10 Dec Fully Alive: A Story of Reconciliation
by Caleb Gossett
The 2018 Year-End Campaign is titled “FullyAlive”, based on Paul’s words found in Ephesians 4:13 (MSG). In the NewInternational Version verse 13 states, “until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” All of Ephesians is centered around the concept of humanities reconciliation through Christ. The letter opens with an incredible picture of God’s eternal plan for humanity, in the death ofChrist on the cross. Paul continues and discusses the lack of cultural and ethnic barriers to God, and that through Christ, all believers are “fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God” (Ephesians 2:19,ESV). Paul emphasizes the concept of unity and the familial bond found inChrist. Not only that, but the perspective of others that is Christ inspired is one of “humility and gentleness”, where all men are “bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2, ESV).
Unlike the NIV, The Message replaces the phrase,“Fullness of Christ” in verse 13, with the expression, “fully alive likeChrist”. This is a fitting translation when one considers who Jesus was. Christ invited mankind to follow his example and his teachings. At the start of his ministry, Jesus spoke to two unassuming fishermen by the Sea of Galilee and told them “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mathew 4:19, ESV).Jesus didn’t stop there but called all mankind to follow him. His ministry was marked by an emphasis on love and acceptance, but also a challenge to leave behind legalism and to make sacrifices with a willing and humble heart. Jesus declared a path towards a full life, that took the focus off of oneself. Along with his teachings, Jesus also performed incredible acts of power. In Matthew 9we read that “Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction” (9:35, ESV). Jesus declared the good news while transforming lives with the touch of his hands.
In his book The Reason for God, Timothy Keller presents an explanation of why Christ performed miracles. Keller suggests that what many view as acts that are a “suspension of the natural order” are in fact“the restoration of the natural order”. He writes, “The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it.Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miracles are not just proofs that He has power but also wonderful foretastes of what He is going to do with that power” (pg. 95). Jesus showed what a return to God’s vision of humanity will look like, and just as Jesus many years ago called those two fishermen to follow him, he calls us today to continue his work of redeeming creation. Christ’s vision and focus are what drives Mission UpReach (MUR) in all its decisions. Through each and every program, MUR is helping people to be fully alive; fully alive in the sense that there is a spiritual maturity and unity (regardless of class and race) found in those who follow Christ, and fully alive in the sense of opportunity and physical healing. We titled the 2018 Year-End Campaign “Fully Alive”, because it summarizes our journey as a Mission, and it summarizes each and every one of our journeys as Christians. We invite you this year to give towards continuingChrist’s work of pointing to what is to come: a future for which we can all rejoice.