Jesus: The Final King

This term at both 10am and NightChurch, we’ve been enjoying hearing from God through the Old Testament; in Joshua at 10am, and journeying with King David at NightChurch. One understandable question is; why do we read about King David, whereas Joshua is just, well, Joshua?

In Joshua’s day, God ruled his people, with Joshua as his spokesperson, leader and servant. Following Joshua’s death, other Joshua-like figures, the “judges”, represented God’s rule to his people. While these warrior-prophet-leaders were a mixed bag, the final leader, Samuel was faithful to God. The turning point comes during Samuel’s time, when the people of Israel, frustrated at the (mostly) bad judges they’ve had to put up with demand a king, “such as all the other nations have” (1 Sam 8). Despite Samuel’s and God’s best efforts to warn them how much worse this will be, eventually God grants their request and Samuel is instructed to get them a king. Saul, the first king, starts well, but soon becomes unfaithful. David is the second king, and is described by God as a “man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22). However, even David’s reign is not without disappointment, and following David, a succession of mostly unfaithful kings shows the worst in human nature. Clearly God kept his promise and gave his people kings “such as the other nations have”.

Given this rough history of human kings, an easy assumption would be that God would seek to return the people to the Joshua-model of leadership; a warrior-prophet hearing from God, with God the Father as the ultimate ruler. The surprise is that God is committed to a human king ruling his people; a human king that will get it right this time, as David almost did. A human king who will guide his people unlike the kings of the nations, but justly, faithfully and mercifully. For example, in Daniel, we read of this promised future human king: “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. … His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.” (Daniel 7:13-14)

Less surprising is that this promised king is Jesus, the final king of God’s kingdom. Jesus is the one who finally gets it right. And because of that, Jesus is the one that we ultimately should follow.

In Joshua and David, we are given two great portraits of leaders of God’s people; one in the warrior-prophet era, and one a coronated king. Both are wise, faithful, courageous, and even humble in confessing their short-fallings (Joshua 7:6-9, 2 Samuel 12:13-17). We can look to both as models for faithful living. But ultimately, our model is Jesus, the only completely obedient king.

Paul Pallot

Christians and Same-Sex Marriage

The issue of redefining marriage has proved such a thorny and contentious one, and there is much heat around it with people from all sides feeling passionate about different issues. Since the Government has decided to fulfil its election promise to hold a plebiscite on redefining marriage, what follows are my thoughts about how we prayerfully and intentionally live as followers of Jesus as we discuss and debate the issues. If you would like to discuss your thoughts on these issues, please do!

Ten Commandments for Christians regarding the public discussion on redefining marriage in the upcoming Plebiscite (and pretty much discussing everything else)

  1. At every chance, promote peace, compassion, civility and cohesion (remember Jesus: “Blessed are the peacemakers”) 
  2. Listen more than you speak (remember James, the brother of Jesus: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak”) 
  3. In a democracy everyone is free to share their views, but do so with respect and love (remember the Apostle Paul: “Speak the truth in love”)
  4. Do not demonise or inhumanly objectify other Christians who have a different view to your own (remember Jesus: “Love one another”)
  5. Never vilify, hate, belittle, abuse, scorn or condemn other people (remember Jesus: “Do not judge…Do not condemn”)
  6. Speak and act as though EVERY person – regardless of sexuality, politics or ideology – is of infinite worth, is intrinsically precious and made in the image of God (remember Psalm 8: “God has made humans a little lower than the angels and crowned them with glory and honour”)
  7. Do not retaliate if you are vilified, hated, belittled, abused, scorned or condemned (remember Jesus: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you”)
  8. God is the ultimate wise and good judge, not you (remember the Apostle Paul: “What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?”)
  9. Scrutinise the goodness and love of your own life before you try to sort others out (remember Jesus: “You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye”)
  10. Whatever the result of the Plebiscite, we are called to continue God’s work of loving our neighbour, helping the poor, the disabled, the elderly, refugees and the sick, eradicating disease and hunger, caring for our environment, serving others, working for world peace, creating beautiful art, showing gracious hospitality and sharing the life-transforming gospel message of God’s love in Jesus Christ (remember Jesus: “take up your cross and follow me”)

Nicholas Tuohy

(I posted this on my Facebook profile last week and it has currently had around 750 likes and shares, which shows it struck a chord with people.)