When I go to the movies, I can’t stand missing the previews. I love seeing the new movies that are coming out. I love the anticipation that previews create. I love the mystery surrounding the new stories that Hollywood is going to tell. I love the old guys’ voice who announces every preview: “In a world where evil reigns supreme, only ONE MAN can stop it…” And most of all I love watching certain previews that leave me saying “I can’t wait to see that movie!”
I once heard a professor say that the miracles of Jesus Christ are a preview of coming attractions. Everything he said and did… the miracles he performed, the people he healed, the multiplication of the bread and fish, the feeding of the five thousand, the raising of Lazarus, the sight given to the blind man, the healing of the paralytic, they are all a preview of a world yet to come.
When Jesus fed the five thousand, it was a preview of a world where everyone would have something to eat.
When Jesus calmed the storms on the Sea of Galilee, it was a preview of a world where no one would be senselessly killed by natural disasters.
When Jesus gave sight to the blind beggar outside of Jericho, it was a preview of a world filled with people who could see things as God sees them.
When Jesus commanded Lazurus to come out of the tomb, it was a preview of a world where death would not have the last word, where people would taste the sweetness of life that lasted forever, that there would be no more sting in death.
You see, so much of church-talk these days is all about “heaven” and “hell” and where you go when you die. Jesus rarely talked about heaven and hell in that sense. That wasn’t the main message that the Gospel writers sought to communicate. Instead, over and over they mention a “kingdom.” “The Kingdom of God” was the central theme in the life of Jesus.
He never intended for heaven to be somewhere we go when we die. Instead, he prayed “our Father…your Kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
So when Jesus came preaching to people that the kingdom of God is “at hand,” what he was really saying is that heaven is coming to earth, and that He, Jesus, was Israel’s God who had returned and brought heaven with Him.
A beautiful collision indeed.
What happens when heaven collides with earth? People, once dead, come back to life. Sickness, once disabling, are suddenly cured. The blind receive sight. The lame walk again. The mentally handicapped are handicapped no longer. Storms are calmed. Food multiplies so that there is always enough. Lonely people are embraced. Orphans are adopted. Addictions shattered. Slaves are set free. Hope is given to the hopeless. Those in darkness are illuminated with light. Evil’s power is forever broken…
The miracles of Jesus are a preview of a world that results when heaven meets earth, and we, Christians, the Church, are on the forefront of making that world a reality until one day when Jesus comes back and the world is reborn… they are a preview of coming attractions…of heaven colliding with earth…of a broken world healed and made whole once again…
…and I can’t wait to see it…