Faith Matters

Andrew Watson: The return of the magnificent king

DO you remember the classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven - the one with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen? Let me refresh your memory, writes the Rev Andrew Watson.

A small Mexican village is being terrorised by the evil Calvera and his band of thugs who come each year and steal their harvest.

In desperation they invite gunslinger Chris (Brynner) and his six companions to come to their rescue.

Two hours and eight minutes, numerous gun battles and one outstanding music score later, the village is free.

One of the surviving seven has even fallen in love with a local girl and settles there to work and enjoy the land in peace.

It's a familiar sort of story. People oppressed by evil tyrants long for a hero to save them and restore justice.

We love stories where someone with courage and strength actually punishes the wicked and sets the prisoners at liberty.

The hero is willing to risk their life and even die on behalf of others.

They are not self-interested but concerned to establish peace and prosperity and unity for the wider community. And almost always there's a bit of romance blossoming as the plot unfolds.

We meet such a hero in the closing pages of the Bible - one who had the courage to die on a cross for our redemption.

But now, in Revelation 19, he's back - risen, glorified, crowned with multiple crowns - and leading the mounted armies of heaven with power and authority to put all creation right and claim his bride.

The story of fallen planet earth and sinful humanity isn't over yet. We have to be patient and faithful 

The longing for justice is an age-old cry. It is one reason people like movies like The Magnificent Seven.

We're frustrated that evil and wicked people seem to get away with doing wrong and even prosper. There seems no justice at times. Who can put things right?

These last few pages of Revelation picture a final, conclusive battle in which the proud kingdoms of this present world are defeated.

All who have welcomed and practised the deceitful ways of the evil one and refused to repent will finally face the wrath of God.

Here's a word for ruthless tyrants, for drug dealers and people traffickers and selfish abusers of every kind - the Lord is coming for you and you won't escape.

True hero that he is, Jesus will not only punish wicked people, he will save those who hunger and thirst for God's righteousness.

We also find here love and romance. Just as the Robin Hood story ends not with the death of the wicked sheriff but with the wedding of Robin and his beloved Maid Marion, the Bible concludes with an invitation to the "wedding supper of the Lamb".

Jesus is returning soon in glory not just to punish the wicked but to bring his 'bride', the Church, home to himself.

Who are we that God should promise us such generous blessing? With shame we confess our sin and sense of unworthiness.

We seek by faith to hide ourselves in him. And he clothes us in his righteousness, making us fit for the courts of the palace of heaven.

The story of fallen planet earth and sinful humanity isn't over yet. We have to be patient and faithful.

But the day is approaching when Jesus will return to set things right.

Then the real adventure will begin.

Rev Andrew Watson is minister of the Presbyterian congregations in Dunfanaghy and Carrigart in Co Donegal and a chaplain to Letterkenny Institute of Technology. He blogs at wordsurfers.com

Rev Andrew Watson

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Faith Matters