Summary: In this lesson, we look at Christ's arrival for his first and second advents.
In his best-selling book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey contrasts the humility that characterized Jesus’ royal visit to planet earth with the prestigious image associated with world rulers today:
In London, looking toward the auditorium’s royal box where the queen and her family sat, I caught glimpses of the…way rulers stride through the world: with bodyguards, and a trumpet fanfare and a flourish of bright clothes and flashing jewelry.
Queen Elizabeth II had recently visited the United States, and reporters delighted in spelling out the logistics involved: her four thousand pounds of luggage included two outfits for every occasion, a mourning outfit in case someone died, forty pints of plasma, and white kid-leather toilet seat covers. She brought along her own hairdresser, two valets, and a host of other attendants. A brief visit of royalty to a foreign country can easily cost twenty million dollars.
In meek contrast, God’s visit to earth took place in an animal shelter with no attendants present and nowhere to lay the newborn king but a feed trough. Indeed, the event that divided history, and even our calendars, into two parts may have had more animal than human witnesses. A mule could have stepped on him.
This Season of Advent we have been exploring the advents of Christ in a sermon series called, “The Advents of Christ.”
So far, we have examined “Christ’s Entrance,” “Christ’s Timing,” and “Christ’s Appearance.” Tonight, I would like to look briefly at “Christ’s Arrival.” His first advent was announced (Luke 2:10-14). But, when he comes the second time, he will come unannounced, as a thief (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
In tonight’s lesson, I want to look at Christ’s arrival for his first and second advents.
Let’s use the following outline:
1. Christ’s Arrival for His First Advent
2. Christ’s Arrival for His Second Advent
I. Christ’s Arrival for His First Advent
First, let’s look at Christ’s arrival for his first advent.
In our Lessons and Carols Service this evening, we read about the angels appearing to the shepherds. Let me read to you again what the angel said to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-14:
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
This is just one of several announcements of Christ’s first advent. The angel told Mary that she was going to become pregnant with God’s Son. The angel told Joseph that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. And here the angel announced to the shepherds that Christ was born. He had arrived for his first advent.
Christ’s first advent was announced to many.
II. Christ’s Arrival for His Second Advent
Second, let’s look at Christ’s arrival for his second advent.
Author Doug Mendenhall shares a brief parable that should cause all of us to pause and reflect:
Jesus called the other day to say he was passing through and [wondered if] he could spend a day or two with us.
I said, “Sure. Love to see you. When will you hit town?”
I mean, it’s Jesus, you know, and it’s not every day you get the chance to visit with him. It’s not like it’s your in-laws and you have to stop and decide whether the advantages outweigh your having to move to the sleeper sofa.
That’s when Jesus told me he was actually at a convenience store out by the interstate.
I must have gotten that Bambi-in-headlights look because my wife hissed, “What is it? What’s wrong? Who is that?”
So I covered the receiver and told her Jesus was going to arrive in eight minutes, and she ran out of the room and started giving guidance to the kids—in that effective way that Marine drill instructors give guidance to recruits….
My mind was already racing with what needed to be done in the next eight—no seven—minutes so Jesus wouldn’t think we were reprobate loser slobs.
I turned off the TV in the den, which was blaring some weird scary movie I’d been half watching. But I could still hear screams from our bedroom, so I turned off the reality show it was tuned to. Plus, I turned off the kids’ set out on the sun porch, because I didn’t want to have to explain Jon & Kate Plus Eight to Jesus, either, six minutes from now.