Advent Devotion 6 – An Urgency in His Coming

Today’s Reading: Matthew 21-24

Matthew 21:9 – And the crowds that went before him and that followed him were shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (ESV)

Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (ESV)

Matthew 24: 30-31 – Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (ESV)

Matthew 24:44 – Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (ESV)

The season of Advent is intended to create in us a joyous reflection upon the fact that our Savior has come into the world.  It is also intended to create, in those who know Christ, an excitement and anticipation for His second coming when He will make all things new.  In the chapters of Matthew associated with today’s reading, we see Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem where the people are worshipping and declaring that this is “Hosanna!”  This is their Messiah.  However, we realize that in a few short days, their cries of Hosanna will turn to “crucify Him!” In the time between this triumphal entry, and Jesus’ crucifixion, He takes time to explain to the disciples what will take place at the end of the age.  These words should ring in our ears and create in us an urgency in His coming.

As Christians, we have the promise of knowing that when He returns, He will call us unto Himself and we will reign with Him.  However, for those who have refused the Gospel or have never heard the gospel, Jesus’ second coming will not be a joyous occasion, but one of absolute terror.  When Christ comes back, there will be a reckoning for sin, and eternal punishment will be given to all who have never repented from sin and by faith trusted in Christ and His justifying work on the cross.

I know you are thinking, “Thanks Andy! Just what I needed to lift my Christmas spirits…a little eternal judgment!”  Here is why we must keep this reality before us.  There is a stark contrast between the first and second coming of Christ of which we must be reminded.  During the first Advent season, the nation of Israel was looking for their redeemer to come.  They were in the midst of 400 years of silence.  No word from God, no prophetic declarations.  But in the midst of the dark and silence, a great light was given.  The angelic host declared to a bunch of shepherds that Messiah had come.  This was a surprise.  When Jesus came the first time, his birth, life, death, and resurrection served to open the door of salvation to all of mankind.  The veil of the temple was torn in two symbolically displaying that through the work of Christ, all may freely enter the presence of God as his children.  The first coming was an entirely joyous surprise.

This second Advent, however, in which we Christians find ourselves, will have a different ending.  It will begin similarly with a sign in the heavens.  Angels will be sent forth with trumpet sound, and the glory of the Lord will shine across the horizon upon all mankind. This however, will serve as a sign of rejoicing for those who know Christ, but for those who do not, it will serve as a sign of judgment.  Matthew 24:30 says, “the nations will mourn.”  They will mourn because they will finally understand that it is too late.

As Christians, we have a hope and an excitement for the second coming of Christ.  Though the lost do not yet see it, the possibility of the second coming should be a terrifying reality for them. Herein, we see “an urgency in His coming.”  During this time of year, we worship because He has come.  However, the reality that He has come should serve as a reminder that He is coming again.  God has called us as His children to declare the good news of the Gospel to a lost and dying world so that when He does return, there will be a great harvest of souls to spend eternity with Him.  This is why He came the first time, and if we simply sit back and wait, we will miss the privilege of taking many with us when He returns the second time.  I close with this reminder from Matthew 24:14,

Matthew 24:14 – And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (ESV)

Prayer of Response: Father, thank you that I can look to your Second Coming with great anticipation.  You saved me through the shed blood of Jesus, and I know that when He returns, I will be with Him in glory.  There are many who have yet to trust in Christ, and for them I understand that your return will not be a time of rejoicing, but of great mourning.  God, grant me an urgency for the lost.  Give me a burning within my soul that urges me to share the good news of the Gospel with everyone I meet.  Through this, I know you will receive glory, and for this I know you have saved me. Let me live for this purpose, especially during this time of year. AMEN

Rest in Jesus,

Andy

 

Advent Devotion 3 – Peace on Earth

Today’s Reading – Matthew 9-12

Matthew 10:34 – Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. (ESV)

How often have we said or heard the phrase “peace on earth” during the Christmas season? When we think of Jesus coming into the world, we like to think of peaceful times when enemies can lay aside their grievances and experience peace with one another. There certainly is something about this time of year that fosters peace and a giving spirit. It is one of the best parts of this time of year. Strangers passing on the street greet one another with, “Merry Christmas” or at least “Happy Holidays.” There is a building emotion tied to this time of year, but what happens on December 26? It may not happen immediately, but usually once the gifts are opened and the turkey is gone we fall right back into the normal pattern of life. The “peace” brought about each year when the calendar turns to December is temporary. Why?

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