Revelation 22:7a, 12a, 20b - Jesus boldly proclaims three times: "Behold, I am coming soon." ... "Behold, I am coming soon." ... "Surely, I am coming soon." This is followed by the author's deep reply, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus."
This devotion pairs with this weekend's Lutheran Hour sermon, which can be found at LHM.org.
It can be hard to be hopeful about the future, especially in today's world. The headlines are filled with turmoil and uncertainty. News agencies and social media platforms constantly presenting fresh tragedies and traumas from around the world. And while I would like to think that it's simply a matter of consuming less media, studies have found that a person's ability to have hope in a better tomorrow is complex. Factors such as socioeconomic status, education, family history, mental health—all of these things play a role in determining if a person looks to the future with a sense of expectant joy or paralyzing uncertainty. And we as Christians, we're not immune to the complexities of life nor the uncertainty those complexities bring.
You see, regardless of one's faith, it's difficult not knowing how every situation will turn out in the end. And while it's true that we as Christians don't know the outcome of every situation life can bring our way, there is one thing that we can be sure of, and that is how it will end. For we have hope, hope in the promise that Jesus will return and that when He does, the fullness of the life He has won for us will begin. The dead will be raised. The new heavens and earth will emerge, and our home with God will be revealed. And this hope is not based on a rumor or wish. No. Jesus Himself has assured us that once He has prepared a place for us in His Father's house, that He will return.
In fact, Jesus' final words in the book of Revelation are about this very thing. After all that's happened, the creation, the fall, the promise of redemption, the waiting for a Savior, Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, the birth and ministry of the early church, all capped off with the book of Revelation's panorama of salvation history and Jesus Himself saying, "Hold on, I'll be right back."
You see, Jesus hasn't forgotten us, nor has He abandoned us to the uncertainties of life. For His advent is approaching, His return is imminent. And though we do not know when that day will come, we are called to live with vigilance, to live as children of the light. We are called to wait with patience, keeping our eyes fixed on the horizon, expectantly watching for the return of our King, embodying the values of God's kingdom, extending grace, living with integrity and standing firm in the faith, even amidst life's uncertainties and trials.
Now that Thanksgiving and the Christmas season are just around the corner, I don't think it's too early to leave you with a selection from my favorite Advent hymn: "Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus," a beautiful hymn which perfectly captures our thankfulness for the salvation Jesus has won for us and our confidence that one day He will return.
This is how it begins: "Come, thou long expected Jesus, born to set Thy people free. From our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee. Israel's strength and consolation, hope of all the earth Thou art; dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart."
While it is true that it can be hard to be hopeful about the future, and that the headlines are filled with turmoil and uncertainty, our hearts are filled with something, Someone, very different. It's the joy of Jesus and the certainty in His promised return to which we cling.
WE PRAY: And we pray, come Lord Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Rev. Dr. Tony Cook.
1. It's hard to escape the pull of social media. How do you sensibly manage it?
2. Jesus said He was coming soon. How soon do you think He meant when He said that?
3. Do you find peace in knowing Jesus will be returning at any time? Or do you hope He holds off long enough for you to accomplish all the things you want to do? (I know, tough question, right?)
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