Expecting the Messiah
I would like, firstly, to offer a reminder to check out Proverbial Thought. Wisdom is always helpful, and especially so during a busy holiday season!
Secondly, happy first week of Advent! Regardless of whether you practice celebrating Advent, we must always remember the importance of the coming of our Lord, which leads to the post:
On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”), and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
I have fallen in with several different crowds in my life. Before this gets out of hand, I mean within Christianity. One of those crowds with which my history is long and varied is those expecting the soon return of Jesus Christ. I recently have been hearing people, due largely to last year’s predictions of the rapture and the coming of the “Mayan prediction” of December 21, 2012, being the end of the world (bunk), mocking people who expect His soon coming.
These people doing the mocking are mostly Christian.
Here is some food for thought about expecting Jesus:
Is it really so silly?
There was another time when many people were calling for the coming of the Savior, and many others mocked them. It was easy with so many other religions and pseudo-Saviors popping up to save the day … and failing. Some expecting the Messiah claimed God had revealed to them that His Messiah was coming soon. Others were astute enough from years of dedicated prayer and fasting to recognize what was going on around them.
And those few were right.
The story above relates how to elderly people were eagerly waiting for the coming Messiah. When others may have laughed, they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that He was coming.
I am pretty sure, however, that few laughed. In fact, when we consider the thousands that later followed Jesus, there were many people who expected a Messiah. In this story, it says Anna “spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” Do you realize that many of those who heard this may not have even been alive, let alone remembered this, by the time Jesus began His ministry 30 years later?!
Sometimes, God speaks through the craziest things
Many people today eagerly await the returning King of kings. This is good!
Sure, there are problems with some people claiming to know the date. Some people flat-out deny Christ’s return. Some people say it is not really that important.
Sometimes, we disregard a truth because of where it comes from.
Joseph and Mary easily could have disregarded what was being said about their infant son, but I am pretty sure their dreams and visions from only the previous six to nine months were vividly fresh in their minds. They were seeing an impossible baby being born to verify the visions and dreams! These prophecies were becoming run of the mill for them, by now!
Perhaps that is our problem.
How many Christians today regularly fast and pray? How often do you set aside time for seeking God through prayer and listening for Him?
Jesus could be coming this month (even as you read this). How could we know if we are not daily seeking time to talk with God. We do not believe in miracles or spiritual gifts, so why should we expect His return to be soon.
Join with others in following my example, brothers, and take note of those who live according to the pattern we gave you. For, as I have often told you before and now say again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Therefore, my brothers, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!
This Christmas, and always, expect the Messiah to return soon. He may not, but we should live as though He is coming tonight but may wait another thousand years. Of course, we must praise Him always!