“He who testifies to these things says, "Surely I am coming soon." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!”
(Revelation 22:20 ESV)
The season of Advent is now upon us. And, as most of you know, it’s a season of anticipation, as we look forward to our celebration of Christ’s birth. But, at the same time, it’s a season of expectation as we await his return.
Throughout the Old Testament, God had spoken to his people of the coming Savior. And these promises caused them to live in anticipation. They lived from day to day, watching and hoping for the Savior’s arrival.
We see this with the ministry of John the Baptist, and also as the ministry of Jesus took shape. We see that the people were questioning if this was it. They wondered, initially, if John was the Christ (something that he dismissed). They also wondered, rightfully so, if Jesus was the promised Savior.
For us, the coming of the Savior is something that happened in the past. It’s this that we celebrate at Christmas. We remember the Son of God, conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary, who was born into the world.
We remember that he was born into this world that he might save us from our sin. He came that he might give his life on the cross on our behalf. He came that, through faith in him, we might receive the blessing of life everlasting.
And here’s where our season of anticipation comes in. Although Jesus has come, we know that he’s coming again. We see this in the above verse. So, like the Israelites of the past, we live lives of watchful anticipation, longing for his arrival.
We long for his arrival because, even though the end will be a dreadful time, it means deliverance from this world of sin and death. It means the final judgment, when the people of God will be separated from those who are condemned. And it means that we’ll be transformed so that sin and its consequences become a thing of the past.
Even though most of us like our lives in this world, for the most part, and are reluctant to leave them behind, this is something worth anticipating. It’s worth our hopeful expectation. As the old spiritual declares: “Soon and very soon, we are going to see the King!”