I have to admit, although I like going online and finding out the latest news from around the world, I still enjoy picking up the good old fashioned paper off the driveway in the morning and reading the news. Of course, people who know me were shocked to learn I got a cell phone in December 2012 (you can’t pastor a church without one) and now three and a half years later I still don’t have a “smart” one.
This morning I opened the world section to see the usual hype about the ongoing race of the presidential campaign and my focus was immediately drawn to a face in one of the pictures there…the face of a young lady with this exhilarated and yet desperate look of longing on her face. It was a picture of Bernie Sanders meeting many of his supporters after speaking at a rally on Tuesday in Carlson, California. As the crowd of Sanders supporters mobbed in, she was caught in the crush of the moment, pressing a Sanders poster against her chest. Bernie Sanders’ hand is on her poster, as if signing it. Her mouth is open and it almost looks like she is trying to sing a song of worship to him, her eyes narrowed as if in ecstatic joy and longing with an expression on her face I have often seen in those joyously worshiping before my LORD Jesus. It is the unmistakable look of someone who is hoping their messiah is coming, their savior, the one who will make things right. Around her are the arms and hands of many others, wrapped over her shoulders and even her head as they longingly reach for Sanders, hoping for just a touch. But then as I looked at the mass of desperately reaching hands all around her my eyes fell upon the one hand clamped around her right forearm. It is obviously the hand of what appears to be a female security person on Bernie’s left. The hand speaks volumes even though it is easily overlooked among so many others. The hand says, “Don’t get any closer to this messiah. You aren’t known to us. You aren’t important enough for us to risk it. Stay back!” So goes the story of all of Earth’s human messiahs. They are frail, they are fearful, and they all will ultimately fail to save the world.
This Sunday, I begin preaching a message series I have longed to preach for years now but never could get release from our Heavenly Father to do so. Each time I would prepare to start, He always had something else for me to share and an urgency for me to share it. So for at least two years I have pushed preaching on the Kingdom of Heaven to the back burner. Now, I am excited it’s finally time! Just as this unknown young lady and the mob around her are longing for Bernie to come and rescue them from a life that ultimately doesn’t fulfill their inner longing, so everyone everywhere even now longs within for a savior to come. Sadly, most have no idea who that Savior really is. His name is Yeshua…Jesus,,,the Christ…the Messiah…the Savior!
Jesus told His followers that we should express that longing every time we pray:
In this manner, therefore, pray:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.–Matthew 6:9-10
We say these words so often rushed and with rote or ritual that it doesn’t seem to dawn on us that we are asking Jesus to speed the day of His coming! This is probably because we have been taught for so long that our goal is to “go to Heaven” that most people don’t realize the ultimate goal is for Jesus to return and build the Kingdom of Heaven here, where He and those who are faithful will rule a beautifully restored Earth and enjoy it for a thousand years. Indeed, many of those who profess to know Jesus don’t even think about His actual arrival. A classical example was former presidential candidate John Kasich who, while visiting down here at Gulfport remarked that “no one is going to ride in on a white horse and fix all of this mess” with our government. While I’m told Mr. Kasich is a fellow believer and I am glad of that, I have to say he couldn’t be more wrong (although he is right they won’t come from Washington). Someone IS coming on a white horse to fix all of this and that someone is Jesus the true Messiah!
Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him.
Even so, Amen.–Revelation 1:7
Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written:
KING OF KINGS AND
LORD OF LORDS.–Revelation 19:11-16