This morning just about all the roads in Middlesex County NJ are empty. This is rare occurrence caused by the recent rampage of hurricane Irene. The storm lost most of it’s southern Caribbean muscle, but still brought heavy flooding to parts of our state. This morning the worship gatherings of Jacob’s Well were cancelled due to the realities associated with the storm. We were to finish a series simply entitled “New School - A New Testament Overview”. Today was to be that enigmatic little book known as the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Last summer, when we began an Old Testament introduction, I introduced the metaphor of a wave coming through all of human history. At the very beginning of time, after the fall of man and the curse of God upon the world, the promises of redemption and hope began to flow. The covenant promises of God build throughout history and culminate at a specific locus in space-time, the person of Jesus himself. At this point, all the energy of a wave at sea, culminates in a glorious picture of the glory of God. At the cresting of a massive wave stuff begins to happen. There is blessing and joy - like surfing - and power and chaos unleashed - like a hurricane.
Today, I was to complete the image of the wave by looking at what happens after the furious storm passes by. As a kid growing up in Virginia Beach, VA I know what happens after a big tropical storm clears out. There is a glorious and glowing calm, sometimes the groans and pains of destruction and and exhales of relief. Revelation is a book where the cresting wave and the powerful judgments of the storm are on display. Both the chaos of sin, the blessing of God and power of his holy and right judgment is fully felt in all its joy and fury. Yet, what happens after the wave fully passes through? What is left after all the churning of the water, the height and power of the wave and all the glory which is felt and seen? After every wave is a serene calm; after every storm there is a profound and tangible peace. As the words of Charlie Richardson’s song, there is a peace, so rightly recall:
Thereʼs a peace to settle your soul,
There is a peace that is calling you home
It is no small thing that one of the images in the vision the apostle is given in the Revelation is that of a glassy sea. The dangers and perils and fear associated with the sea have been calmed. That which used to hold doom and calamity is now a beautiful accessory around the throne of God; the foundation for the throne room of heaven is peace.
After the wave of redemption flows through history, unfolding in the covenants and cresting in the person of Jesus, his work of gospel grace and holy judgment have fully brought redemption to all things. What is our response?
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!” Revelation 4:1-11
As the Kingdom of Heaven is still a far country we still have much work to do in this age as we await the full peace in the age to come. Watch, Work, Pray my friends…for the glory of God, the good of our cities as we extend hope through the gospel of Jesus Christ.