"Then He turned to the crowd: 'When you see clouds coming in from the west, you say, 'Storm's coming' - and you're right. And when the wind comes out of the south, you say, 'This'll be a hot one' - and you're right. Frauds! You know how to tell a change in the weather, so don't tell me you can't tell a change in the season, the God-season we're in right now.'" Luke 12:54-56 (The Message).
What was the God-season of which Jesus spoke? For four hundred and thirty years, God had been silent and apparently inactive. But behind the scenes He had been preparing both His people and the world for the moment when He would break into the earthly scene with His personal and final revelation of Himself.
His appearance ushered in a new revelation of His nature: "The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14 (NIV). Over the centuries, the people's understanding of God had been eroded away until they perceived Him as one who was legalistic and only appeased by strict adherence to a rigid code of conduct, mostly rules that their own rabbis has superimposed on God's prescribed way of living.
Jesus came to show His people that the Father is not like that at all. The essence of God's nature is a loving Father who passionately longs for fellowship and oneness with them. Jesus brought grace and truth to light by showing God's compassion and mercy in His healing and teaching ministry.
It was truly a new season for His people, oppressed and harassed both by Rome and the devil. He came to teach them how they could live in a new inner freedom, regardless of their circumstances, because their restored relationship to God the Father as His sons and daughters meant that they were no longer burdened by rules and ritual. His death would free them from the bondage and power of sin to live in fellowship with the Father.
Tragically, the religious leaders refused to understand what He had come to do. They resisted His teaching; they blasphemed His miracles, attributing to the devil what the Holy Spirit was doing through Him and, at the same time, they accused Him of blasphemy because He claimed to be the Son of God. They chose not to examine the evidence of His claim and condemned Him to death for being guilty of being the Son of God and the King of the Jews!
Yes, Jesus came to usher in a new God-season of grace and truth, and has given the world an extended opportunity to return to the Father and escape the judgment we deserve because of our rebellion against Him. For two thousand years the Holy Spirit has been actively wooing and nudging people back to the Father. Jesus paid the debt of our sin so that we can experience the unconditional love and forgiveness of the Father. "...God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them." 2 Corinthians 5:19 (NIV).
How tragic that millions in the world have heard the message but have rejected it as did the religious leaders of Jesus' day, choosing rather to continue in their false belief system, enjoying their sin and not caring that there is a day of reckoning coming. "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him." Hebrews 9:17 (NIV).
God has made provision for us to live in the eternal glory of His presence and blessing, but the choice is ours.
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