“Remember & Prepare”
This Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent. Advent is one of those Church Calendar events where by we remember and prepare for the coming of Christ. It really is a two-fold event. We remember the birth of our Saviour, celebrated annually on the 25th December, but we also prepare with eager expectation our Saviour’s second coming.
Sadly, the celebration of the Saviour’s first coming has been largely commercialized. Many celebrate the holiday that is associated with Christ’s birth, but not too many celebrate the significance of Christ’s birth. Then again, what’s new?
C.S Lewis once wrote that the birth of Christ is the central event in the history of the earth. Indeed, Scripture revolves around this event and then foreshadows the second coming of Christ. In the OT there are some four hundred scripture references and prophecies concerning the coming of Jesus as Saviour of God’s people. The first such reference can already be found in Genesis 3:15, often referred to as the “protoevangelium,” where the woman’s seed will crush the serpents head. There are many other references throughout the OT which outline Jesus’ birth, life, death, sacrifice, resurrection and his return (See Isa 7:14; 9:6; Isa 40; Micah 5:2; Zech 9:9; 12:10; Psalm 22; Isa 42; 53 and many others).
Unfortunately, God’s Old Testament people, despite the many references to the coming of Christ in the Old Testament, are still waiting and living in denial of His actual coming. We pray that the Lord may be merciful to them and open their eyes to see Jesus, after all, they were instrumental in His first arrival.
Today, not too many people deny that Jesus was actually born, lived in Palestine, and even died a cruel death. What they do deny though, is that He is the divine Son of God, that He is the Saviour of sinners who repent and that he rose from the dead. In fact, other than claiming that Jesus may have been a good example to follow and therefore morally OK, Jesus is irrelevant to their everyday lives.
This shouldn’t surprise us for if people do acknowledge the resurrected Jesus as God’s Son and the Saviour of sinners who repent, then they would also have to acknowledge that they would need to give an account for every deed done and every word spoken, whether good or bad.
Personally, I can think of no more important event in “His-story” than the birth of Christ, His life accompanied with many miraculous events, His death, His resurrection and His glorification. Indeed, where would we be without the forgiveness we have in Jesus Christ? It is with thankful hearts that we can say we know Jesus as our Saviour and because of what He has done, He is also our Lord.
I am not privy to what many of you have planned as individuals and as families to remember Christ’s first coming. In fact, it’s amazing how much planning and preparation goes into this festive time by so many people. Hopefully, some time of quiet, thankful reflection and discussion about this momentous event amongst the festivities would not be out of place.
Oh, before I forget, we also need to plan and be prepared for Christ’s second coming. In fact, that may happen before the annual day of remembrance for His first coming this year! And since that is true and a real possibility, we should perhaps put far more thought into that event which Scripture also speaks about on many pages in the New Testament (Acts 1:11; 1 Thess 5; Tit 2:13 and many others). The last thing we would want to do as Christians is to live in denial of Christ’s second coming.
Yes, agreed, it has been a while since He first appeared, but let us not think for a moment He isn’t coming back again. That would be serious mistake. The Apostle Peter warns, “But do not forget this one thing dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (1 Peter 3:8-9). Come Lord Jesus, come quickly JZ
Pastor John Zuidema
Since 1997 Pastor John has been ministering to Churches across Australia and New Zealand.