Sunday, October 14, 2018

The Great Crisis of History

In Luke 12:49–57, Jesus tells His disciples that He had not come to bring peace but division. He told them that He was bringing a baptism of fire to the earth, warning the crowd to flee the wrath to come.

This was the great moment of crisis in history. It was a time of urgency that swept the earth with the appearance of Jesus. Jesus’ coming to this planet in the fullness of time was a time of division, of judgment, of separation. In fact, the Greek word for judgment is krisis, which of course we have in English as crisis.

It was a time of personal choosing, when eternal destinies were at stake. Everyone who encountered Jesus was called upon to make a choice, to stand either with Him or against Him. Thus, since the time of Jesus’ first appearance, the world has been gripped in a kind of crisis that will continue until the last great crisis, the Last Judgment.

Jesus warned the crowd that judgment was coming upon them: their generation would, in forty years, see the destruction of all the outward symbols of the old covenant. Jesus warned them to enter the new covenant before it was too late.

In a larger sense, that warning is still valid for us. The new covenant has arrived in history, but men still cling to old ways, ways that have even less validity than during the old covenant period. What Jesus told them is true of us as well: “Make peace with your Adversary (God) before you come to the Judge (God).”

How do men encounter Jesus today, thus facing their own crisis of history? Jesus is in heaven, but men and women encounter Him through His people, the church. The church is His body and His herald. The fiery baptism Jesus came to bring, fell in one sense at Pentecost to ignite the tongues of His people, so that they might bring the crisis of decision to all men.

Forty years later, the fire fell in another sense at the Holocaust of A.D. 70. Knowing these things should make us urgent in our proclamation of His name and make us insistent that the generation of our day be exposed as much as possible to Jesus Christ, Lord of lords.