Monday, April 16, 2012

CURTAIN CALL

As we get older we tend to take stock of our life. When will the curtain close for the last time? How well has any of us performed on this earthly stage God has constructed for us? For the Christian the hearing the Lord’s words, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’ will drown out any applause from man, be it a Nobel Prize or a funeral eulogy! Frank Sinatra did it his way. Edith Piaf had no regrets. Good for them! Me? What will my final bow mean to the masses, to anyone? Well, Scripture says, ‘Whether you eat or drink, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God’ 1 Corinthians 10:31. Therefore, my hope is that I have lived my life to the glory of God by enjoying Him every moment, including my last moment on earth. Some members of the Christian ‘Hall of Fame’ or rather ‘Hall of Faith’ are listed by the author to the Hebrews in Hebrews 11, people like Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel etc. Then he writes, ‘Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God’ Hebrews 12:1-2. The Apostle Paul was able to write the following, ‘For I am being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on the Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing’ 2 Timothy 4:6-8. Notice that Paul is saying that all true Christians will receive a crown. The Lord says, ‘Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown’ Revelation 3:11. Therefore for the Christian ‘curtain call’ is actually ‘coronation call’. But, let’s not be too hasty! As Christians even our swan song is about glorifying God! We need to be like the twenty four crowned elders in John’s vision sitting on thrones surrounding the Lord’s throne, ‘clothed in white robes; and they had crowns of gold on their heads’ Revelation 4:4. These, ‘cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “you are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created’ Revelation 4:10-11. The idea then is that any glory for any worthy thing you may have done in life belongs to the risen Lord. But never mind that. So does every unworthy thing! And that is the real beauty of the whole thing. As John the Baptiser said of Jesus, ‘Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!’ John 1:29. The curtain call for the Christian is all about preparing for court acquittal before the Judge of all the earth. ‘If anyone sins we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous’ 1 John 2:1b. Therefore, our final bow is not about how well we have done in life. Rather it is about how well Jesus Christ has done to make us right with God. He is the Judge, but for the Christian He is also our Defence Attorney. In Him the Christian has been justified, i.e., declared righteous on account of Christ’s righteousness. Jesus has already taken the place of the one being acquitted and has already paid the price for the Christian’s sin against God. Thus the acquittal. If we understand a curtain call to mean a final bow at the end of life in which we return to the stage to be recognized by the audience for our performance, then what will you be met with? Applause? Will people rise to their feet and give you a standing ovation? Yes, some may stand and applaud you for some of the things you have done, but the difference between Jesus and us is that when He enters every knee bows! He is magnificent! He is glorious! He is beautiful! He is perfect! He is King of kings and Lord of Lords! Praise Him! After His resurrection He was seen by over five hundred Christians at once (1 Corinthians 15:6). He was worshiped by His Disciples (Luke 24:52). Why such praise for Jesus at His ‘curtain call’? ‘Being found in the appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father’ Philippians 2:8-11.

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