Discerning Church Learning to discern the movement of God's Spirit

His Return

During this season of Advent, we are following the lectionary passages. This year the epistle passages deal with Jesus’ return. We don’t always consider this facet of Advent. We think of the birth of Jesus, His first coming; we often ignore His second coming.

In preparing the sermons for this season, I am challenged by the early church’s focus on Jesus’ return. I have to admit I do not live with the same sort of anticipation. My attention is often on the here and now. In last week’s text (Luke 21:25-36), Jesus warns his followers to not be bogged down with the here and now.

(Luke 21:34 NIV) Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap.

The holiday season sometimes lures our attention toward parties, gifts, consumption and busyness. We must be careful to not be weighed down in this way. We will not be prepared for His return. We will find ourselves unpleasantly surprised when He shows up.

As I read the New Testament looking for references to the day of Christ Jesus or remarks to Jesus returning or coming back, I am overwhelmed with the frequency. Many fear that such emphasis on Jesus’ return will diminish our motivation to transform our culture. Yet the early church’s attention to Jesus’ return seems to be a primary inspiration for their work.

May this Advent season prompt us to keep the second coming of Jesus front and center. May His return propel us to purse the callings of God in our church and in our lives.

(Revelation 22:20–21 NIV) He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.