The Ministry of Deacons, Pt. 2

The Ministry of Deacons, Pt. 2 September 11, 2011

“And God saw everything that he had mde, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.” So ends the Bible’s opening chapter. All is well. The world is at peace. In God’s own perfect eyes, the new creation is “very good”–i.e., perfectly suited to human prosperity and wellbeing in every way.

The primeval paradise lasts only 30 more verses before sin utterly ruins it. Where before people had been in perfect fellowship with God and one another, now they feel guilty before God and angry with each other. Shame tears at their psyche. Rupture rocks their world. Spiritually, psychologically, relationally, and physically, the world is a broken place.

Ever since, God has been working to restore what sin ruined. Israel caught a glimpse of it in God’s promise to bring them into a land “flowing with milk and honey.” Later that glimpse became (short-lived) reality in the golden age of Israel’s great kings, David and Solomon. At every stage, God’s plan was moving forward, and sin’s curse was rolling back.

Thus when Jesus came, it should be no surprise that His first sermon boldly promised a return to paradise:

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (Luke 4:18-19).

The new world He’s describing sounds almost Eden-like with its spiritual, psychological, relational, and even physical blessings. In His other sermons, Jesus called this new world “the kingdom of God”; and everywherre He went, He invited people to be part of it by repenting and believing the gospel.

So what does all of this have to do with the ministry of deacons? Good question. I’ll try to answer it in next week’s column. Stay tuned!