First Sunday of Advent
Reading I: Jer 33:14-16
II: 1 Thes 3:12-4:2
25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
26 men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28 Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
34 "But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare;
35 for it will come upon all who dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
36 But watch at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of man."
This year of Luke begins with his version of the discourse on final days. The discourse consists of three main sections:
- First section, 21:10-11, describes the end signs and tell us what to expect.
- Center section, 21:20-23, the fate of Jerusalem.
- Last section, 21:25-26, again describes the end signs and tell us what to do.
During this period of teaching, Jesus spent the larger portion of His time in the temple. Jesus knew that His death was near so He taught all that was most urgent and critical for us to know. Precious gifts from a "dying man."
The coming of the Day of the Lord was to be preceded by cosmic and natural events. Jesus warned us of His coming back, with the implication that He was the fulfillment of the Son of Man. Thus, the Day of the Lord is simultaneous with the coming back of the Son of Man.
The end signs are universal, all of creation will be involved. This disproves false claims that a single catastrophe is an end sign.
(v.28) "Your redemption is near": This verse bursts with a message of confidence and hope for disciples. In contrast to the cowardly actions of other man and woman (V.26-27), faithful disciples stand erect with heads held high, without fear and shame, to greet their faithful judge, Jesus, Son of Man.
(v.34) Since about 95 percent of the population of Palestine at the time were poor peasants, this kind of warning would be directed to the wealthy who had both the leisure and opportunity to carouse, got drunk and be consumed by "worldly cares."
One Main Point
Jesus will come again in glory. That should not cause fear but bring joy over our redemption.
Have I prepared myself for the day the Lord comes? What do I have to do to be strong when He comes?
Putting myself in the days that extraordinary events are happening, what actions will I take and what feelings will I have? Am I ready? Have I completely entrusted all things according to God's will?
Have I placed complete faith in God when life presents obstacles on my path?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community