Friday, December 13, 2013

Advent XIII

When we hurry in our reading of the Word, we are likely to miss out on the blessing of the bigger picture.  Hurried reading tends to be done within the constraints of a certain amount of time, or according to a pre-determined number of verses.  While such reading may fulfill our sense of duty and while reading something is better than reading nothing, there is so much more to be gained by taking the time to read the larger context.  No where is this as true as it is in reading that Advent lesson from Matthew which speaks of the coming of Christ. (Matthew 24:29-39)
A closer look causes us to see that the rest of chapter 24 and all of chapter 25 are all connected together.  The first verse speak of the Son of Man appearing in the heavens accompanied by angels sounding trumpets.  The imagery is overwhelming to our senses.  The Scripture speaks of this moment with a call for us to live as those who are wide awake, prepared, and eagerly looking forward to His coming.  What follows that lesson only serves to underscore the theme set forth by Matthew.  The Parable of the Unfaithful Slave tells us to be in a right relationship with others while we wait.  The Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids points up the importance of being ready.  The Parable of the Talents calls us to faithful living during the time the Master is away.  And the final section about the Judgment of the Nations lets us know that waiting is not a passive activity, but one that requires compassionate care for those who suffer.

Christ is coming.  This is the announcement of Advent.  And, what do we do as we wait?  If we read carefully the larger section of material which Matthew writes, we are taken to a place of understanding what it means to live right in the interim between His appearance in Bethlehem and His appearance in the clouds.  With Matthew devoting so much space to this issue, there can be no doubt that it is an important one for us.

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