Summary: We need a coming in-between the 1st and 2nd Advent
Sermon for Matthew 24:36-44
I assume everyone knows what it feels like to wait for something to come. It’s not even winter yet and I’m already waiting for summer when my family and I take our annual vacation to Ocean Isle North Carolina. I can’t wait! Seriously, I’m already looking forward to that time! I truly think that’s what keeps me going.
Believe it or not, I’m even starting to prepare for the fabulous trip that is some eight months away—Checking the internet for the best condo prices—trying unsuccessfully to save a little money so I can actually do some things when I get down there—but most of all dreaming—dreaming about the beach, the good food, the great fishing, seining, crabbing, taking long walks with my wife and kids—basically doing nothing but the things I love.
And when that time comes—oh what a joy! 10 days of Bliss!
However, when I arrive back home there is this feeling of emptiness—almost like a type of depression—another year of facing the reality of the world—another whole year of waiting. It’s sad but true. It’s sort of like I live my entire life in-between the time of anticipation and the actual event.
Yet isn’t this true of most of us? It doesn’t have to be a vacation. It could be looking forward to the coming of a wedding—with all the preparation and anticipation. It could be waiting for a relative to come home from college, the service, or a visit from out of town. It could be anticipation to hear of good news, or perhaps even bad news.
It doesn’t really matter what you are waiting for, the point being is that we seem to live much of our lives in-between times. When they happen—hopefully—oh what a joy.
But once again when its over sometime there may be a feeling of emptiness, a type of depression—until we once again can focus our lives on something else to look forward to. You know—keep us going.
It’s sort of like Advent. The word means coming or arrival. The coming or arrival of God in the person of Jesus Christ.
You see, the people of the Old Testament also lived in-between time—when the looked forward to the coming of a Messiah—the first Advent. The Hebrew Scriptures gave the Israelite something to dream about—hope that the God of Justice—the Christ—would come into the world set things right. They waited, expected, anticipated, prepared, and longed for this Messiah to come.
And finally when Jesus the Messiah did come, a few where thrilled—3-1/2 years of bliss. They like us had lived their entire life in-between the time of anticipation and the actual event waiting for a Savior who just so happen would die as common criminal. The reality of the cross forced many into disbelief. Some were actually in the state of depression. What do we do now? What do we look forward to? What do we dream about now? You know—something to keep us going?
Here is where the Second Advent—the Second Coming of Christ comes into play. A most misunderstood and sometimes deceiving teaching that can either give one something to look forward to or cause a sense of emptiness.
I think we can all agree there will be a Second Coming. Someday the world as we know it will cease to exist. Basically we know this to be true. Yet, how and when is another matter. Many have tried to predict this end of age, but so far they have all been wrong. We sometimes even get caught up with fascinating left-behind notions that fuel the fire.
Like into today’s text…The typical left behind story. Two men will be in the field, one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill, one will be taken and the other left. Which one do you want to be? The one taken? Or the one left behind? Traditionally, we are taught you want to be the one taken, but I’m not traditional. Me personally, I want to be the one left behind!
Think I’m nuts? Look at the story. Jesus compares the time to the days of Noah when people were eating, drinking, and making merry until the flood waters came and took these unfaithful scoundrels away. He then says, that’s how it will be in the second coming—one will be taken—one left behind. You darn right! I don’t want to be taken like the people in the days of Noah. I want to be left behind. Yet being left behind means I’ve got work to do—in-between the first Advent and the second Advent.
A few years back when working in the steel business, one day I was sitting at my desk just staring out the window, when my boss walked by and asked, “David why aren’t you working?” Without much thought I simply confessed to my boss, “Because I didn’t see you coming.”