Jesus could return at any moment. We have all heard this, sometimes more often than others. The authors of the New Testament, inspired by the Holy Spirit, believed this and taught this. Jesus could indeed return at any moment, and we must be ready.
Consider, though, that He Himself declared this before He ascended to heaven after His resurrection from the dead nearly 2,000 years ago. That is a long time, from a human perspective, to be waiting. “Any moment” is a difficult phrase to embrace for a coming that generations have anticipated without realizing.
REASON TO BE THANKFUL
Yes, 2,000 years seems like a long time, but also consider how long people waited for the first Advent – the first arrival of Jesus Christ into the world. His first Advent was promised back in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15) and to Abraham (Genesis 12:3), to Jacob (Numbers 24:17), to Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15-19), to David (2 Samuel 7:12-13; Psalms), to Isaiah (7:14; 9:2-7; 11:1), to Jeremiah (23:5-6), and to Micah (5:2), and those are just some of the references. My point, though, is that people waited thousands and thousands of years for the promised Messiah to come into the world and be born of a virgin and save His people from their sins. Yet, Jesus’ first Advent did indeed happen just as God promised and foretold.
For this reason, we can be thankful even in waiting. We can thankfully wait for His second Advent – when He will return to judge the living and the dead and save forever all who know Him. No, we do not know when that day will be, but we can be certain that day will be.
THANKSGIVING TO ADVENT
Perhaps that can be our Thanksgiving-to-Advent bridge – thankfully waiting. Truly, we have many things for which to give thanks, but when is the last time you gave thanks that you can wait – wait with full assurance of faith for the second coming of Jesus Christ our Lord?
As sure as was His first Advent, His second Advent is sure. Praise the Lord!
What a great reminder to slow down and give thanks in the midst of the chaos that tries to consume our daily lives. Jesus is coming again, and His coming is guaranteed. He never fails to keep His promises. In fact, the reason we have not yet realized His second Advent is because of His love…
“The Lord does not delay His promise, as some understand delay, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish but all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).
On Sunday morning, Lord willing, I will begin a new Advent sermon series on “A Season of Preparation.” By preaching through Matthew 1:1-18, I hope to communicate that “Anticipation Is Preparation.” We prepare to encounter Jesus by anticipating His arrival. The people of old did this when waiting for His first Advent, and we do this by understanding that first Advent and looking forward to His second Advent.
THANKFULNESS REQUIRES READINESS
If you are not ready for Jesus’ second Advent, though, you will not be able to wait in thankfulness because that day will be eternally terrible for all who are not ready. To be ready, you must know and follow Jesus Christ with a sincere heart of complete surrender. Learn more by watching and/or reading The Story of the gospel. Only Jesus can prepare your heart for His second coming by making you right with God.
If you are ready and walking with Jesus, will you be more intentional this Advent season about waiting in thankfulness? Will you help others prepare and be ready by sharing The Story with them?