Today we will be reading from Luke 21:20-28:
20 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it, 22 for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written. 23 Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; 24 they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the times of the nations are fulfilled.
25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
Advent is a season of waiting. In Advent, we remember the waiting that the people did, for centuries, waiting for the birth of the Messiah. There were about 400 years between the last prophet and the birth of Jesus. They wait for God to speak and for God to move.
We now are waiting again, waiting for His return. Over 2,000 years have passed since His first coming as a babe in the manger of Bethlehem. We now wait, sometimes patiently, sometimes not, for His return.
One of the contrasts that is interesting to me about Jesus’ returns is the difference in them. In His first coming, His first coming was easy to miss to the people of that day. Mary and Joseph were just common, ordinary people. Outside of the shepherds, no one noticed that night. And the only reason they saw was that they were told by a bunch of angels. Later, the Wise Men came, but they were led by a star. No one in Jerusalem saw it. The priests, the teachers, the king, they all missed it. No one saw.
Now compare that with how Jesus tells us His return will be like. No one will miss this. All will see. All will be aware. It will be hard to miss. We will see Him in the clouds, coming in glory. All will see, all will behold. All will be aware. No one will miss this one.
One of our common refrains today is how bad everything is. It’s getting awful out there; things are terrible, and everything is awful. We are tempted to read these passages about His return as scary. But hear the good news within. Look at what Jesus says. Our redemption is drawing near. Yes, things may look scary when we read about His return or even to think about it.
But remember what is actually happening here. Redemption. Just as His first coming brought forth salvation for all who believe., His second coming will bring forth redemption for all who are in Him. There is nothing to fear about His return. There is nothing to be afraid of. For when He comes, and the New Jerusalem descends from heaven (Revelation 21), all will be made right. No more sickness, pain, and death. All will be made right.
So, we wait, and we hope. Our redemption will come in God’s time. Let us wait for His return.
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