Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas - Already and Not Yet ...

On this the (approximately) 2010th anniversary of the first coming of the Messiah Jesus into human history, we should take a moment to remember that the work which He began at the first Christmas, and finished at the Cross of Calvary will be fully revealed when He appears for the second time.

When He appeared the first time, He was not recognized.  Although He was God's Son and the anointed King He chose to empty Himself of His glory and to be born in the squalor of a borrowed stable; to live a life in obscurity and poverty; and to be put to a criminal's death on a Roman cross by those who had more faith in Caesar's rule than in God's.

When Jesus appeared for the first time it was not for the purpose of judging the world but for the purpose of providing sacrifice for sin, for calling men on the basis of that sacrifice to be reconciled to God, and to henceforth live their lives as subjects of the hidden Kingdom of God.

But, when Jesus appears for the second time, there will be no doubt of His identity.  And His purpose then will be to bring to an end all of the existing human governments and to replace them with the no-longer-hidden Kingdom of God.  The revolution which began at the first Christmas will be complete when we sing "The kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our God and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever."

This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the Savior, let us not forget that Jesus is the Present and Future King, and that the Kingdom of God, currently hidden, will one day be revealed along with its King.

May we, like Anna and Simeon at His first appearance, be prepared and waiting for His second!