Because the news is truly so good and life-affirming, why is it that from the opening chapters of the Gospels, Jesus encountered so much opposition and resistance? What is there about God, Christ, and Jesus’ message that elicit such different responses from human beings? Why do some people encounter Jesus, and respond with faith filled with love, but others refuse to listen, or rebel against what they hear? And as we know, the religious establishment of Jesus’ day, and then the Roman political powers, tried to silence Jesus in one way or another. Why?
You and I have heard the gospel message many times over the years. We have tried, each in his or her own way, to heed and to obey, to do the LORD’s will and work. So from where comes the resistance to such a good God, to the most loving Jesus, to the message of eternal joy in Christ? “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” Why, indeed? “It is the Father’s good pleasure to give you the Kingdom.”
Each of us must face the mystery of evil in our own hearts, for at times each of us refuses to listen, to heed, to obey the LORD. And each minister in the church, every disciple of Christ in fact, must ask himself or herself again and again: “Am I truly presenting Christ in his goodness and glory, or am I distorting our LORD into something he is not? Am I helping to lead people into God, or am I a hindrance? In what ways am I assisting, and in what ways am I hindering human beings from hearing the gospel, and seeing it lived in me?” Such questions must be asked again and again. God wants all of us, and each of us completely.
The good news of God is ever the same: that victory in Christ is assured, that despite our human flaws and failings, the LORD will triumph in us and through us. Despite human weaknesses and sin, God will indeed become “all in all.” When the battle looks lost, when human vices and evil seem to gain the upper hand, look at the glow of light in the eastern sky before sunrise, realize and rejoice, that as the sun rises, so the all-good God is breaking through, that nothing ultimately can hinder the power and glory of God’s love in Christ--not even death. “And all shall be well, and every manner of thing shall be well,” when every creature will be filled forever with the living God. To Him be glory and thanks forever. Amen.