Monday, June 16, 2014

The Beginning and the End

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.
Revelation 22:13

Jesus Christ is one Person fully human and fully divine, but as He enters and permeates time, we experience Him as He describes Himself to John the Revelator, as the Beginning and the End. Philosophers and theologians have written volumes about this, but I only want to say a few words about the Good News of Jesus Christ, which I believe also is experienced and works in us as the Beginning and the End.

The Good News ‘looks different’ when it is the Beginning. It is a word that could be written down: The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah… (Mark 1:1-2a)

The Good News is a word that could be spoken, that can be preached: Jesus went into Galilee. There He proclaimed the Good News from God. “The time has come,” He said, “and the Kingdom of God is close at hand. Repent, and believe the Good News.”
(Mark 1:14b-15)

The Good News as the Beginning is what the Church through the ages and up till today has busied itself with, planting the seed of the Word, laying the foundations for the Kingdom, that which is the Good News as the End. It is just as necessary that the Good News should be the Beginning, as it should be the End. And though there is only one Good News, it ‘looks different’ when it is the End.

The first Christians evangelized the world by bringing to it the Good News, the Beginning: Remember the Good News that I carry, “Jesus Christ risen from the dead, sprung from the race of David.”
(2 Timothy 2:8)

Yet even back then, the Good News, the End, was revealed: For I am not ashamed of the Good News: it is the power of God saving all who have faith. (Romans 1:16a)

The Beginning of the Good News was proclamation such as this:
“Yes, God loved the world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not be lost but may have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

The End of the Good News was demonstration such as this:
This has taught us love—that He gave up His life for us; and we, too, ought to give up our lives for our brothers. (1 John 3:16)

The Good News, the Beginning, consists of transmitting the teaching of Jesus and the story of His saving acts: “I was born for this, I came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to My voice.” (John 18:37b)

The Good News, the End, consists of Christ living in us and gathering His lambs into the Kingdom: Jesus knew that the hour had come for Him to pass from this world to the Father. He had always loved those who were His in the world, and now He showed how perfect His love was. (John 13:1)

I’m not entirely sure that I have been able to express my meaning well. Let me try again.

The Good News, the Beginning, is doing all the explicit evangelizing, missionary work, church life, everything that lays foundations for the building up of the Kingdom in spirit and truth, which is itself the Good News, the End, of which it is said, it “is close at hand.”

The Good News, the End, is letting Christ in us do that which He alone is capable of doing: “You are the Light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lampstand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14-16)

Our world, our culture, has been irradiated repeatedly and for a very long time with the Word of truth, and yet most people do not accept it, do not accept that Word which alone can save them—Jesus Christ. The same was true in the days of the Roman Empire. Yes, many were “added to their number,” through the preaching of the Good News, the Beginning. But back then, far more were added by their witnessing the holocaust of the martyrs, who went to their deaths without explicit preaching, who were transformed before the world by the love that they had, not only for their brothers, but for their enemies. That was the Good News, the End.

It is the demonstration of the Good News, the End, that is revealing Jesus to the world in this final age, effecting the true ‘end times harvest’ of saints.

Do not keep the prophecies in this Book a secret, because the Time is close. Meanwhile, let the sinner go on sinning, and the unclean to continue to be unclean; let those who do good go on doing good, and those who are holy continue to be holy. Very soon now I shall be with you again, bringing the reward to be given to every man according to what he deserves. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
(Revelation 22:10-13)

No comments: