Knowing Jesus Changes Everything

Christ the King Episcopal Church retreat
September 1-2, 2006
Telford Work, Westmont College

Jesus Christ Is the Omega and the Alpha...
Jesus is the alpha and omega (Revelation 1:8, 22:13) not just chronologically but logically.
Sin attempts to overturn this, setting ourselves as the center and goal.
Redemption then inverts our inversion: Jesus becomes the end of the old and beginning of the new.
"I died, and behold I live" (Revelation 1:17-18): Jesus is the hinge on whom the ages have turned (1 Corinthians 10:11).
An imperfect analogy for Americans: the Constitution of the United States:
It is the result of royal abuse and confederate failure.
It is more an ending and beginning than a middle.
It closes all earlier events and births all subsequent ones.
It focuses and defines American history like no other event, even 1776.
It has become the object of ultimate American loyalty.
It embodies who we are as a people.
Turning points of other communities include the Exodus/Torah and the Hejira/Qur'an.
Some communities — e.g., pagans — have no one turning point.
Things that have gone wrong have to be put right.
What is the fundamental hinge and identifier of your life?
... of All Things
Jesus is the center of Christian faith as Lord of all (Acts 10:36).
The gospel announces that all things are being ended and remade in the ultimate 'extreme makeover' (Colossians 1:15-20, Revelation 21:5).
Evidence of this awareness permeates the earliest Christian witness, the New Testament.
The first disciples rapidly appreciated the enormous implications of Jesus.
Have you really heard the good news?
... of God and Theology
Jesus is God's forsaken one, and God-with-us (Hebrews 2:9, John 1).
Jesus is a stumbling block and foolishness, and the crucified power and wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-31).
Jesus is the beloved heir of the Father (Romans 8), and the loving giver of the Holy Spirit (John 20:19-23, Acts 2).
Jesus' life radically redefined God for his followers.
Are you a member of his Triune fellowship?
... of the Universe*
Jesus is subject to the creation's futility, and Lord at the Father's right hand (Romans 8).
Jesus is the redeemer of the old creation (2 Corinthians 5:1-15), and the firstfruits of the new creation (1 Corinthians 15:20-23).
Jesus is the one by whom all things were made, and the one in whom all things come together (John 1, Colossians 1).
Nothing is beyond Jesus' atonement or his reach.
Are you alert to the signs of his reign?
... of Humanity
Jesus is the enemy of the old order, and the center of a new and eternal order (Acts 10:34-43).
Jesus is rejected by "men" (1 Peter 2:4), yet immortal intercessor forever (Hebrews 7:23-25).
Jesus is the last Adam, and the man from heaven (1 Corinthians 15).
Jesus is the taker of sin and death, and the bringer of righteousness and eternal life (Romans 5:1-11).
Jesus is the rider whose word slays God's enemies (Revelation 19), and the bridegroom whose word promises rewards to the faithful (Revelation 22:12-13).
Only Jesus is humanity in its fullness — the most human being.
Is he your brother and your hope?
... of Israel*
Jesus is its suffering Servant (Isaiah 52-53 in Romans 10:5-17), and anointed Messiah (Isaiah 61 in Luke 4:16-30).
Jesus is the eternal son of David in the flesh, and designated risen Son of God in power (Romans 1:3).
Jesus is Israel's holiest symbols (John 1:1-18), newly and ever incarnated (John 1:14) and transfigured (Luke 9:28-36).
Jesus is the Chosen (and rejected) One of Israel (Luke 9:18-36), and the head of "the Israel of God" (Galatians 6:15-16).
Jesus is the goal of the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 5:17-20, Galatians 6:15), and the author of the Good News (Mark 1:15).
The vine of Israel is only Jesus; he is the one of God's choosing.
Do you disincarnate his glory, or share his mission and bear his marks?
... of the Nations*
Jesus is victim of the nations' oppression, and King of Kings (Psalm 2 in Luke 3:21-22 and Hebrews 5:1-5).
Jesus is destroyer of their idolatry (1 Thessalonians 1:8-10, Revelation 17-18), and destination of their treasure (Revelation 21:22-27).
Jesus is disarmer of the principalities and powers (Colossians 2:8-15), and the new human being of cultural inclusion (Ephesians 2:11-22).
Jesus is the object of their rulers' scorn (1 Peter 2:11-17), and the object of their eternal worship (Revelation 7:9-10).
Human diversity is only for embodying the fullness of Christ.
Do you bow down to him, or only to the god of your own tribe?
... of a Society (a family, a school, a city, a church)*
Jesus is the first who makes himself last (John 13:1-20, Philippians 2:5-11), in order to make the last first (Mark 9:33-37).
Jesus brings a sword to the midst of families (Matthew 10:34-38), and crafts a family at the cross (John 19:25-27).
Jesus is the savior of Zaccheus' house (Luke 19:1-10), and the Spirit-baptizer of Cornelius' house (Acts 10).
Jesus dooms the worship of a Samaritan village (John 4:21-22), and inaugurates its witness (John 4:28-42).
Jesus can remove the lampstand of the dead Ephesian church (Revelation 2:1-5), and can grant the fruit of the tree of life (Revelation 2:6-7).
Human structures will become healthy only under Jesus' lordship.
Does your group offer our Lord, or only yourselves?
... of a Life
Jesus is the obedient servant, with the name above all names (Philippians 2:5-11).
Jesus is baptized (ended) by John, and baptizer (giver of life) with the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:11-12).
Jesus is foreknown and predestined, and the first of many brothers and sisters (Romans 8:28-30).
Jesus is the subject of judgment (Matthew 25), and the object of worship (Matthew 28:16-20).
Jesus is the ultimate threat to our own righteousness, yet its only real security (Acts 9).
Jesus demands the surrender of our possessions (Luke 14:33), and supplies treasure in heaven (Luke 12:33-34).
Jesus is the good shepherd (John 10:1-18), and the sharer of his throne (Revelation 3:20-22)
Jesus is the pioneer of our own deaths and resurrections (Romans 6:1-11, Colossians 2:20-3:17)
Jesus' baptism offers a new biography for everyone who accepts it.
Is your life baptismal, dead and risen, Christ-shaped?