The gospel is a story, a drama of epic proportions. It is the revelation of God in and through his Son the one we call Jesus, the Christ, the Lord (Romans 1:1-3). It is His Story. What may surprise us in this drama is that it is not about us. We are not the focus. We are not even the main audience. The Apostle Paul tell us what is really going on.
“I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning. God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display His wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was His eternal plan, which He carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Eph. 3:9-11NLT).
This perspective on what God is doing seems quite different from what is talked about on most Sundays. Paul reveals that this great drama is about revealing God’s Son: who he is and what he is like. The invisible (but real) spirit world is the audience, watching what is being played out on planet earth, comprehending with increased wonder God’s wisdom and glory. And we, the one part of his creation that was made in his image, are the supporting cast! We are being used to display (make comprehensible, glorify) his nature in all of its dimensions.
In our broken and sin infected world, we are the means by which God is displaying the depth of his glory and wisdom. The angelic world is watching in amazement and we, for a brief moment in time, get to experience it. It is not about us, but it is through us.
It may be humbling to realize that we are not the focus of this great drama. We are in the play to illuminate the incredible nature of the Author and Director of the Story. This concept is counter to our current narcissism where our overt mantra is: “It’s all about me”. This defiant chant has echoed down the halls of history to the present day. The Bible begins the Story with the tragic fall of humanity into the “it’s all about me” declaration. Yet the hope of the Christian faith is in its ability to deliver us from the slavery of our self-orientation and isolation to alignment with Christ under His loving authority.
Now playing: His Story
From the theater of heaven, the angelic audience is looking at a small but special planet in a vast cosmos. This planet and the activity on it are central stage for the continued revelation of the vast wisdom of God.
Reading the program for this cosmic drama we discover:
- It is written and directed by God the Father
- The music is performed by the Holy Spirit
- The central character with the starring role is the Son of God, the second person of the trinity, the one called Jesus, the Christ, the Lord.
- The setting and background is the created cosmos
- Earth is center stage: a significant, pale blue planet in the vast sea of the universe
- Supporting cast: All of humanity and in particular those called God’s family of faith
The drama consists of two major acts and seven scenes depicting the defining moments in the revelation of the Son of God. Time can be described as either linear (chronos) or as a special moment (kairos). A kairos moment is not measured in hours, days or years but as a period/season where something significant happens. It could happen in a few seconds or over a lifetime.
The unfolding drama is made up of critical kairos moments (scenes) in which the Son of God is revealing who he is, what he has done, what he is doing, and what he will do. Some of these moments are relatively short in duration (chronos time) while others happen over long periods of history. In each kairos moment God is revealed in Christ from a different viewpoint, with different names, allowing us to experience his multi-dimensional nature. Although he is always the same and never changes, his character becomes more obvious with each defining moment, giving us a complementary picture of the Son of God that together forms a grand, composite portrait.
The Old Testament is the background for what we are about to see. Creation, the conflict between God and Satan played out in the Garden of Eden, the Patriarchs, the nation of Israel as a special people, all serve as the backdrop to the drama that is about to unfold.
Act 1: His Humiliation
Scene 1: The Incarnation
As the curtain is pulled back and this scene opens, our heavenly audience witnesses the eternal Son of God taking on humanity in an obscure little hamlet called Bethlehem. They collectively break into song and applause while on stage only a few people even notice: just a few blue collar shepherds, a small band of curious scientists, and one irate, paranoid king.
Years later the Apostle John, tells his version of the grand Story. “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The Apostle Paul commenting on this scene writes, “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body” (Col 2:9).
The angelic audience is amazed as they witness eternity becoming an embryo, deity taking on humanity, glory becoming a shadow, perfection becoming vulnerable, greatness disguised by obscurity, and infinity clothed in mortality.
“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son … He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Heb. 1:1-3).
The Son of God now calls himself the Son of Man, but his common, given name is Jesus. Jesus is the English version of the Hebrew name Yeshua….a common name related to Joshua. Whenever this name is used, it reminds people that the eternal God took on human form and became one of us.
The defining moment of the incarnation reveals the compassionate heart of God that had planned from eternity past to give up his natural expression of glory to become one with those who had rejected him. His Love now becomes iridescent as it is diffused through the prism of humanity.
(Coming next: Act 1/Scenes 2 and 3)