FAITH: Focusing on the peace He will create
One of the basic beliefs of all orthodox Christianity is the return of Jesus Christ to the world to once and for all set things right by defeating Satan and setting up for good, the Kingdom of God through His reign on the earth. This reign will be a time of peace, but not peace as we understand in our time of human history. This peace will not just be a time of the absence of war, pain, and suffering, but it will be a time when the inhabitants of this world will live in the tranquility, law and order and harmony only possible by the pure presence of Jesus Christ. I want to plead with all who read this message to be ready now to be part of what is to come.
“A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him— the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of might, the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord — and he will delight in the fear of the Lord. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with his ears; but with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked. Righteousness will be his belt and faithfulness the sash around his waist. The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the cobra’s den, and the young child will put its hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.” Isaiah 11:1-9 NIV
I want to address a few of the Biblical and theological themes we see in this passage. First, the stump of Jesse. Jesse was the father of David, the greatest King of the people of Israel. Because Jesus comes from the line of King David, He too would come from the line of Jesse. It is interesting the description of a stump. The reality is, by the time of Jesus, the family of David and the city of Bethlehem, were not any more important than any other line due to the dispersion of the Jews, secularization of Israel’s king, and the Roman occupation. Jesse’s family, which was once a royal line, now was just a stump. This is the line God choose to have Jesus be part, this was on purpose. God always takes what the world sees as worthless and uses it for His purpose.
The one coming, Jesus, is said here to be a judge over the earth and all its people. His judgement however will be a holy and pure one, not decided by sight or rumor, but by righteousness and true justice, looking not only at actions, but more importantly motive and intention of the heart. I think and meditate more and more about the day I will stand before the Lord in judgment. I think about the motivations of my life, parts of me which are phony, and the parts of me still yet to be sanctified. Someday, the light of Christ’s holiness will shine on all our lives and will illuminate who we really are. We have the opportunity and chance now to surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to continually purify and change us so on that day, we will be seen as blameless because of the blood of Christ and the obedience of holiness.
The peace we believe is coming is described in the reference of nature. Because of humanity’s original sin, creation and nature became at odds with itself and is a dangerous place. The day of peace is coming when the curse of sin will no longer impact the world, including nature. No longer will there be hunter and prey because the presence of Christ will supply all the needs of all creatures and no longer will we be at odds. This sounds so good to me and it should sound so good to you. As we continue to focus on Christ during this Advent 2020, may we focus on the peace He gives us during the distress of life, but also on the peace He will create when He comes again.
Peace is not something we can create on our own, but is a gift of Jesus because by Him, we have peace with God! That is Good News!
Rev. Brad McKenzie is Lead Pastor at Orange First Church of the Nazarene, 3810 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Orange.