I GOT ROCKED BACK IN MY SEAT during a Bible study session on Sunday.
The topic was world peace.
“No can do. Not until Jesus comes.”
That was the argument some in the class seemed to embrace, as they reminded us of the fallen nature of human beings.
“But what about God’s Spirit who lives in us?” I asked.
“Does humanity’s fallen nature really have the power to manhandle God’s Spirit?”
Here’s the dilemma. Many Christians seem to take their cue about the future of humanity from one particular interpretation of the last book in the Bible: Revelation.
It’s the theory that says we’re destined to face trials and tribulations, and that nothing much good will be accomplished until Jesus comes.
That is not how many of the most respected New Testament scholars interpret the highly symbolic book of Revelation.
For them, most of the horrors reported in the book took place during Roman times, when Christians were killed because of their religion. I’ve written a book reporting the various theories: Complete Guide to Bible Prophecy.
Christians with no hope?
I walked out of the class thinking, “How can we even begin to achieve lasting peace on an international scale if the very people Jesus calls on to become peacemakers have no hope that it can be done?”
“They are blessed who work for peace, for they will be called God’s children” (Matthew 5:9).
Doesn’t that sound more like a job description than a piece of pie in the sky that we have to wait for Jesus to deliver?
I don’t know if we will ever accomplish a war-ending peace on an international scale.
But I’m pretty sure of this, if we don’t dream it, we’ll never do it.
If we as God’s people on this planet kick back and wait for all hell to break loose instead of working toward the goal of peace—in our communities and abroad—how exactly does that make us a peacemaker?
Here’s what I wonder
In our class session we read a passage that perhaps most Christians see as a prediction about Jesus, 700 years before his birth. A prophet spoke of a day when someone from King David’s family would change everything:
“The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him… The calf and the yearling will be safe with the lion, and a little child will lead them all” (Isaiah 11:6).
As I sat there listening to the discussion, I wondered,
- “What if humanity pivoted when Jesus came, with the Spirit in his wake?
- What if humanity made a turn toward peace, however gradual that turn might have been?
- What if ‘a little child’ leading the way to peace might actually be a group of children—the children of God?”
I know that’s a strained interpretation of Isaiah. But perhaps no more strained than the one that sees nothing but sin and misery on Planet Earth until Jesus comes to rescue us.
He already came to rescue us.
Do we really have to sit around and wait for him to do it again?
Something seems wrong with that way of thinking…to put our hope in a Second Coming when Jesus himself quoted Isaiah as saying, “His name will be the hope of all the world” (Matthew 12:21).
I could dream that dream. For myself. For my grandkids. For the whole doggone world.
Yes I could. And I will.