The Yes of God

For all the promises of God find their Yes in him.

That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

History is rich with promise. Our own lives are rich with promise. We’re promised things all the time. We promise others things all the time. Why? Well because there is so much uncertainty in the world. We need something to cling to. We need something more sure than empty words. We need a promise.  A child doesn’t merely take someone’s word for it. No, when something great is told to a child he almost always asks, “You promise?” He must do that because even at a young age we are lied to. What all too often happens is what seems too good to be true is so often simply too good to be true. We find ourselves cast into a sea of uncertainness. Trust is lost. Faith is sent reeling. Feelings are hurt. In cases of the most serious of promises being broken, such as wedding vows, perhaps even lives are destroyed by one’s sin. But, we serve a God who loves to make lavish, outlandish, audacious, flat out bold promises. And he’s not into breaking promises. He’s into super-fulfilling them. And throughout history his people have been asking one of two questions: either “You promise?” or “How long, O Lord?” Both God intends to answer. And both he has answered. Paul indicated this in the verse quoted above from 2 Corinthians 1:20. Jesus is the answer to all of God’s promises. And what an answer he is!

If God makes promises, and he does, it begs the question of why does he promises us anything? Certainly he doesn’t have to. Certainly it’s not because he’s obligated in some way. No, of course he doesn’t have to and of course he’s not obligated. He does it because in our sinfulness we are absolutely filled with disbelief. He does it because we won’t believe him without one. He does it because he loves us enough to prove himself to worthless creatures like us. He does it because he is full of grace and because we are full of sin. We need a promise. And we need a great promise keeper. God is both.

Throughout the history of Israel, God promised his people great things. He promised Abraham he would be the father of many and that through him all nations would be blessed. Jesus came to fulfill the law and through that fulfillment to graft in the Gentiles (Romans 11:11-24), thus opening the blessing to all nations. Jesus is that offspring of Abraham (Galatians 3:16). Promise kept.

When Abraham’s descendents found their way into Egypt and into slavery God heard their cries for relief and sent them Moses. Moses led them out of slavery and into the wilderness and God promised them that another prophet, one like Moses, would rise and it was he that they should listen to (Deuteronomy 18:15). Jesus is that prophet (John 6:14). Promise kept.

When Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land and the judges began to rule over them, they longed for a king. God gave them Saul but he wasn’t the answer. In his goodness he then gave them David. David sinned mightily and lost a son over it. But, David’s sin didn’t keep away the promise God had for him and for all of Israel. No sin is larger than God. God told David that he’d always have a king on the throne from his line (2 Samuel 7:12-13). Jesus is that king (Revelation 19:11-16). Promise kept.

When David was writing the Psalms, through all of his ups and his downs, God promised a priest to come. This priest would be in the line of Melchizedek, that is, everlasting (Psalm 110:4). No priest would ever supplant him. There would be no need for he would be the perfect priest. Jesus is that priest (Hebrews 5:10). Promise kept.

Promise after promise, Jesus fulfills them all. Paul uses the term “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4) in reference to Jesus’ coming to earth. It was the fullness of time because it was time for God to answer Yes to all of his promises. It had been 400 years since a prophet had roamed the land. It had been 400 years of silence. Perhaps this was the silence Amos referred to in 8:11-12 – “Behold, the days are coming”, declares the Lord God, “when I will send a famine on the land – not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the Lord, but they shall not find it.” Did God stop talking? Was he done speaking to his people? It seemed so.

But then, not a day late, not a moment too soon, Jesus shows up and, as John says, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14). Jesus is God’s answer. God sends a cry in the night from a new born baby to break his silence. God’s answer to every promise, the final installment, the greatest and last and ultimate fulfillment was finally here!

Jesus’ life was ordinary at best for about 30 years. He grew up. He worked a job. He ate food. He drank water. He went on walks. He prayed. He learned Scripture. He took care of his mother and siblings. He was, for lack of better words, normal. But, this normal human was more than just that. He was the fulfillment of everything. Jesus is the great Yes.

Every longing in our heart for okayness, every longing for reconciliation, every longing for a good king, every longing for a good kingdom, every longing for a sufficient sacrifice, every longing of every human heart was satisfied in Jesus. God looked down on the world in which he had made so many promises to children asking when these promises would come to maturity and he answered yes in Jesus.

All of the promises of God find their yes in him. Jesus is the great Yes of God. Christmas wasn’t just God sending Jesus as a gift to the world, although it was that, but it was God answering Yes to every promise he’d ever made. Now, because we know the answer is Yes, we can come to him and ask him for the love we so long have desired. We can ask him for the joy we’ve always sought. We can ask him for the peace we know we don’t have. We can ask him for the patience we’re always lacking. We can ask him for the kindness we can’t ever attain. We can ask him for the goodness we know we don’t have. We can ask him for the faithfulness we know we can’t keep. We can ask him for the gentleness we know we have always wanted. We can ask him for the self-control we have never, ever had. We can ask him for the salvation we desperately need. We can ask him for himself. And his answer, because of Jesus, is a resounding Yes. Forever and ever. Amen.