Wednesday, November 23, 2011
When the early church was in its infancy stage during those early years after Pentecost, its members lived with the expectation that Jesus would be returning any day. Certainly, He would be returning before those witnesses to His earthly presence had died. Some suggest this is the rationale for the "selling of possessions and goods and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need." (Acts 2:45) What became obvious to the early church was the fact that Jesus was not coming quite as soon as they had first expected.
However, such a realization did not change their confidence that what was delayed was still certain. Jesus would come. They became those who waited. When Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthian Christians he acknowledged this as he wrote, "...you wait for the revealing of the Lord Jesus Christ. He will also strengthen you to the end, so that you may be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ." (I Cor. 1:7b-8)
The church is still waiting. The delay has now stretched over a span of time those early believers would have found to inconceivable. As we wait, the temptation is to take for granted the coming of tomorrow. As Advent calls us to be ready, we are reminded the delay gives us time to ready ourselves by acts of compassion, by ministries of mercy, by embracing repentance, and by striving to be reconciled to those where relationships are broken.