Advent Devotion for December 3
Candle Lighter says: “Then everyone will see the Son of Man…”
Response: “…coming on the clouds with great power and glory.”
SCRIPTURE: Mark 13:24-37
24 “At that time, after the anguish of those days,
the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
25 the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
26 Then everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And he will send out his angels to gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
28 “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 29 In the same way, when you see all these things taking place, you can know that his return is very near, right at the door. 30 I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
34 “The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35 You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36 Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37 I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”
SOME THOUGHTS: The popular thought in regard to the season of Advent is that it is about preparing for the birth of Jesus. However, after reading the Advent passage above, you find that it says nothing about the nativity. The thematic beginning of Advent historically focuses upon the return of the Lord and the end of time as we know it. There are two prophetic passages in chapter thirteen. Many scholars hold that the first half of the chapter refers to the Roman’s destruction of the Temple in 70 AD. In this latter portion of Mark’s gospel, Jesus addresses what many commentators believe is His return at the end of time. In fact, Jesus harkens back to the book of Daniel in which Daniel uses the phrase “Son of Man” in referring to the Messiah coming to set up His eternal kingdom. In talking with His disciples, Jesus uses the title in referring to himself. In His words, “everyone will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with great power and glory,” the very phrases in Daniel. There has been criticism by some cynics of Jesus’ prophetic words, “this generation will not pass from the scene before all these things take place.” The criticism has been that Jesus did not tell the truth because the disciples all died before His return. Such thinking is to entirely miss the context and understanding of the word “generation.” First of all, the generation of the disciples did witness the destruction of the Temple. On a larger scope, “generation” can refer to the existence of the Jewish people, the whole of the human race, or it may refer to the generation of people who are alive when Jesus returns. At the core of this passage is the great truth that Jesus’ words will never disappear. That Jesus will return is certain, absolute. As we read, only the Father knows when that will be. Advent is about being ready for that end of the world moment. It will most certainly happen. Never get too lost in the moment of this day that we lose sight of the biggest picture. Everything you see today is temporary, but you are immortal. God made sure of that.
MUSIC: O Come, O Come Emmanuel by Anna Hawkins (very creative setting, v.2 in Hebrew) (YouTube)
PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ, in a world fascinated with “the end of time,” grant that we, your children, may never lose sight of the reality of your return. You will most certainly come to judge a world that has largely rejected your rule. We are surrounded by souls living in a parched and barren desert, unaware of your coming Kingdom. May we ever live with a confident expectancy of your coming reign holding this life with a keen awareness of the closeness of eternity. These things we pray through Jesus Christ, our Emmanuel. Amen.