Summary: We say we want Jesus to come - but when we see the whole picture, do we really?
“Questions of Christmas: Do you Really Want God to Come?”
Mark 1:1-8; 2 Pt. 3:8-15
Many liturgical prayers end with the phrase “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” One of our communion prayers ends the same way. Even the book of Revelation (22:20) ends with “He who testifies to these things says, ‘Yes, I am coming soon.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.” And why shouldn’t we long for His coming? A new heaven, a new earth, no more sin, no more pain, no more death, no more tears, no more sorrow…it certainly sounds good to me. Come, Lord Jesus.
This desire, the prayer, is nothing new. The Old Testament ends with the prophecy of Malachi. (4:2-6): “But for you who fear my name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in his wings. And you will go free, leaping with joy like calves let out to pasture. On the day when I act, you will tread upon the wicked as if they were dust under your feet,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies… “Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hear
ts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.” So for 400 years God’s people lived with the expectation of God coming and breaking in again.
I say ‘again’ because GOD HAS A HISTORY OF BREAKING IN. And every time he comes down and breaks in it’s a new beginning. THROUGHOUT THE OLD TESTAMENT WE SEE GOD BREAKING IN WITH NEW BEGINNINGS. The Bible begins with the words, “In the beginning, God…” Then God judged the world with a flood, but after the flood of judgment God began again with just Noah and his family. Then, after He judged the world for their attempt to build a tower in Babel that would reach the heavens, God provided another new beginning (Gen 12): “The LORD had said to Abram, "Leave your country, your people and your father's household and go to the land I will show you. "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you." God was saying to Abraham “There is a better world and better life out there. Go to it.” When God breaks in, things will not be the same. Life will be better. To travel with God is to go to a better place.
And so it continued. God fulfilled His promise to Abraham and formed a people, Israel. He then came down and broke in again – through a series of plagues and disasters – to free them from slavery by opening up the Sea so they could escape the enemy – by providing them manna every day for 40 years – by leading them with a cloud and a pillar of fire. Then, with Joshua as their leader, God moved His nation in to a Promised Land full of provision and blessing. It was a new beginning. In the centuries that followed He sent them prophets to teach them, Judges to deliver them, and Kings to rule them. With each prophet, judge, and king it was a new beginning.
It’s no wonder, then, that MARK BEGAN HIS GOSPEL WITH THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF A NEW BEGINNING. “The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” “Jesus” – the name comes from the common Hebrew name Joshua, which means ‘Jehovah salvation.’ But Mark makes it uncommon by adding “Christ” – ‘the anointed one.’ In other words, this Jesus is not common – He is the anointed one, chosen one, of God; He is the Messiah. Mark’s announcement was exciting, cause for anticipation and joy, because it communicated that something new and different had broken into his readers lives because God had come down and broken in through Jesus Christ.
And Jesus’ continually provided people with new beginnings. He drove out evil spirits, healed all who came to him, cured lepers, ended paralysis, gave sight to the blind, calmed stormy seas, raised the dead, and fed large crowds with a few loaves and fish. He even claimed that He had come to give His life as a ransom for many. What an awesome God; what an awesome Savior! Whenever and wherever God comes down and breaks in there are new beginnings. Why shouldn’t we long for His coming? Even so, come, Lord Jesus!
Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Really? Are we sure? Perhaps we should look at the rest of the story; let’s be sure the picture is complete. The truth is GOD’S BREAKING IN HAS CONSEQUENCES. There are two for us to consider this morning. First, God’s coming is sometimes DISTURBING AND UNCOMFORTABLE. God did provide a new beginning with Abraham. But Abraham had to pull up roots, leave his home and family, and go to a place he had never been. That’s uncomfortable. God did provide a new beginning through Noah. But Noah had to endure the ridicule of neighbors and countrymen as he labored to build the ark and had to live with the death of all his friends and neighbors; only his family survived. Certainly uncomfortable. God broke into Jeremiah’s life and called him to be a prophet. But his life was filled with rejection and opposition – he wound up writing a book we call Lamentations. That’s disturbing. God came down to Mary and told her she would give birth to His Son. But she was young – and a virgin. She faced the scorn and condemnation of her townspeople as all she could offer in her defense was “My baby came straight from God.” Mighty uncomfortable.