Advent : A time to wait upon the Lord

waiting

Advent : A time to wait upon the Lord
Please read Isaiah 64: 1-9

Christmas is a time of so much rush and busyness for most believers that there are just not enough hours in a day and days in a month to accomplish all we are supposed to do for Christmas. The West has so much commercialized Christmas that we often forget what it is all about—the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ our Lord. Therefore, it’s high time for us that we take Advent, the holy season preceding the birth of Christ, as a time when we wait upon the Lord instead of rushing to do things for Christmas. Remember, the Israelites were sent several prophets with a clear message about the coming Messiah. But then, after the last Prophet Malachi put his pen down, there ensued a period of complete silence. It was a period of silence for 400 long years. A period that some have also called the darkest period in the history of Israel. It’s rightly called the darkest period because God was the quietest during this long time. The Israelites were used to hearing the Word of God proclaimed through the Prophets as the writer of Hebrews says: “God, at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets” (Hebrews1:1). But after Malachi, the prophecies ceased and there was no voice of God until John the Baptist was sent by God to prepare the way for the coming of the Messiah.
So Advent is a good time to begin instilling some stillness into our days in a very busy world. It’s a time to patiently wait for the Messiah to show up in our lives and transform us into his image and likeness. Prophet Isaiah reminds us in 64: 4,

“Since ancient times no one has heard,
no ear has perceived,
no eye has seen any God besides you,
who acts on behalf of those who wait for him.”

The biblical God unlike other gods has attributes like patience, compassion, and long-suffering. Therefore, he’s also eager in acting on behalf of those would wait for him. I know from personal experience that waiting is not easy. I’m an impatient man and I don’t like waiting for anything. However, God wants us to wait. Advent teaches us to wait because waiting means that I continue to believe and trust in God when all others have given up. When others are no longer hoping for God to show up, waiting means I depend on God’s timing rather than my own timing. Waiting teaches us to believe in the here and now and to get involved in expanding the Kingdom of God instead of idly sitting around and hoping for the rapture to take us away from this world.

I really hope and pray that this Advent season, you will slow down and draw near to God to patiently learn to wait upon him. Christmases will come and go, what is more important is learn to wait upon the Lord and to learn to trust in him and in his perfect timing.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus.

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Advent: An opportunity to Evangelize

Advent : An opportunity to evangelize
Please read Mark 13: 1-10

Mark chapter 13 is often called the “Olivet Discourse” as Jesus taught this to his very close disciples at the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem. During his last week in Jerusalem, Jesus appears to have spent most of his time in and around the Temple…teaching, preaching, observing, and praying for the peace of Jerusalem. His disciples called Jesus’ attention to the grandiose Temple building which indeed was magnificent in those days. To this Jesus responded with a startling prophecy that the Temple will be completely destroyed (this was fulfilled in AD 70 under Roman warrior and future emperor Titus). Jesus’ statement led the disciples to ask of Jesus as to when this would happen and what would be the signs before it’s fulfilled. The Olivet discourse is Jesus’ response to this query.

old mapWhat pops out to me is Jesus’ statement in Mark 13: 10: “And the gospel must first be preached to all nations.” The parallel passage in Matthew 24:14 puts it even more emphatically: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.”

Like Jesus’ disciples, we too could have a misplaced concern about the Second Advent, the return of Jesus Christ and preoccupation with the signs and times of his coming. The disciples wanted to know the time and the signs. And down through the centuries, some followers of Jesus have indulged in speculating the exact dates for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus rebukes this tendency by calling their attention to the mission for which he had come to this earth, i.e., the proclamation of the good of news of the Kingdom of God. To counter this tendency, Jesus categorically told the disciples that before the end comes, the church’s mission should be the evangelization of the world — taking the gospel to all people groups everywhere. What he meant by it is that the time between his ascension and his return as the ruling King is not simply a time of suffering and persecution of the church but also an opportunity to share the grace of God and proclaim the good news throughout the earth to fulfill the prophecy of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 49:6:

He says:
“It is too small a thing for you
to be my servant to restore the tribes of Jacob
and bring back those of Israel I have kept.
I will also make you a light for the Gentiles,
that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.”

Therefore, as followers of Christ, let’s spend our time, energy, and resources wisely with the sole aim of fulfilling the command of our Lord Jesus Christ that the gospel of the Kingdom is preached on earth and, then, the end will come and not before that!

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!