Duration: 365 days
THE SERVANT, STEWARD OF JUSTICE
God’s word through Isaiah is that he has appointed a servant, or trusted envoy, who will usher in a new order—a bringer and establisher of justice, whom we all long for and look forward to with hope. Evangelical leader Charles Colson emphasizes how we need that hope:
We cry out for the demands of justice to be satisfied, and we even sense that they will someday … How could we possibly live with the unfairness of this world if we did not have a belief that at some point the accounts will be reckoned? The nonbeliever has to chalk this up to the spin of the wheel and futile human remedies. But the believer, who trusts in a loving God, knows all believers have the same ultimate hope.
Our longing for justice is fulfilled both now and in the “not yet” by Jesus the Messiah. Best-selling author Philip Yancey elaborates:
When Jesus lived on earth he made the blind to see and the lame to walk; he will return to rule over a kingdom that has no disease or disability. On earth he died and was resurrected; at his return, death will be no more. On earth he cast out demons; at his return, he will destroy the Evil One. On earth he came as a baby born in a manger; he will return as the blazing figure described in the book of Revelation. The kingdom he set in motion on earth was not the end, only the beginning of the end.
Indeed, the kingdom of God will grow on earth as the church creates an alternative society demonstrating what the world is not, but one day will be … A society that welcomes people of all races and social classes, that is characterized by love and not polarization, that cares most for its weakest members, that stands for justice and righteousness in a world enamored with selfishness and decadence, as a society in which members compete for the privilege of serving one another—this is what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God.
The four Horsemen of the Apocalypse give a preview of how the world will end: in war, famine, sickness and death. But Jesus gave a personal preview of how the world will be restored, by reversing the deeds of the four Horsemen: he made peace, fed the hungry, healed the sick, and brought the dead to life. He made the message of God’s kingdom powerful by living it, by bringing it to reality among the people around him. The prophets’ fairy-tale predictions of a world free of pain and tears and death referred to no mythical world, but rather to this world.
THINK ABOUT IT
We in the church, Jesus’ successors, are left with the task of displaying the signs of the kingdom of God, and the watching world will judge the merits of the kingdom by us. We live in a time of transition—a transition from death to life, from human injustice to divine justice, from the old to the new—tragically incomplete yet marked here and there, now and then, with clues of what God will someday achieve in perfection.
ACT ON IT
Determine a way to proclaim to others that the kingdom of God is breaking into the world.