Long before showing up on the scene, prophets and poets were made aware by God that he would come. His work would be what all people and the universe needed.
For millennia, the world waited in darkness with only faint hints of light from time to time. God chose a nation that would receive his law and share its uniqueness with the world. God would lead their kings, priests and peasants, though they were an imperfect and disobedient lot.
When the time was right and the world was ready, he came. He came as a child through a woman who was humble and obedient toward the heart of God. He was born in a dusty corner of the world that became the center of hope.
It became clear that not only was he sent by God, but he was the revelation of God. He was no less than the Divine himself. He was fully man and fully God. How can this be? I don’t know. But many mysteries of the universe are hidden from me. Some of the things he did and said could only be explained that way.
He taught, convicting the hearts of the broken and self-righteous. He showed compassion and power in giving sight to the blind, making the infirmed walk and even raising the dead. He didn’t do these things to create a scene or make a name for himself. But he did them to love completely and authenticate his message of hope for humanity.
The powers of the world and the unseen world came against him. And like many good men before him, he was rejected and killed in the most horrific way possible. He died, being nailed to a Roman execution cross. But even in that, there were those who saw something different. They didn’t see fear, but purpose. They didn’t see weakness, but a new kind of power.
At the time when even his most ardent supporters were walking away, something happened. Just three days later, the power of God, just as was promised by him, raised him from the dead. Body and soul; physical and spiritual, he came out of the death-cave.
He ascended to heaven and sent another one to live within those who trust. He sits in the place of honor in the heaven of God. He promised that when the time is right and the days of redemption are over, he will return. He will come to be the glorious, majestic, pure and loving king of creation. All will see him.
Where is the hope that he brought? The hope, he told us, is in the fact that he lives. Like him, he promised all who trust him will live. We will live now and we will live forever. The hope is also in the forgiveness he gives. Through his death, all our failures were placed on him. In his perfection and holiness, he carried our rebellion, our self-sufficiency, and our pride.
At one point in my life and in most days since, I’ve come to the realization that I am in need of his purity, his power, his love, his grace and his forgiveness. I am moved to worship him. I want to know him. And I hope to follow him, even if imperfectly. He is real, alive and active in my life. He gives me purpose. He gives me his presence. He gives me his words. He give me his love. I am his disciple, his student, his friend.
Some people long for heaven and so accept him. I long for him and one day will be given heaven. But I know he is the prize.
His name is Jesus, the Anointed One, the Son of God and Son of Man. He is the crucified One. He is the risen One. He is the coming One. He is the One who knows and wants to be known.
I hope you will come to know him too. Faith begins simply. But like the simple seed that is planted grows into a tree with leaves, roots, trunk, branches and bark; faith grows into a wondrously complex relationship that envelopes our identities, our reason and our ways.