Christians believe in expanding revelation, an amplifying of what already has been revealed. This would be like those Russian nesting dolls with many figures, one inside the other, or like the school child learning sums and multiplication as foundation for calculus in later years.
This week’s lessons, taken sequentially from Samuel to Luke to Romans, give us an expanding revelation of Jesus Christ and the extent of his kingdom.
Nathan has some words of comfort to David. No, David will not be the one to build the temple for the Lord, but there is something that God has in store for David. His legacy will continue. A child of his, a descendent, will always be on the throne. God will establish his kingdom forever. Furthermore, out of love, when the king messes up, God will respond with punishment but will receive him back.
Gabriel gives Mary a profile of the Messiah which moves on from what David heard. His name will be Jesus, as Joshua who took Israel into the promised land. Gabriel expands on the Messiah. He will be none other than the son of the Most High and will be called the Son of God. Still, his kingdom is only over the house of Jacob on the throne of David.
Then we come to the conclusion of Romans where Paul further amplifies the revelation about Jesus. He is closing the theme of his epistle, a theme he set out in the opening paragraph (1:5). Jesus – the Messiah, the descendent of David ruling over the house of Jacob – is also the Savior of all the nations. Paul meant this to challenge the church that had been keeping Jesus as a local deity. Christ’s kingdom goes beyond the boundaries of the church and is for all the peoples of the earth. The Messiah came so that faith and grace may come to each and every nation or people group. The Church is to go and tell them.
What a radical revelation – the mystery of God’s intention now revealed in Jesus Christ! The difficulty is to bring home to us just how radical this claim is. Is it surprise, or shock, or disappointment, or the thrill of new light? The reaction comes to who Jesus really is, or who these other people are that he includes. Mary pondered in her heart who Jesus is; the Roman church struggled with the inclusion of people not like us. If we do both of these, we will see a greater Savior.
Look It Up
Where does Jesus reveal himself as greater than just the Jewish Messiah?
Think About It
Local deities aren’t just found in jungle villages. How can we show our concept of Jesus as a God whose kingdom goes no further than my life, my land, my church?