An Advent Journey: When God Became Small – Day Three

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Matthew 24:15-31, The New Living (TLB)

“So, when you see the horrible thing (told about by Daniel the prophet) standing in a holy place (Note to the reader: You know what is meant!), then those in Judea must flee into the Judean hills. Those on their porches must not even go inside to pack before they flee. Those in the fields should not return to their homes for their clothes.

“And woe to pregnant women and to those with babies in those days. And pray that your flight will not be in winter, or on the Sabbath. For there will be persecution such as the world has never before seen in all its history and will never see again.

“In fact, unless those days are shortened, all mankind will perish. But they will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen people.

“Then if anyone tells you, ‘The Messiah has arrived at such and such a place, or has appeared here or there,’ don’t believe it. For false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles so that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. See, I have warned you.

“So if someone tells you the Messiah has returned and is out in the desert, don’t bother to go and look. Or, that he is hiding at a certain place, don’t believe it! For as the lightning flashes across the sky from east to west, so shall my coming be, when I, the Messiah,return.  And wherever the carcass is, there the vultures will gather.

“Immediately after the persecution of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give light, and the stars will seem to fall from the heavens, and the powers overshadowing the earth will be convulsed.

“And then at last the signal of my coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning all around the earth. And the nations of the world will see me arrive in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And I shall send forth my angels with the sound of a mighty trumpet blast, and they shall gather my chosen ones from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.”

Such a nice, cheery text for Advent, don’t you think?

I’m not a big fan of apocalyptic writing/speaking, even when Jesus is the one doing the talking. But somehow, it seems good and necessary to include a few texts about the next Advent, when Jesus comes again.

The season of Advent is about waiting for that coming, too. And it’s good for me to remember that. What I do like about this particular text is the fact that Jesus warns his followers not to listen to any claims that the Messiah has shown up.

Why? Because the signs will be clear — we will recognize him, without any human intermediary making claims of ‘special knowledge.’

When the time is right, Jesus will be here, to claim us and to set things right, once and for all. ANYONE who claims to have the inside track is a charlatan, plain and simple.

Somehow, I find that reassuring.

O, Lord Christ! It is hard for me to picture you arriving in triumph. Everything about your first Advent was so decidedly humble, that I sometimes have trouble wrapping my mind around your coming glory. But help me to hang onto the truth of it, even though I struggle with it. Because your second coming offers us hope of a better world, a more just system. And for that I give you praise and thanks! Amen.

 

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Comments

  1. and Amen !!!!

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