All things in life come to an end: jobs, relationships, where we live, our favorite store or restaurant closing, a beloved automobile or watch stops working, and our own lives. Everything has a time span, a limit that is reached at some point.
We are in a seemingly rough patch of Matthew's Gospel right now. It's all about eschatology: the end times. This theological principle is steeped in ancient Jewish traditions and relies heavily on the Book of Daniel here. Matthew's original listeners would have known and understood this quite well. But what are we to make of this rather obtuse and (actually) pretty scary writing?
If we do not take this literally, but extrapolate out a bit, we can see that Matthew is making absolutely clear that Christ is the end of all things. That Christ is what we are all striving for in this life, and when we reach the end, which all of us will do at some point, the whole purpose of our life, all that we have been, all that we are, all that we could have been, is rolled up into the Christological concept that Christ is the center of all things. Christ is the means and the ends in life and is around whom we are called to focus our attention, focus our purpose and focus our work.
In a secular and materialistic world, this is incredibly counter-cultural. Yet that is the model we are provided in all NT Scripture: Christ doing the unexpected, being with individuals who are not part of the mainstream culture. Christ is the beginning, the middle and the end for all of us.
Copyright 2008, John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved