May 24, 2009

The Omega and the Alpha

From time to time I would like to post "stuff I learn" from sermons, SS,  books, etc. . If nothing else it will help me sort out my own thoughts as I write it down, and if anyone stumbles across this blog they might be able to add some helpful insights to open the Scripture up even more.  

Today my Pastor preached from Matt. 13: 24--43. While explaining the parable of 'the kingdom and the mustard seed' beginning in v.31 he offered some perspective that I think is helpful to understanding the Church. He showed how Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, but is also the "Omega and the Alpha". When Jesus' life and ministry are viewed in historic perspective we see that He was first the end (Omega) of the old Covenant, before He was the beginning (Alpha) of the New Covenant. 

Jesus as the end:
Jesus' use of the mustard seed, the "least of all seeds" reminds us of Israel being the "least of all people" (Dt. 7.7). God planted them (Ps. 80.8-11; Ezek. 17.23) and they became a tree which grows up into its fullness in Jesus. 

What was most helpful to me was his pointing out that we should understand this "ending" more as a culmination. Jesus is the culmination of the story of Israel! In Christ the purposes of Israel find their fulfilment. 

Jesus as the beginning:
Just as Jesus is the culmination of the story of Israel, Jesus is the inauguration of the story of the Church. Don't miss the importance of this. The story of the Church has been inaugurated, but it has not been fully consummated.  This language (and the parable) teaches us that it is the nature of the Kingdom of God to grow, to mature.  

Jesus takes a remnant from Israel, plants them, and they will become a great tree in which the nations find rest. (Ezek. 17.23, Dan. 4). 

Stuff I learned from the parable of the mustard seed:

1) This mustard seed (The Kingdom/Church) is planted in His field (v.31). And His field is the earth .............. now. 

2) The nature of the Kingdom is organic: The Kingdom is not something that comes in fully mature, all at once. It begins small and grows/matures. Sometimes this growth will not be perceptible from our perspective, but as surely as the Word of the Lord stands the Kingdom grows.

3) Ultimately this Kingdom (tree) will be the greatest in the world. Under this tree (Kingdom)".......will dwell every kind of bird; in the shade of its branches birds of every sort will nest. And all the trees of the field shall know that I am the Lord; I bring low the high tree, and make high the low tree, dry up the green tree, and make the dry tree flourish. I am the Lord, I have spoken and I will do it." (Ezek. 17.23-24).

Wade B.

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