If we really pay attention to our experience, we can recognize and feel in a very tangible way, our need for someone to bring peace, to bring shalom, to make us complete and restore us, to reconcile us to one another and to everything around us (to all of creation), to heal these broken relationships, and yes, even to undo the effects of violence and reverse death itself.
The goal from the beginning was for all mankind to share in the eternal life of God (i.e., the divine life) and this is what is restored to us in Israel’s Messiah King, Jesus.
What’s the issue? John says it clearly: “There is one among you whom you do not recognize.” At this point in the story, Jesus is already there, walking among them, but no one recognizes him—no one recognizes that the one they have been waiting for has arrived.
We don’t like thinking about Jesus’ return. We’ve heard a lot of scary things, judgmental things, fire and brimstone things about the “Day” that Jesus returns. So what gives? Is this “Day” that is coming a cause of fear or is it good news?
Advent hope stems from Christmas: God who is faithful to his promises came once, and so we have hope that he will come again. That is our great hope: our great hope is that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again to completely establish his eternal Kingdom on earth as in heaven, for which his first coming opened the Way and his second coming will bring to completion.
Our mission is fidelity to the King and the announcement of his kingship. This fidelity and announcement have power. When one lives under the power of this kingship and kingdom, it is accompanied by signs, signs of merciful love: the hungry are fed, the thirsty have drink, the strangers are welcomed, the naked are clothed, the sick and prisoners are visited. The kingdom is breaking in, and these are the signs that it is present.
When the Lord encounters us, when we feel the Lord draw close to us—in that moment of encounter, the question is will we remain, will we abide, or will we burry it away, will we turn and walk away, will we say, “Thanks for all you do, Jesus, but don’t expect me to do anything in return”?
Why is Jesus going to come again? What does it mean that he is going to judge? What does it mean his kingdom will have no end?
“The only great tragedy in life is not to become a saint”
Some people think that they are capable of great love. But really, they are just people in need of great love.