Advent Devotion 18
At the start of his sermon, a preacher, asked if there was anybody who was feeling prepared for Jesus’ Christ second coming, to raise his or her hand up! The congregation went silent and perplexed faces dominated. A young girl seated with her parent raised up her hand. “Little girl”, tell your parent why? She happily talked to her parent who announced that: “She says she is looking forward to her Christmas gift”! Even in her innocent mistaking second coming for first coming of Jesus, she has a point that even in His second coming our Lord is coming with a gift of “eternal life” for those prepared.
Today’s Old Testament passage Malachi 2:17-3:12, is about the imminence of “The Day of the Lord” and the resultant judgement of those breaking the Covenant with God through injustice and withholding what is due to God. We read in part;
“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.
But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap…
Then the Lord will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the Lord, as in days gone by, as in former years.
“So, I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the Lord Almighty.
The New Testament passage Matthew 19:16-30 is about the Kingdom of God and difficulties in preparation for it. We read in part;
“Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” …
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you… And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first."
The concern in both passages is about the day of God’s judgement for all.
The good news is, in His love God sent His messengers to warn and prepare them. The bad news is, the clear danger of many being found unprepared.
For the unprepared, Micah prophesied that God will judge those who carry out injustices and all kinds of wickedness. While righteous, will have their sacrificial worship acceptable by God.
Similarly, Jesus in His teaching which even the disciples found difficult, comforted them that God Himself will enable those seeking to be prepared and that any sacrifices made will be plentifully honored. While those who hold on to other priorities above their right relationship with God, will be disappointed.
“Lord grant that sincerity in our day to day lives, to give first priority to our relationship with you. Enable us by your grace, to prepare aright for the Day of the Lord and be counted among the number when your saints go marching into your eternal kingdom.” Amen.