for us in 2013. That means that I should probably say, "Happy New Year!"
We had a great time together as a church family on Monday night at our annual New Year’s Eve game night. It’s just so heart-warming to look around the room and see so many different age levels and demographics all having fun together as an act of worship--and yes, playing JengaTM can be an act of worship if you do so as part of building a better, deeper sense of fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Having said that, repeatedly losing at Settlers of CataanTM can begin to thwart that fellowship...
The funny thing is, it’s all so arbitrary. We could start our new year off in March, or we could remind ourselves that the concept of a “year” is just a way of putting brackets around measurable portions of an eternity that has no brackets around it--it’s not like Tuesday marked the beginning of a fundamentally different reality than Monday had been, since it’s January of 2013 instead of December of 2012.
Then again, there are some definite brackets around the timeline of this world. There was a definite beginning of things, and there will be a definite end to things. We talked a little bit about that in our final, bonus Advent message, looking at the fulfillment of the promise of the coming of the “Son of Man” in the birth of Jesus Christ.
See, “Son of Man” was a phrase in the Old Testament that simply pointed to the humanity of a person--he’s not God, but just a son of Mankind (kind of like Aslan liked calling humans “Sons of Adam” and “Daughters of Eve” in the Narnia books). But at least a few times, that phrase was used to describe a specific person who was only like a “Son of Man”--someone in particular who (in Psalm 80) is described as the Son of God, and who (in Daniel, and then later on in Revelation) is described as being superhumanly powerful, blindingly pure, and worthy of God’s own glory, sovereignty, and worship. That “Son of Man” is somehow both the Son of God and of Man--and Jesus repeatedly let people know that the title actually referred to Him.
Again and again, we’re told in the New Testament that the passion and the priority of the “Son of Man” was to seek and save the lost--to forgive sins, to change lives, and to draw all people to Himself. That’s what His focus was, and He delays His final coming now so that as many people as possible can come to know Him personally.
That’s Christ’s priority, His passion--is it yours and mine?
We have been given the message of reconciliation to take to this broken world. We have been made ambassadors of His Kingdom. We have been told that His life should serve as an example of how we should live our lives. So it’s worth asking, do our hearts break for the lost like the “Son of Man’s” heart did?
You and I are surrounded every day by countless people who will--when Jesus Christ returns--scramble and say, “Really? If only I’d have known about that, I’d have been ready for it...” That’s not true, of course--no one will be completely “ready” for it. But if Jesus was right and the whole world stands condemned already, then we have to believe that “not being ready” is the natural state of humanity--which leads me to three questions:
- How important do you perceive it to be for your soul to be ready to face Jesus on the day of His return?
- How important do you perceive it to be for your neighbor’s soul to be ready to face Jesus on the day of His return?
- And how much longer do you have on this Earth as Christ’s ambassador to those around you before He does return?