Summary: A sermon for the first Sunday in Advnet Lectinary series B Waiting for Christ to come
First Sunday In Advent
HOPE, WAITING, ANTICIPATION and LONGING.
24 ¶ "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,
25 and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
27 And then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.
28 ¶ "From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near.
29 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.
30 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.
31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
32 "But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
33 Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come.
34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.
35 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--
36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.
37 And what I say to you I say to all: Watch."RSV
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ.
We are going to dwell on the short parable in today’s gospel lesson, verses 33 to 37.
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 December 1st. Ah, true it is, but just the same, a new year begins today. The new church year begins today. Today begins the 1st Sunday 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.
Jesus tells the disciples and us as he says, "it is like" which means the second coming is like a man going on a journey, and that man puts his servants in charge of the house and tells each one to do their duty. Those who care for the house are suppose to be vigilant in their duties, and he commands the doorkeeper to keep watch day and night so that the door may be opened for the master when he 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 trial and to his death."