Summary: As we look forward to Christmas, let us consider the seasons and the signs of His return!
Knowing the Season, Luke 21:25-36
Christina and I spent a season of ministry in Cheboygan Michigan. Prior to coming here to First Congregational Church of Peru, Illinois, I was Pastor of First Congregational Church of Cheboygan, Michigan. Congregational Christians of that era were remarkably uncreative with the names of churches, weren’t they! They were sure to let everybody know who the first one was however! When I first arrived to the far northern reaches of civilization in Cheboygan I was surprised to learn just how short was the summer season and how long the winter season was! Early in my time there, I said just that to a member of the Church who rightly informed me that there are just two seasons in Northern Michigan; winter and July! Our stay in that part of the country bore that out to be true!
It is important to know the season isn’t it? For those involved in agriculture the truth of this statement is all too familiar. If one plants too late or harvest too early, a crop may be gained or lost. In our lives, it is important to recognize the appropriateness of the seasons.
When we are young and full of vigor and raise families it is imperative that we recognize the value of those days. Our children are only young once. When we are in our middle years, it is crucial that we make wise choices to prepared, for example, for the days when we will be retired.
When we are old, it is again, I would suggest, important to recognize that these are days we shall not get back; it is a wondrous joy to live at all seasons in our lives full in the recognition that today is the gift if God and I cannot relive it. We should live every day as in the full value of what it is; a precious jewel!
So it is with the seasons of God’s unfolding plan in redemptive history. That is, God is not only the God of Heaven, but the God of earth. He is not only a God who moved in antiquity, but a God has ahs shaped history.
My mentor, through what he wrote and preached and the manner in which he did it, Charles Haddon Spurgeon once wrote about Christ with regard to His central and chief role in the unfolding of human history:
“Christ is the great central fact in the world’s history. To him everything looks forward or backward. All the lines of history converge upon him. All the great purposes of God culminate in him. The greatest and most momentous fact which the history of the world records is the fact of his birth.”
The birth of Christ is the pinnacle of human history. All who stood before it looked with an intrinsic hope for salvation, which whether by name or only a distant nameless nagging of the soul, unto the birth and work of Christ!
All who have come since look back at the birth of Christ as the defining moment of human history, though those who have not yet experienced the power of that birth may not yet know it as the defining moment in their personal history; to whom I suggest only an echo of the words of the Apostle Paul as they are found in I Timothy 2:5, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
In today’s Scripture Jesus is telling His disciples, indeed us, what to look for at the time of His return. The disciples are standing at or near the Temple. They are looking at the Temple, and a little bit earlier in this chapter the disciples are said to be remarkable about the beauty and adornment of the Temple.
Jesus tells prophesies at this point the destruction of the Temple. He says that not one stone of the Temple will be left standing. This occurred when Titus forces sacked Jerusalem during the Jewish-Roman wars and destroyed the Temple.
There are some specific things that Jesus says to be on the watch for with regard to His return, His second advent, that time when the Lion of Judah, who had previously come as a lamb in a manger shall come in the fullness of His glory to destroy sin, war, all of the ugliness of this world, and to establish His reign of peace upon this earth.
Often we speak in the Church in terms of the blessed hope of Heaven, and this is a great promise of the Scriptures, that the end of life in this body is not the end of life. O, but the more blessed assurance of the Scriptures to this preacher’s heart is the beautiful assurance that one day He shall return to this earth to restore it to its intended glory; the state of perfection that it once enjoyed.