by Bill Spaans:
We are now into the advent season. Generally during this season of the church year, we focus on the amazing story of Jesus’ coming in a most unexpected way to redeem His people. A recent feature in Christianity.com titled “What Is Advent” pointed out that during this season we can equally reflect on Jesus second advent – when He comes again. As the authors of the article wrote:
The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people.
Luke chapter 14 has something to say about the second advent of Jesus. Jesus uses the analogy of a great banquet, where many were invited, but most turned down the invitation. In Luke 14 we read:
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.’”
At the first advent Mary and Joseph returned to their ancestral home for the census, but no one offered to take them in. In John 1 we read that “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”
But look who did respond to God’s invitation to come. Of course, the angels who sent out the invitation were there, but also the lowly shepherds, and the wise men from afar.
Who will come to the great celebration of the second advent? In Revelation 9 we read “After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb”.
Even as we reflect on Jesus humble first advent this Christmas season, may we so also long for His second advent, and may we be found amongst that great multitude invited to His banquet table. And to God be the glory!