“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”—Isaiah 9:6
Lately, I’ve been wondering.
Despite all the signs and prophecies in the Old Testament, including those in the verse above, did anyone who was living in those days expect Jesus to come the way He did … as a baby in manger, born of a poor, teenage girl? Yes, the wise men saw the star in the East and came to worship, but did they know what they would find at their destination when they finally got there?
I’m not so sure.
And did anyone have an inkling, when Jesus was healing the sick and raising the dead and throwing over the moneychangers’ tables in the temple, about the horrific way his life would end? (And then begin again, three glorious days later?)
Quite the contrary, actually. Those in the know thought the Messiah would come as a conquering King, armed with a mission to free the Jewish people from oppressive Roman rule, not as a humble servant, commissioned by His Father to die for the sins of the world.
The writers of the Gospels recognized how Jesus fulfilled prophecy in retrospect, but beforehand? Not so much, despite the many clues He dropped along the way.
It makes me wonder about all the theories and orders of events people have for the future, based on their varied interpretations of prophecy in Daniel and Ezekiel and other books of the Bible. I’m the furthest thing from an expert on these matters, but if nobody got it right the first time around, what makes us think we’ll do any better the second time?
The only thing we know for sure is that Jesus will come again (see John 14:2-3 for His exact promise). This time, as my pastor said recently, there will be no doubt what is going on. Everyone will know, and every knee will bow.
He will wipe away every tear from our eyes, and there will be no more pain.
That’s why, during this season of Advent, of hopeful expectation, I’m not thinking of Jesus’ birth so much when the candles are lit and “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus” plays on the radio.
I’m thinking of His second advent.
I don’t know that I’ve ever felt quite this way before. Maybe it’s because the world seems to be spiraling downward at an ever-increasing pace. Or because time seems to be going by almost at the speed of light. Or because there are so many things I want to fix that are completely and totally out of my control. Or because Molly and I recently finished reading the final book in the Chronicles of Narnia, and my soul is longing to go further up and further in.
Whatever the reason, as I ponder all these things in my heart, I have but one response.
Jesus, come quickly.