Daily Archives: December 14, 2010

The Turning Point Of Human History

History has witnessed numerous turning points which have directly changed the course of civilization:

  • The advent of fire
  • The invention of the wheel
  • Hammurabi’s Code
  • The Black Death
  • Johann Gutenberg’s printing press
  • The Industrial Revolution
  • Penicillin
  • The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki
  • The fall of the Berlin Wall

Each event altered the way we think and live. But one turning point trumps them all.

Please join us as we explore the turning point of human history in our daily Bible conversation.

TODAY’S READING

Jonah 1:1-4:11
Revelation 5:1-14
Psalm 133:1-3
Proverbs 29:26-27

INSIGHTS AND EXPLANATIONS

Jonah 1:1-4:11. Jonah story is incredibly relevant for today. We see God orchestrating events to drive people to himself: pursuing Jonah, pursuing the people of Nineveh, even demonstrating his supremacy over the seas to a boat full of sailors. But most of all, we see the nature of God to save. He loves us so much that he’ll go to great lengths to save us…even sending his only son.

Psalm 133:1-3. Notice the word “down” is mentioned three times in verse 2, giving the idea of God’s blessing on his people. Unity is, indeed, a blessing from God. While we can’t make God bless us, our efforts at being unified place us in a prime position for God to bless us.

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THE WORD MADE FRESH

In Revelation 5, we read that God held a scroll in his right hand. While opinions differ on the significance of the scroll, the most plausible interpretation (to me) is that it represents God’s ultimate plan for bringing the kingdoms of heaven and earth under his complete dominion. Theologians call this “God’s redemptive purpose in history.”

Because the scroll remained unopened, God’s plan could not be executed…until the coming of the sacrificial lamb. Since the time of Moses, the lamb was used as the normal sacrifice for sins (see Leviticus 3:7, 4:32 et al). It’s interesting that Jesus’ name isn’t mentioned in the chapter, yet it’s obvious that the lamb refers to him. In fact, the lamb is mentioned in reference to Jesus 29 times in Revelation.

This chapter tells us that Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection opened the scroll, bringing all things under God’s complete dominion. Obviously, all things have always been under his control, but at the end of the age, God’s judgment will finally be enacted.

In verse 9, we read that the 24 elders sang a new song. Chapter 4 tells us they sang a song over and over—an old song—about God’s power and might. I don’t mean old in the pejorative sense, but it’s the song sung in heaven day and night since before the beginning of time. But Jesus inaugurated a new song because with his blood, he “purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation” (Revelation 5:9). That’s a reference to you and me!

The word “purchase” can also be translated “ransom.” We once were slaves, but Jesus purchased our freedom from bondage with his blood. And because of this transaction, we now belong to God.

In the post from last weekend, we read that we have no idea how much greater is God than us. In the same way, we don’t have a clue of the significance of the sacrificial lamb who was slain for us. For you. Through Jesus—our sacrificial lamb—we have been forgiven of our sin and have been given the gift of eternal life in heaven. We now have a new identity: the children of God!

This can’t be overemphasized: the centerpiece of human history focuses on a 33 year window of time when Jesus was born, lived, died, and rose again. When we realize the significance of Jesus, we’re driven to fall on our knees and worship.

It’s no wonder that when Jesus was born 2000 years ago, all of heaven rejoiced. They understood that they were witnessing THE turning point in human history. And it’s no mistake that the shepherds were the first hear about Jesus birth—someday a little lamb, much like a lamb in their flocks, would be slain in order to free us from the bondage of sin so we can spend eternity with God.

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Colossians 1:15–20

You have been purchased from your bondage slavery and sin. You are forgiven. You now belong to the kingdom of God where you serve as a priest. Your identity no longer comes from your past, your identity comes from the lamb who was slain.

CONVERSATION STARTERS

  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. What does reading Revelation 5 do to you when you read it?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

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