Its Advent Sunday and we are all looking forward to Christmas when we all celebrate the time when the creator of the universe came and lived on a rather unimportant planet orbiting a minor sun on the outskirts of the Roman empire in an unimportant village of the province of Judea called Bethlehem in poverty, in a stable.
But when he returns, Jesus says the people of the nations will, verse 27, see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory!
He was born in a stable but returns as a king, in power and great glory.
Most people will be terrified by what happens in the stars and on earth. We all know the phrase ‘Don’t worry its not the end of the world’ but Jesus is saying to his disciples, in this brief prophesy about what humanity must face in the years ahead, ‘Don’t worry it IS the end of the world’! Verse 28: “now when these things begin to take place stand up and raise your heads because your redemption is drawing near’
We need to be ready to read the signs of when this is going to happen. We need to learn the lesson of the fig tree: we can tell by its buds when summer is going to draw near thus we can tell by global catastrophe that Jesus is about to return
So we need to be ready….
But are we ready for the creator of the universe to come?
The one who knows everything about us; the one who knows all the opportunities that we have had to become his followers, all the opportunities that we have had to do what he has asked and yet we have been too busy, too important, too selfish….
As we step forward into Advent, as we take each day, let’s try a new spiritual discipline of following Jesus in anticipation of his arrival. Let’s ask him each day where we have gone wrong, what we need to confess to him. Let’s ask him (in the words of Psalm 24.4) if we have ‘clean hands and a pure heart’, so that we can confess to him, so that we can remove the obstacles, so that we can engage with him.
And lets ask him each day what he wants for us to do that day, rather than blessing what we want…
And, perhaps, if we do this, then by Christmas we will be ready for the king of kings to come in glory
The Coming of the Son of Man
25 “There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.