He’s coming

Sunday 3rd December 2023

“Look, I am coming soon!” …
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”  And let the one who hears say, “Come!” …
He who testifies to these things says, “Yes I am coming soon.”
Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Revelation 22:12, 17, 20 (NIV)

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

He’s coming
“You mean he’s coming back?”  I can still remember the excitement in one of our children’s voices (although I cannot remember which child!) when they understood for the first time that Jesus will return one day.  I shared the excitement of their discovery, and at the same time I was embarrassed that they had failed to learn this from me earlier.  I had clearly failed in my parenting.

The thing is, we should be excited by the thought of Jesus’ return, and not only when we first discover the fact.  The Bible ends with a sense of excited anticipation, with the Lord Jesus promising, “Look, I am coming soon!” and his people praying, “Amen.  Come Lord Jesus”  (Revelation 22:12, 20), encouraging us to live with that same longing.

Advent, which is the four weeks leading up to Christmas, is the time in the Christian year when we particularly look forward to the Lord’s return.  Sadly, it can often be lost in the busyness of getting ready for Christmas.  Even as Christians, we can be so caught up with celebrating the first coming of Jesus that we can almost forget that he is coming again.

Thomas Cranmer’s Collect for Advent Sunday, which is meant to be prayed every day of Advent, will not let us separate the two comings of the Lord Jesus:

Almighty God, give us grace, that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, (in the which thy son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility;) that in the last day when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal, through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost now and ever.  Amen.

That Jesus Christ “came to visit us in great humility” and will “come again in his glorious majesty” is as brief and brilliant a summary of his two comings, connecting them together, as you are likely to find.

Not only does the collect connect the beginning and the end of Christ’s ministry here on earth, it also connects the beginning and the end of our lives: “this mortal life” and “the life immortal.”  As Barbee and Zahl say in their book The Collects of Thomas Cranmer, “The point of this first prayer devised by Cranmer for the Christian year is that our present life is the incubator for our future and enduring life.  And every moment of this life is accompanied by Him who visited the planet in great humility.”

Amen.  Come, Lord Jesus.

Yours warmly, in Christ,
Chris Hobbs (Senior Minister)