“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe.”
At times, I find it difficult to be thankful for the particular day I find myself in, let alone the historical time period. The time of the week or the particular season can overwhelm me with business and fatigue and I become grumpy and distain my circumstances. This Sunday I was struck with the realization that historical figures throughout the Scriptures longed for the era in which we live. As Christians in our particular time period, we have the joy of both reflection and expectation of the promised Christ. We live in such a fascinating time in the work of God because we can bask in the glory of the fulfillment of the Law on the Cross and look forward to the eradication of sin and death from the face of the earth.
As a child, I wished I could go back in time and share in the experiences of the Israelites who experienced God’s work first hand in the desert. Hanna Barbera had a Christian series we used to watch in Sunday school about three young archeologists who were transported back in time and stumbled into Bible stories as they happened, and I was always fascinated with this concept. As I grew older, like many of you I’m sure, I thought my faith would be fortified so much if I could have lived in the time of Christ and experienced His life and work. I’m sure many Israelites felt similar frustrations and longings to live outside their circumstances. Many of them wanted to return to Egypt and slavery rather than live by faith in the desert. Many more Israelites longed for the future monarchy in Israel and complained about their lack of human leadership. In the exile, the people of Israel longed for their home and envied the generations before them who took the Promised Land for granted. During the 400 years between Malachi and Matthew, the people longed for the days when God would speak to them again through the prophets like in the days of old.
Christ’s office as a Prophet ties all of these eras together. The coming of His Kingdom and the fulfillment of the law was truly good tidings of great joy that is, was, and will be for all people. In this advent season, we have the opportunity to reflect and look forward in so many ways. From God’s work in the Old Testament to His birth in a manger, we celebrate His faithfulness to His people. We have the privilege of taking part in the tradition of God’s faithfulness as well. I love sitting around with my family telling stories of God’s work in our lives and anticipating the work he will do in future generations. I love looking around on Sunday mornings and dreaming of a youth group full of Boyers and McGoverns and Mims and I cannot wait for God’s continued faithfulness to the generations of Good Shepherd. God’s promise to Abraham continues in us as our numbers add to his offspring and join all the generations before us.
The miraculous means by which we have been grafted into the lineage of Abraham should cause us to rejoice. The journey from Mount Sinai to Mount Zion has been covered with hardship and the unfaithfulness of our ancestors in the family of God. But we have a Prophet, Priest, and King who has given us a perfect record before the throne of God so we can approach with confidence. We do not have to claim the record of our forefathers as payment for our acceptance into his kingdom, but we have been given the gracious record of Jesus Christ. What a miraculous confidence to know that His faithfulness to our generations at Good Shepherd is rooted in Christ’s work and not our own.