The First Sunday of Advent – Luke 21:25-36
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Today we begin the season of Advent. Advent means ‘coming’. We spend the four Sundays and weeks before Christmas preparing and remembering the true meaning of Christmas. You may use an Advent calendar to focus yourselves on what it means, remembering the birth of baby Jesus and expecting Jesus’ coming, so Advent brings us hope. Especially during this week, we focus on the word Hope, hope that Christ will come again in glory, hope that everything that’s wrong with this world will be done. Which means, besides all the decorations, gifts, cookies, all the holiday brightness, there is enough reason for us to celebrate and be joyful. We have hope that the word and promise of our God stands forever. That’s the hope that Jesus shares with us in our gospel reading this morning. But reading today’s scripture, does it sound hopeful as we begin the season of Hope, Joy, peace and love?
Actually today’s scripture has its beginning in Jesus’ prediction that the temple will be destroyed (vv. 5-6) and the disciples’ question, “Teacher, so when will these things be? What is the sign that these things are about to happen?” (v. 7). Jesus responds by telling of wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes, and plagues (vv. 9-11), the arrest of Christians (vv. 12-19), and the destruction of Jerusalem (vv. 20-
24). And in today’s scripture, he says, “On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.” What is he describing? The stars come unhinged, the sun fails, the oceans are drained, the entirety of the created order is upheaved. The very foundations of the earth are shaken. He is talking about signs of chaos. Is he threatening us? Then, he says “When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near”. When these earth-shattering signs, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And that is our hope. And that is what Jesus tells us. Jesus is coming back. Jesus will return to bring his people home, giving us his victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil forever.