by Dan Wetzel
Events both before and after the U.S. presidential election have been chaotic. They support the conclusion researchers came to not long ago: the world is VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Confusing, and Ambiguous). I suspect Moses, David, and the Old Testament prophets may have said the same.
Ever since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, people have lived in a VUCA world. Sin creates that kind of world. How do we find our way in such a place?
Jesus lived in a confusing world like that too. Yet He did not focus upon His volatile circumstances.
By all accounts, the Lord was a passive participant in His own trial. He did not fight back when He was arrested, and He did not attempt to defend Himself against false witnesses. He did not even answer when Caiaphas the high priest first confronted Him.
When the high priest asked, “Are you the Christ?” “‘I am,’ Jesus said. ‘And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming with the clouds of heaven’” (Mark 14:62).
Our Coming King
It is easy to focus on the uncertainty of present circumstances, though some struggling congregations often fixate on the past instead. Jesus answers the high priest by pointing to the future. That is the only way to make sense out of the mixed-up, sin-infested world we live in.
Neither the past nor the present make sense unless it is viewed from the perspective of the future. Only by looking to the event that Jesus focused upon can we live with confidence and purpose in the present. We must live as Jesus did. He looked beyond His immediate experience to find meaning in the Father’s plan.
Because we are forgiven, we glory in the cross and the resurrection. Because Christ is coming again victoriously at the end of the age, we live with hope in a broken and confusing world. That is why the Alliance logo includes a crown. Christ is our Coming King. The final word shall not be spoken by our volatile and uncertain world.
Not Without Purpose
Jesus brought two Scriptures together when He answered Caiaphas. The prophet Daniel saw a vision in which “one like a son of man” was presented before the Ancient of Days. “And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him” (Daniel 7). King David prophesied in Psalm 110:1, “The LORD says to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”
Jesus was clearly claiming to be Lord, and His answer sealed His fate. But it also put the evil He experienced into perspective. Jesus is the One to whom glory and dominion and a Kingdom is given. All peoples, nations, and languages will bow before Him (see Philippians 2:20). Volatile events cannot and do not nullify Jesus’ authority, the Father’s purposes, or the promise of a good outcome.
What happened to Jesus was unjust, unfair, ungodly, and undeserved. But it was not without purpose. Paul writes to Titus, “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:11-13).
Jesus’ Second Coming puts His first coming into perspective, just as it does our present circumstances.
A Good Ending
There is an undeniable longing in the human heart for good endings: for wrong to be made right, to see evil doers brought to justice and long-lost lovers reconciled. Within the heart of every person there is an eternal whisper of better things—a yearning to see good triumph over evil. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,” Paul wrote in Romans 8:28.
It is true times have changed. Thus far, the 21st century has proven to be confusing and ambiguous. The church no longer has favor in America. Celebrities mock the gospel.
What are we who follow Christ to do? Despair? Get angry? Give up? Hide? Huddle up? No. We are to do what Jesus did and what, by example and by word, He told us to do.
We proclaim Christ and the cross. We reaffirm the gospel and celebrate the Resurrection. And we tell people the end of the story. It is a good ending.
Christ is Lord, and He is coming again. The Father will give dominion to Him. People of every tribe and language and nation shall bow down to worship before Him. His enemies shall become His footstool.
Trust the Sovereign One. He is coming again to establish a righteous, holy, loving, just, and eternal Kingdom.
Rev. Dan Wetzel is the vice president for Church Ministries at the U.S. Alliance National Office in Colorado Springs, Colo.