Jesus, the Father’s Grand Finale
For many, there was nothing like seeing fireworks as a child. If you grew up in the United States, that day was July 4 every year. Most of us have fond memories of the cookouts, the music, and getting together with family. Yet, what we looked forward to the most was the fireworks. The buildup and anticipation on that day was incredible.
My family and I used to watch the fireworks on a military base. The Air Force would host the grand celebration, complete with a concert from the renowned Armed Forces band. The food was good and time with family was fun, but that was just the beginning. The real fun began when it got dark. That’s when the fireworks would finally start booming.
They were mesmerizing when they lit up the night sky; as a child you were filled with awe. Nothing could compare to the grand finale. It was the moment we had all been waiting for—the culmination of the celebration, the ultimate ode to freedom. They always saved the biggest and best fireworks for last. You never wanted the culmination to end.
I see this on an infinitely larger scale when reading the book of Hebrews. To me, I see Jesus as proven to be the grand finale of the Old Covenant:
Nor did he enter heaven to offer himself again and again, the way the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood that is not his own. Otherwise Christ would have had to suffer many times since the creation of the world. But he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. (Hebrews 9:25-26 NIV, emphasis mine)
Jesus victoriously fulfilled the Old Covenant through His suffering. Unlike fireworks, what He endured was not beautiful. It was gruesome beyond imagination. His pure blood was shed to restore us to right relationship with our Father. Jesus is our High Priest who entered the heavenly tabernacle to offer His blood on our behalf.
The entire Old Covenant had been pointing towards His death and resurrection, the culmination of the ages. He who knew no sin became sin for us, in order to institute a New Covenant, the gift of His righteousness (2 Corinthians 5:21). Jesus is the firstborn from the dead and lives in us through His Spirit. We are endued with His resurrection power.
Like a good infomercial offering a product, I can hear the writer of Hebrews saying, “But wait, there’s more!” There is another culmination coming:
Just as people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:27-28, emphasis mine)
May you be reminded today of the victory you have through His finished work. He truly paid it all and we are forever free. He has promised to return, to appear a second time—another grand finale. If you’re impressed with fireworks here on earth, wait until you see Jesus appear in the clouds!
Proverbs 12:16 16A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.
17:9-10 9He who covers over an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. 10A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool.
Julio Ruibal was one of the instrumental men in the revival of Cali, Columbia. He was a man of prayer and fasting. After coming to Cali to minister, he joined the association of pastors and met with them regularly. At one meeting someone said something that offended him. He decided to quit going. After separating himself for some time, the Lord spoke to his heart and told him to refuse to be offended. He returned to the group with his apologies, a humbler man.
When we let the words that others speak to us repeat in our minds again and again we build up a hatred for that person. Bitterness poisons our heart. It affects our efforts to serve God and even to be at peace with others. The more we allow those words to hurt us, the more we seem to play them over in our minds. But what right do we have to be offended? If Jesus was not offended by those who crucified Him, who are we to hang onto offenses?
We actually put ourselves in a place of torment. The one who offended us is probably not losing any sleep over the matter. In many cases he or she did not even know that those words cut so deeply. Who, then, is fanning the flames of those words into a fire that is consuming you?
The proverbs for today show us that we are prudent to overlook insults. To cover over an offense promotes love. Didn’t our Lord command us to love one another? A rebuke gives us a chance to make sure that we are in sync with the Holy Spirit.
Consider: The rebuke of a friend is often a sincere expression of love, whereas flattery may be meant to destroy us.
SCRIPTURE READING — EXODUS 16:1-14
“‘At twilight you will eat meat, and in the morning you will be filled with bread. Then you will know that I am the Lord your God.’”
After God rescued his people from slavery in Egypt, they soon found themselves out in the desert without food and water. And here the people defaulted to complaining and wondering if God wanted anything good for them.
After being away from slavery for just a short while, their memory got distorted: “Remember Egypt, where we had plenty to eat? Those were the good old days!”
God had done amazing miracles to deliver his people from Egypt. But it would take time and many trials for them to learn to trust God to provide for them each day.
God endured their grumbling and graciously rained down food upon them. In the evening they received quail for meat, and in the morning they discovered thin flakes of a mysterious “bread from heaven” on the ground.
My African friends—many of whom know what it means to have to trust God for “daily bread”—often say, “God makes a way where there is no way.”
When we come to the Lord’s table, we receive the miraculous gift of grace in the form of bread and wine (or juice). This simple practice can actually train us in the discipline of trusting God.
God takes care of his people.
Lord, trusting you does not come naturally to us. Thank you for enduring our grumbling and impatience and for showing us, again and again, that you will take care of us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Light, natural and spiritual
By: Charles Spurgeon
‘And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.’ Genesis 1:3–5
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 5:8–14
‘God saw the light, that it was good.’ Light is good in all respects. The natural light is good. Solomon says, ‘Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.’ But you did not need Solomon to inform you upon that point. Any blind man who will tell you the tale of his sorrows will be quite philosopher enough to convince you that light is good. Gospel light is good. ‘Blessed are the eyes which see the things that ye see.’ You only need to travel into heathen lands, and witness the superstition and cruelty of the dark places of the earth, to understand that gospel light is good. As for spiritual light, those that have received it long for more of it, that they may see yet more and more the glory of heaven’s essential light! O God, thou art of good the unmeasured Sea; thou art of light both soul, and source, and centre. Whether, then, we take natural light, gospel light, spiritual light, or essential light, we may say of it, as God did, that it was good. But we are speaking now of light spiritual. Why is that good? Well, it must be so, from its source. The light emanates from God, in whom is no darkness at all, and, as it comes absolutely and directly from him, it must be good. As every good gift, and every perfect gift is from above, so everything which comes from above is good and perfect. The Lord distributes no alloyed metal: he never gives his people that which is mixed and debased. Thy words, O God, are pure; as silver tried in the furnace of earth purified seven times. The light of the new nature is good when we consider its origin.
For meditation: Light is good, because God is light (1 John 1:5) and the Father of lights (James 1:17). Not surprisingly the evildoer hates the light (John 3:19–20). Have you become a child of light by following the light of the world (John 8:12) and trusting in him (John 12:35–36)?