The passage above comes from the greater passage in Acts 10 in which God gives Peter a vision, and then a word, which leads him to eventually preach the gospel to a group of Gentiles. This move was revolutionary. For a Jew like Peter, it took some readjusting and re-understanding to realize that God’s kingdom was not only for the Jewish community, but actually for everybody. On that day, Peter, and many others, witnessed God doing a new work—though very much in keeping with who God always was and is.
Advent is a season of hope, but not just hope in general. It’s not a time to become a more hopeful person in some nondescript way. Rather, the hope of Advent is very specific. It is “hope in Christ.” We remember the hope of Israel for a messiah. And we renew our own hope for the second coming of Jesus the Messiah. We long for the day when Christ will return, bringing God’s peace for all humankind.
God willing, I will do these things that I intend to do. If the Lord wills, I will follow through on these plans of mine. If God allows, I will achieve these goals. Sometimes, things get in the way of our plans. Sometimes, these things are catastrophic, and sometimes, they are minor inconveniences or small distractions that pile up. Other times, God may simply have something different in store. We all know life doesn’t go how we intend it to.
For as much as we like to look at the work God has done, do we also recognize him as the God who rests—as the God who knows the value and necessity of rest? In our working lives, no matter what we do, do we value our own rest? Do we prioritize it, giving it equal respect as our work? I confess not being very good at this myself. Yet Genesis cements rest into the fabric of creation’s rhythms. Thank the Lord for that!
In this series of devotions, we’ve looked at the importance God placed on the “very good” creation that he made, the way that Christ took on flesh and lived in it, the promise of God’s redeeming all things. From beginning to end, the Bible suggests a straightforward and happy truth, that the seemingly ordinary world we spend our days in is not marginal to God’s story, but central to it. A constant thread, from Genesis to Revelation, is the narrative of God’s good creation… and where it’s headed.
In Colossians 1, Paul says that all things were made in Christ, all things were made for him, and all things hold together in him. Finally, Paul says, all things will be reconciled to him. No language can be plainer: all means all. For Paul, the Gospel of Jesus is not only about getting human souls right with God, but getting every single part of his very good creation right with him. When we think about it, doesn’t it make such wonderful sense that the redemptive story of the Bible is not only for everyone but for everything?
Jesus ate, he slept, and here we see, he worked. And though the word we translate “carpenter” could have meant a broader range of things back then, we know Jesus worked humbly and diligently with his hands. He learned his trade, refined his skills, and worked the daily and ordinary grind, like many of us.
But what if the Gospel really does involve all the ordinary stuff? Every bit of the “very good” creation that God smiled down upon… If the world, and everything in it, has an important place at the beginning of the very important Christian story, then they must matter. If everything God made then was “very good,” then surely, even sin-tainted, a spark of goodness and the potential for redemption remains—just like it does for us.