Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The first Sunday in Advent was marked with gospel lessons which make the skeptical more skeptical, the faint-hearted more fearful, and the faithful more hopeful. While each of the first three gospels for the day speak about the return of Jesus a little differently, (Matthew 24:36-44, Mark 13:32-37, Luke 21:25-34) each agrees on a couple of things. First, Jesus is going to return into human history to completely establish His Kingdom. And, secondly, since the time is unknown, living in a constant state of readiness is the smart response.
Of course, not everyone listens. Some regard these words as so outlandish and unrealistic that disregard is the only appropriate response. Others find in the return of Jesus a powerful hammer to beat sense into the unfaithful. And, finally, what might seem like a reason to be filled with dread and fear is instead only something which whets the anticipation of those who believe and long for the day of seeing Jesus in a way impossible for human eyes. This Biblical Word about Jesus returning to earth as King may not be a popular notion to consider, but it is, nonetheless, a teaching which merits our serious attention.
It was no matter of casual concern for those first century disciples. Actually, they worked, shared the gospel, and lived out their lives expecting Jesus to return in their lifetime. Of course, a lot of time has passed since the days of the early church, but living with that expectant attitude is a far better choice for us than living as one who never really expects such a day of accountability to be encountered. Even as today is lived differently if we realize it could be the day of our death, so is life lived differently if we realize it is constantly lived on the threshold of the return of Jesus.