One word which I think sums up the whole Bible quite well is the word restoration. God restores and He makes new. Scripture opens with the completion of creation, and it was declared to be good. Man and woman were made in His image in perfect relationship with one another and the Father, enjoying the fruits of the garden together. However, as we all know too well, things did not remain that way, and that perfect relationship was ruined. Adam and Eve could no longer enjoy the fruits of that beautiful garden, as they were banished because of their sin. From that time on, until the time of Christ, we saw the outworking of God’s plan to restore us to Himself, and to make His enemies a footstool for His feet.
Restoration – Made New
We see the outworking of restoration in most things. In nature, after a wildfire has completely destroyed a forest, new growth eventually appears. In our lives the Lord restores what “the locusts have eaten” and so much more. Although, it does not always look how we might expect it to look.
When Jesus walked the earth, his disciples said to Him, “Lord are you now going to restore the Kingdom to Israel?” Even then, the disciples knew of the promise of restoration, however their picture and expectation was not quite in line with what the Lord had in store. Before this time, the Jews too had before them the promise of restoration, yet their expectation was that of a military conqueror similar to the conquests of David, who would free them from Roman oppression. And as a result, they missed their Messiah and eventually crucified Him.
Often when we consider restoration, we think of it in terms of external things. For example: an investment gone wrong, a job lost, or some other loss which we hope God will return. And the Lord certainly can and does restore in these areas, but I would like to share one story which I think captures God’s first priority where restoration is concerned.
Restoration in Luke 19
This is superbly illustrated in the story of Zacchaeus. Zacchaeus was a tax collector and thief, who would extort the people in order to make some extra money. However, when he heard the message of Jesus, he was cut to the heart. When Jesus finally called him by name, Zacchaeus repented and said, “right here and now, I give half my possessions to the poor, and if I have wronged anyone I will give back four times the amount.” After this Jesus said, “salvation has come to this household.” It would be safe to paraphrase it to “Restoration has come to this household.” You see, although Zacchaeus entered restoration and repentance, it did not look like what we might expect. After he met Christ, he become A LOT poorer by giving away half his possessions and four times what he stole, yet he also become rich in spirit and was united with Christ in love and the Holy Spirit. His relationship in the community was also restored as a result of his repentance.
So you see, restoration came to his household, but it was not an outward restoration as one would expect to see.