Jesus Is Coming
Merry Christmas greetings all,
Ahhhh…It is the beginning of the advent season. Christmas time again, and while normally this is a season of anticipation, this year, I do not sense the normal feeling of excitement. I sense weariness, a feeling of exhaustion, for Harmony (the church I pastor), for our community, and for our country.
The lingering effects of Covid, an election year, re-emphasizing our lack of quality leadership, no statesmen or stateswomen anywhere, dismal economic news, and many of us caring for family members who have serious health concerns. No wonder we are all feeling a little blue.
Let me lift you up. Let me encourage you and your family today. Let me share with you some Good News.
Jesus is coming. That’s right, Jesus is coming. Gabriel is bringing the news, Luke 1:26-28,
“In the sixth month (a time reference to Elizabeth’s pregnancy carrying John the Baptist), God sent Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.’”
This greeting from Gabriel did not make any sense at all to Mary. She was probably 13 or 14 years old, pledged to a kind, hard-working carpenter, nothing special, definitely not wealthy. Highly favored? I’m sure Mary was thinking something along the lines of “How am I highly favored?”
Highly favored? Is anyone here feeling highly favored? In my opening, I just described how many of us, our family, friends, and neighbors are feeling. We’re all feeling blue.
But guess what? You all are highly favored. Why? Because Jesus is coming, that’s right, you heard me, Jesus is coming! Not convinced yet? OK, back to scripture, Luke 1:29-33,
“Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be (she was skeptical too). But the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 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, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.’”
Poor Mary, she’s probably thinking, “Yeah, right”. We can’t blame Mary for being skeptical. Many of us are skeptical too. She’s being confronted with a great deal of complicated and detailed information here. Son of the Most High, and a throne, what’s this all about? Isaiah 7:14,
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel (which means: God is with us).”
Gabriel said, “his kingdom will never end”. I’m sure Mary’s head is spinning. How can his kingdom never end? Let’s go to Revelation 11:15,
“The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign forever and ever.”
I told you, Jesus is coming! Are you beginning to believe me yet? Jesus is coming!
So we have Isaiah, prophesying 6-700 or so years earlier about this virgin with a baby. Then we have Gabriel, talking to this virgin about having a baby. We have an angel, way into the future, blowing a trumpet, and voices saying "he will reign forever and ever". But there is a problem, a big problem. Virgins do not have babies. And this problem is not lost on Mary. Luke 1:34-37,
“How will this be’, Mary asked the angel, ‘since I am a virgin?’ The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative, is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.”’
I like Mary’s response here. She realizes now that this is a God thing, out of her control. Luke 1:38,
“‘I am the Lord’s servant’, Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.’ Then the angel left.
Jesus is coming! You who are highly favored. Don’t be afraid. Jesus is coming. His kingdom will never end. For nothing is impossible with God.
We cannot help but to get caught up in the details of our lives. God knows this. We know that our goal is to be more like Jesus. But we like to forget that we are also called to be like Jesus as he was suffering for us. Sometime in our lives, we will all go through this suffering. Some of us have already been through it, some of us are going through it right now, and some of us will see it in the future, but we all will be tested. Jesus is always with us as we go through this suffering. He understands our suffering. Isaiah 53:4-6,
“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
I am saying this to you today: as a message from God.
You, who are highly favored, and this is all of you. Jesus is coming. Jesus is coming. Do not be afraid. No matter what you are going through, do not be afraid. Jesus is coming and he will be great and will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end. Jesus is coming. He came for the first time in a manger over two thousand years ago. He will come again, at the trumpet blast. Jesus is coming. For nothing is impossible for God. Nothing is impossible for God. Jesus is coming. Look to the eastern sky.
Do no harm, do good, and stay in love with God.
and Harmony UMC