Between two Worlds!
What would happen if, together this morning, we made the commitment to: Slow down. Wait patiently. Pray expectantly.
Is it possible that we might find a new perspective?
Is it possible that we might find a rekindled or new love for Jesus?
Is it possible that we might find a God longing to meet with us in the midst of our very own suffering, trials and struggles?
Is it possible that we might find and experience Jesus in ways previously unimagined or expected?
Our text this morning is
When is Christmas? (now keep this question in the back of your mind for a few moments.
This has to be one of my favorite times of the year.
Childhood memories, season, etc.
When is Christmas? (signs? stores, decorations, etc.)
Christmas has become a season of consumption.
What is Advent?
It is the beginning of the ‘church year’
As Christians, while we certainly live in a culture that follows a ‘calendar’, our lives are not governed by the cultural calendar.
As one scholar puts it, “Advent is a penitential season of denial and self-examination rather than of accumulation, consumption, and self-indulgence”
This is certainly counter cultural and may even seem strange considering how we often think about and experience Christmas. But many people do not have to look too far to identify with ‘suffering’ during the holidays.
I was also recently reminded of the reality of this time of year. The presence of suffering, heartache and pain. I have a brother who died during this time of year.
Mark begins verse 24 with the words “In those days, after the suffering...”
It is good for us to remember that comes after and before . Why is this important? Because ends with Jesus and the disciples leaving the temple and begins with the words, “It was two days before the Passover...”
So as we consider our text this morning, let’s take a closer look at
Just as it is important for us to remember where falls, it is important to note why Jesus is speaking and what he is addressing. He is responding to a question from Peter, James, John and Andrew regarding the timing of the destruction of the temple.
Jesus tells three stories:
The coming of the Son of Man
The Lesson of the Fig Tree
The necessity for watchfulness
In regard to the ‘coming of the son of man’ - as N.T. Wright states - this is good first-century metaphorical language for two things: the defeat of the enemies of the true people of god, and the vindication of the true people themselves.
The Fig Tree is interesting because while it indicates a state of readiness and awareness, it identifies a season. The Fig Tree bloomed later than other trees present in and around Jerusalem.
The need for watchfulness - with all the effort of those who try to ‘read the signs’ and predict the future, the text clearly states that day or hour no one knows.
What does all of this mean?
It means we are living between two worlds.
The already and not yet.
What would happen if we began coming to church, began to live expecting to see Jesus?