Advent 11 (2012)–Expecting Messiah

Luke 1:31 You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

His kingdom “will never end” is the fifth Christological reference in just two verses.  To Mary and to the faithful Jews of her day, these five descriptors could mean only one thing: Messiah.  It harkens back to King David.

Your house and your kingdom will endure forever before me; your throne will be established forever.’ (2 Samuel 7:16)

But Mary was not an uninformed woman when it came to the promises of God.  Underscoring all the truths about God and His mercy, the Messianic expectation was that His kingdom will never end.  This idea is affirmed in many places in Scripture, but one of the most dramatic depictions can be found in the writings of the prophet Daniel.

Daniel 7:13 “In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence. 14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

Mary–and faithful Jews like her–were all looking forward to the Advent of Messiah in a single dimension–a single point in time.   They were looking forward to the kingdom that will never end, but still living in a world limited by death; a world still infused with the full curse of sin; and a world in which humans were like sheep going astray.  Our patterns of life involved following our own ways, worshiping our own gods resembling our self-interests, and too often handcrafting our actions with pride as the motivating influence.

What these faithful Jews of the first century lacked in perspective cannot be blamed on anything other than needing fuller understanding of the ways and Word of God and how it all required the Cross.  Sin had to be dealt with and it’s why Messiah came—period.  Those like Mary were looking for Messiah, but they didn’t stop to fully consider that an eternal kingdom filled with sinful people would be more like hell than heaven.

This is why Messiah’s Advent must be telescoped to a beginning in which sin would be dealt a death-blow, and a Second Advent, a return of Christ to usher in a kingdom that was finally free from the stain of sin, exhibits God’s mercy and love, and focuses all worship on God alone.  Messiah had to be different than just one man born as any other man.  The mystery of how and why God would send His Son in this way was surprising and shocking.

The faithful Jews of Mary’s day were expecting Messiah. 

They just didn’t expect Him to arrive in the way He did.

We, on the other side of the Incarnation, look for the return of Christ–His Second Advent–with the same eager anticipation.  He will come with the clouds of heaven to gather His faithful followers of all ages to join Him in this eternal kingdom: the kingdom that will never be destroyed.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 11, 2012

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