Summary: An Advent Sermon
1st Sun. in Advent
"Between two Comings !!"
A time of celebration is at hand. Yes, a time of celebration is at hand, a new year begins today!! But wait you say, Pastor, this isn’t January 1st, it is November 25th. Ah, true it is, but just the same, a new year begins today. The new church year begins today. Today begins the 1st Sun. in Advent and the season of Advent begins the church year. You will notice something else new this morning, new paraments on the altar, pulpit and lectern. They are blue in color, because BLUE is the color of Advent. Blue is the color of HOPE and Advent is the season of HOPE, WAITING, ANTICIPATION and LONGING.
We HOPE, WAIT, ANTICIPATE, and LONG for the coming of the Messiah, the righteous one of God. Our gospel lesson is a parable told by Jesus which shows very clearly the WAITING, HOPING, LONGING and ANTICIPATION of this season.
Jesus begins with a statement of HOPING, WAITING, WATCHING, LONGING and ANTICIPATION, He says: "Take heed, watch, for you do not know when the time will come." He tells us to be watchful, He tells us to be waiting, He tells us to be hopeful, He tells us to be anticipating His return. Then He proceeds to tell the disciples a parable about HOPING, WAITING, WATCHING, LONGING and ANTICIPATION.
This is a short parable, but one which is filled with many truths. This is an allegorical parable meaning each part means something. Follow along with your insert. The man is Jesus and His journey is the ascension, His servants are the church, you and I who are members of the body of Christ and He commands the doorkeeper to be on watch. The doorkeeper is a difficult term, but it could mean those who are in charge have a responsibility to keep the house in order until the master returns.
Then He gives this warning: "Watch therefore--for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the morning--lest he come suddenly and find you asleep."
Sleep is a symbolic word for a state of unpreparedness. It means one is indifferent and unconcerned. This parable was preached to the disciples before Jesus ascended into heaven as a warning of His return and description of the work of His church while they await His coming.
Notice in these words a fore-shadowing of coming events in the Passion of Jesus.
Pastor Thomas Long in his book Shepherds and Bathrobes says on page 13: "The master could come "in the evening," and in the very next chapter, Mark tells us that "when it was evening" Jesus ate his last meal with the disciples, and tells them, "one of you will betray me." Or the master could come "at midnight," and Mark records that, later that night, the disciples went with Jesus to Gethsemane. While Jesus prayed his cry of anguish, the disciples, no doubt weary of waiting, slept. "Could you not watch one hour?" Jesus said to them. Perhaps the master will come "at cockcrow," and Peter turned to the accusing maid with a curse and a denial, "I do not know this man." The cock crowed. Maybe the coming of the master will be "in the morning," and "as soon as it was morning," Jesus was bound and led away to his trail and to his death."
Maybe Jesus was warning the disciples His coming was not so far in the future, but it would be in the next days. His coming as the Messiah would be revealed for all to see, and they flat out missed it.
What about us?? Is our vision better than those of the disciples??? How do we see and read scripture concerning His return? The message of His return is found throughout the New Testament as it says : In Acts 1:11, "This same Jesus who was taken up from you into heaven shall return in like manner."
In John 14: 3, Jesus says: "I go to prepare a place for you, and when I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and take you to myself that where I am you may be also."
He is coming again in that we can be sure, but when that is remains a mystery for in Matthew 24:44 He says: "Always be ready because I am coming at an hour you do not expect." or in Matthew 24:36 He says: "Of that hour and that day no one knows, only the Father in heaven."
Jesus is coming again, and what about our vision?? Are we waiting for His coming only at the end of time or at the end of our time?? Or, do we sense He comes now, in many surprising ways?? He comes as a Babe born in a manger again this year as we relive that experience. He comes as a peasant carpenter as throughout the new church year as we relive Jesus’ life. He comes as gifts the wise men brought at Epiphany as He comes when we give gifts of kindness, love and compassion. He comes on a cross as we during Lent relive His passion. He comes in an empty tomb as we relive His resurrection during Easter. He comes as we see tongues as of fire on the head of the disciples during Pentecost. He comes in bread and wine as He prepares a table for us today. He comes in word as we throughout this church year hear his word from Mark. He comes through His church, through us as we become "little Christs" one to another. He comes in many mysterious and wondrous ways, as He comes and comes and comes.