The LORD roars from Zion,
and utters his voice from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth quake.
But the LORD is a refuge to his people,
a stronghold to the people of Israel.
Joel’s prophetic statement of the gospel of Christ here is such a powerful exposition of the good news. He presents us with a picture of a God who will execute a judgment so devastating that it will make the mightiest of men quake at his roar. But in the grace of God, the gospel welcomes all who believe, to stand under the bloody doorposts and lintel until his fierce judgment passes over us. The mercy and grace of God become our place of refuge from his wrath and our repose in his kingdom.
How is it then that the gospel becomes buried in the classifieds of our lives? In our daily living we don’t often recognize the gospel of Jesus as the kind of front-page, bold-faced headline that we can’t rip our eyes away from.
Joel’s prophecy points his contemporary readers, believers throughout history (and us, nearly three thousand years later) to the hinge point of all history: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the cross, we see the impact of God’s terrible roar when our sins were punished in the brutal death of his perfect Son, Jesus. By his victorious resurrection, he became, to all who believe, our refuge from God’s final judgment and the open door to our place in God’s kingdom as his friends and worshipers forever.
Living lives of repentance from sin in light of God’s great salvation in Jesus Christ refreshes in us a holy fear of his dreadful hatred of sin. Furthermore, the gospel stirs in all who repent and believe such great celebration that if we don’t open our mouths the very stones will cry out, “Hosanna in the highest!”