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Advent 1 #Maranatha

December 1, 2018

snoopy advent

So why have I chosen my Advent reflections to be on Matthew 28:19-20

‘Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’

The clue is in the last four words!

Advent is not so much about Christmas but about preparing for the ‘end of the age’. For the Jews they understood that this age of frustration, defeat, sin, sickness will end when the messiah comes. For Christians although the Messiah came that first Christmas they believe that the end of the age will come when Jesus returns.  Matthew has already alluded to and linked these in his very Jewish gospel. (Matthew 13v39; 24:3). So during this period of preparation for Christmas, the Christian at advent hopes for and prepares for the second coming of Jesus. An advent that will bring in a new age when the kingdom of this world will become the kingdom of Jesus. In this Kingdom it will be as if all our Christmases will come as one. There will be a face to face encounter with Jesus. There will be a reunion with all those who have loved Jesus. There will be gifts galore for all those who have served Jesus. There will be the end of injustice, sin, sickness and pain. Death and grief will be no more and all tears that we have shed will be wiped away so we can finally live in freedom and joy.

Therefore this Advent ‘look up’ Jesus is coming and as that most favourite of Christmas songs (that I have already heard on the radio twice today) says let’s ‘look to the future’. And as disciples of Jesus we remind ourselves and put our faith in His promise to return again. Not this time unexpectedly and quietly but personally, publically and powerfully.

But the question this advent is how do we prepare for his second coming. And this is where this verse comes in and why I have chosen it as an advent verse. We do so by making sure we will be welcome into the new age by being baptized and that we are obeying the commands of Jesus so we will not be ashamed. We also are those who help others prepare for his second coming by going to everyone with the gospel, baptizing and teaching them. So this advent let us make sure we are prepared and also help others be ready!

The early church seen in 1 Corinthians 16:22 and the Aramaic of some of the last words in the NT had a blessing they would share as they met each other. In Aramaic it was Maranatha – Come Lord. It was a blessing and prayer of hope for Jesus to come. It was also a challenge to be ready and make others ready.

How about reinstating this greeting for this Advent period.


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