We begin again today the wonderful season of Advent. It’s a great time of preparation and expectant / exciting waiting. But what for? Clearly we’re looking forward to celebrating the birth of Jesus but this is also a particular period to think about His return.
In the concluding verses of 1 Corinthians 16 Paul suddenly writes “Come, O Lord” (v22). He is using an Aramaic word ‘Maranatha’ which essentially means “our Lord comes” or “our Lord is coming”, but it is also linked to a Latin word meaning “our Lord has come”. So throughout Advent we look forward to our coming Lord because He has already come. We have total confidence in His Second Coming as we celebrate His first coming.
But are we looking forward to the Lord’s return – and, dare I suggest, longing for it even more than this Christmas? The New Testament actually assumes that all Christians will be really longing for the return of Jesus. I read an article this week suggesting that the reasons why we might not be gripped by the Second Coming may include embarrassment (reacting against weird end-time prophecies), comfort (we are too satisfied with our current lives), intimidation (we fear the ridicule of the godless society around us), vagueness (we’re not really sure of the Bible’s teaching on what lies ahead) and cold-heartedness (we’re actually not deeply in love with Jesus).
The penultimate prayer in the Bible is “Come, Lord Jesus” (Revelation 22v20) – essentially the same as Maranatha. May we truly pray this throughout Advent, not just looking back to Bethlehem but eagerly looking forward to Jesus’ return.
Peace and Grace