January 6, 2013
Behold, I am coming soon, bringing My recompense with Me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. Revelation 22:12-13
We are a week into 2013.
That usually means most of us are still putting "2012" on our checks and correspondence. All of this takes me to the point of this devotion. I think it's time to say thank you to Dionysius Exiguus.
And just who is Dionysius Exiguus? I'm glad you asked.
His name means "Dennis, the Small" or "Dennis, the Short" or, in all probability, "Dennis, the Humble."
At any rate, Dennis is important because of an idea he had, a pretty good idea. You see, up until the sixth century, the Western calendar centered around the most important date anyone could think of: the founding of the city of Rome.
Dionysius Exiguus believed, quite rightly, that a worn-out city's birth could hardly compare in importance with the Savior's coming into the world.
Further, Dionysius understood that while Rome's rule had been established and maintained by violence and war, Jesus ruled in human hearts and souls by virtue of His perfect life, His sacrificial death, and His glorious resurrection.
With those thoughts in his mind, Dionysius did considerable research and ended up redoing the calendar. Jesus' birth was the turning point of history, and from then on things were marked "before Christ" (BC) or "after the year of our Lord," Anno Domini (AD).
The only down side of the story is this: while Dionysius was great at coming up with ideas, he was pretty bad in arithmetic. It was only after his new calendar had been adopted and used throughout the Western world that somebody bothered to check his math. Sure enough, it was found wanting. Dionysius had made a mistake of about four or five years, which means Jesus was born four or five years BC or Before Christ.
This is just a roundabout way of saying that in this New Year, with all of its unanticipated and unknown events stretching out before us, it is right for us to remember just who is in control of time and eternity.
The Creator, the Redeemer, the Sanctifier still are at the helm. In their grace, mercy and love, they have promised to be with us for every ticking of the clock, every turning of the calendar. They who have, through Jesus' life, passion, death and resurrection, given us peace in this world and a blessed eternity in the next, will watch over us -- continually and faithfully.
How could it be otherwise?
They are, after all, "the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End."
And, no, folks, I didn't forget about those politically correct thinkers who are pushing this Common Era and Before the Common Era (CE/BCE) baloney. No matter which letters you like to use, something still happened 2,000 years ago that changed the calendar.
Either way you write it: Jesus is the center of history.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, throughout this year, may I remember You are always in benevolent control. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries