The story of Jesus is an earth shaking story too good to keep to ourselves!
Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence….
I was sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for my wife to emerge from the bathroom. Eddie was in the other room watching TV.
We were in Monterey, California on vacation visiting family. It was early morning and we were getting ready to meet my dad for breakfast.
Our room had a nice view of the ocean on the other side of Ocean View Blvd. I turned to look in on my son in the other room when I felt the bed rumble beneath me.
I thought nothing of it at the time, thinking a large truck had rumbled by on the road in front of the hotel.
At breakfast, however, my dad asked me what we thought of the earthquake that morning!
I had never experienced an earthquake before. And until he mentioned it, I hadn’t thought I experienced one that day.
I thought it was just a large truck driving by. I’ve experienced that plenty of times. Large trucks, trains, even a large clap of thunder, all can shake the ground and house.
And it was never really a big deal.
But when the earth itself moves, under its (seemingly) own volition, that’s something else entirely! Its frightening, mostly because there’s no place you can go to get away from it. You can’t get away from the surface of the earth (unless you get in an airplane or a rocket ship)!
A truck or train shaking the earth is different because it is something other than the earth doing the shaking.
When the earth itself shakes, there’s no way to control it or make it stop.
I experienced a larger earthquake years later while living in California. I was a pastor of Redeemer Lutheran in Ontario, California – just outside of Los Angeles.
I was sitting at my desk working on a sermon or Bible study or something like that when the desk started shaking. Then the windows began to shake. Having been living in California for a about two years by that point, I knew exactly what was happening!
The church secretary shouted out, “Earthquake!” and I took off! I ran out of the building, knowing that I wanted to get away from any falling concrete or steel from the building.
It turned out to be only a moderate earthquake – a 5.7 on the Richter scale. Not enough to do any real damage but enough to scare me!
These are the things I thought about when I read Isiah 64:1 recently. This passage of the Bible was part of the Old Testament reading in many worship services this past weekend.
The prophet Isaiah was looking ahead to the coming of the Messiah. The Messiah would come from heaven and the prophet “sees” that the heavens (sky) would be torn apart as the Messiah leaves heaven and comes to earth.
And when the Messiah arrives on the earth, the mountains would quake when their Creator stood among them!
This all happened when Jesus came to be our Savior. Not all at once, but over the course of the 33 some-odd years that Jesus walked this earth. Isaiah’s prophecy – and all the other Old Testament prophecies – were fulfilled.
The heavens were rent. In fact, that’s the language that Mark uses to describe the baptism of Jesus.
And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove (Mark 1:10).
Matthew describes the morning of Jesus resurrection using the same language as Isaiah:
And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it (Matthew 28:2).
Yes, Jesus fulfilled all these prophecies and they happened just as Isaiah described them!
Now that Jesus has come – which is what we will be celebrating in just a few short weeks at Christmas – our hearts need to be torn open by the power of the Holy Spirit working through Word and Sacrament. Our lives need to be shaken to their core by the Law and the Gospel.
Because Jesus has come for us. Jesus as come down to save you and me from our sins. Jesus was born, lived, and died to forgive our sins. Jesus rose from the dead to give us new life – a life justified before God Almighty.
This is, literally, earth shaking news.
Good news, too!
Good news too good to keep to ourselves. Let’s shake someone else’s world by sharing the story of Jesus with them!
Heavenly Father, I praise you for tearing open heaven and sending Jesus to be our Savior. Shake our lives to the core with the truth that we are saved from our sins, from death itself, and from the power of the devil. By the power of your Holy Spirit, I pray we can share this earth shaking Good News with others! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
©2017 True Men Ministries