Be Prepared for Jesus’ Coming
These are the readings for the First Sunday in Advent.
God’s Word for This Week
“Advent” comes from the Latin word for “coming” or “arrival.” In today’s Bible readings, Jesus urges us to be ready for his coming. It could be at any time. It will bring far greater destruction than when the Lord leveled Sodom. What a difference that outlook makes in our prayers! How much we long to see our Lord and experience fully the freedom he bought for us with his blood.
Traditional First Lesson – Jeremiah 33:14-16
Who is the “righteous Branch” that will sprout from David’s line?
In Jeremiah 23:5-6, the righteous Branch is referring to Jesus and his saving presence on this earth. He is the King who has descended from King David’s line. It is possible here that this same title is being given to the Christian church that grows out of a connection to Jesus.
Who will be called “the LORD our righteousness”?
Although this sounds so similar to the Jeremiah 23 passage, here the Church (Judah and Jerusalem) will receive the same name as Jesus. We will not only be labeled with his perfect righteousness because it covers them but will also be the place other people can find his righteousness through the gospel proclamation. (Is this evident in our purpose?)
Supplemental First Lesson – Genesis 19:15-17, 23-29
How did Lot and his family feel about leaving Sodom? How can you tell?
Lot and his family hesitated to leave Sodom. Not only did the angels have to urge them to leave, they even had to grab the hands of everyone in the family to lead them safely out of the city.
In what ways does this story warn us about the end of the world?
This story warns us not to be so consumed with the things of this world that we can hardly bear to leave them. It warns us that God is dead serious about fiery judgment.
Traditional Second Lesson – 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13
What does Paul ask the Lord to do within the Thessalonian congregation?
Paul has already mentioned how the gospel produced among the Thessalonian Christians great evidence of faith, hope, and love (1:3, 3:6). Now Paul prays for more: he not only asks for their inner life to become stronger but that it also will overflow its love on everyone who will come in touch with them. (Do people recognize this happening in you? Your congregation?)
What is Paul’s underlying concern as he prays?
Paul’s concern is that the Thessalonians’ faith is alive and well and that they will be ready to join the holy ones when Christ reappears. (Is this your priority?)
Traditional Gospel – Luke 21:25-36
What will it be like right as Jesus reappears at the end of time?
When Jesus reappears, it will terrify people. There will be disturbing signs in the sky, earth, and sea. These will cause many to faint from fear as the heavenly bodies are shaken. (Does the world expect this? Do you?)
How will God’s people react when Jesus returns visibly? (See especially 21:28.)
When God’s people see Jesus coming in his power and glory, they will stand secure, knowing this is the great time when Jesus completes his purpose for us and brings us into his eternal kingdom of freedom. (Is this exciting for you? Do you long for this?)
Because of this, what should our daily lives be like now? (See especially 21:34-36.)
Because Jesus could reappear any day, there is no room for us to be distracted with the anxieties or attractions of this world. We should always be focused and ready to stand before Jesus when he returns.