Devotional — Amen. Come, Lord Jesus
Published 8:00 am Sunday, December 4, 2022
Here we are at the beginning of another season of Advent. In case this is news to you, Advent is a special time for the church year in which the faithful may anticipate more intentionally the coming of Christ. We are supposed to hold in our hearts our welcome of Jesus. One of my favorite passages is the second to the last in the entire Bible – the prayer in Revelation 22:20 in which Jesus tells us he is coming soon and our response is “Amen. Come, King Jesus!”
Yes, we are all probably thinking about the remembrance and celebration of his birth. My wife has more nativity sets than I can count, and with a family Christmas event this Saturday, they are all set out over our home, but the real grip of anticipation is less in his first coming and more in his second coming. It is excellent to rejoice in the incarnation of God, but it is hard to look forward to something that has already happened. On the other hand, there is another coming (and the word advent means “coming”) that should capture our hearts and minds and fan our faith as we look forward to Jesus’ return, but this second coming will not be as a vulnerable and helpless baby but as the righteous and holy King.
Of course, people have revisited this idea for nearly 2000 years. Even the early followers of Jesus clung to this hope, some quit working in the expectation that he would return any moment. Jesus said in Matthew 24 that he would come back in that generation. The passage I referenced above from Revelation points there, too. There have been groups and movements that whipped up second coming hysteria, and I do NOT mean to do that in the least. I am simply trying to bring back up to the surface that this time of the year is precisely when we as a church have returned to this hope.
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In Matthew 24, Jesus is giving those who would listen a dire account of what was to come. The Temple would be utterly destroyed, the people overwhelmed and assailed, family would turn on family, believers would be captured, all kinds of horrors, and this is where he promises his quick return. The Romans did pretty much all of the devastation Jesus foretold just a few decades after his death and resurrection, but we are still left watching and waiting for him. This is why Matthew also gives us Jesus’ thoughts about when that return might be: no one knows, not even Jesus. It will be like the days of Noah or a thief in the night. This is supposed to keep people from trying to predict anything, and it is also supposed to provide room for hope. When we have waited and waited and waited, we turn down our waiting with expectant hope – but still expect and still hope. We need Jesus to come back and set all things right. We need him to come and complete his work. We need his Kingdom to embrace the world in a way it never has. In these days, friends, I hope you can share the prayer of Advent – Amen. Come, King Jesus, come!
REV. DR. PETER SMITH is the pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.