THE PURPOSES OF ADVENT, Part Two

For the purpose of this miniseries, we determined that Jesus came to Earth for four reasons. The first two included (1) to destroy the Devil’s works, and (2) to take away sins. The third and fourth reasons for the Son of God coming in the flesh are (3) to reveal the Father and (4) to prepare for the Second Advent.

1. To reveal the Father, John 14:9

Dont you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say,Show us the Father?

By the time we get to John 14, Jesus’ end is near. He had been talking to His friends and three times He was interrupted. First by Thomas, who asked:

Lord, we dont know where you are going, so how can we know the way?(vs. 5)

While He was answering Thomas, Philip piped up and asked:

Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.(vs. 8)

Finally, Judas (the other one), butted in and asked:

But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?(vs. 22)

We have to admire our Lord’s patience with His “closest friends.” For three years these men walked with Jesus, talked with Jesus, were witnesses to multiplied miracles and still they were clueless about who this Man was.

But it was Philip’s question that really showed what these men wanted. They understood that somehow this Man Jesus had a unique relationship with God, and what these men really wanted to was see Yahweh—to have the same special relationship with Him that Jesus had. Jesus’ answer to Philip was so simple, it must have left the apostle speechless:

Dont you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. (vs. 9)

We get the impression that Jesus was mildly surprised that Philip hadn’t recognized Him for who He was. But then it’s not all that uncommon to miss God because we all approach the subject of “God the Father” with different preconceived notions that may or may not bear any resemblance to the reality of who He really is.

A lot of people today—Christians included—are like the Hebrews of the Old Testament, who had a highly intellectual concept of God because God had taught them all about Himself through His prophets and His Word. You can’t read the Old Testament without seeing the effort God went to to reveal Himself to His covenant people. From Genesis to Malachi we can see a kind of progressive revelation of God to the Hebrews. And yet, in spite of a growing head-knowledge of God, there was at the same time a corresponding moral decay in the people. Knowing facts about God is not what changes a life. It may change behavior for a while, but unless God is experienced at the heart level, a person will remain dedicated to serving themselves, not Him.

The profusion of religions and cults around Israel showed that man was always looking for something or someone to worship. Sin had so separated him from the true God that instead of seeking Him, man created gods in his image or in images that sprang from his imagination.

But all that changed with Advent, 2,000 years ago. Before He visited man in the flesh of man, in the person of His Son, God’s presence among His people was highly symbolic and sporadic. The fact is, before the coming of Christ, there was really no abiding presence of God on Earth or in His people. At various times throughout the Old Testament dispensation, the Spirit of God would come upon a person for a time to accomplish a special purpose. With the exception of King David, we have no record of God’s Spirit dwelling in anybody. God would manifest His presence in the form of clouds or smoke or in other supernatural manifestations. At the Advent, though, Jesus appeared to manifest God.

In answer to Philip’s question to to “see the Father,” Jesus’ response suggested that after three years, Philip had seen enough of Jesus to see the Father in Him. But, what exactly did Philip see in Jesus?

Philip was the very first man Jesus called to follow Him, though not the first one to actually follow our Lord. After Jesus asked Philip to follow Him, note what Philip did:

Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the one Moses wrote about in the Law, and about whom the prophets also wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45)

That was the first thing Philip saw in Jesus: here was the One who embodied all the ideals of Moses and the prophets.

Next, we see Jesus asking Philip a question about where to get some bread to feed a large group of hungry followers. We are told that our Lord asked him this question to “test Philip.” Philip’s answer showed that he considered it impossible to feel all the people:

Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” (John 6:7)

And yet right after that, we see Philip, along with the other apostles, sitting down with all those hungry people, waiting to be fed. Philip saw in Jesus One who was, in some unfathomable way, able to satisfy human hunger. He didn’t understand how it was possible, but that didn’t stop him from enjoying what Jesus was offering.

In John 12, we see Philip again. This time, a group of Greeks approached Philip wanting to see Jesus. Jesus’ response to Philip showed a perfect harmony between the Son and the Father:

Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27, 28)

This is what Philip saw and heard!

Finally, in John 14, Philip wanted to see the Father. How could Philip not see the Father in Jesus after all he had seen Jesus do and say? But he didn’t. He may have seen and heard, but what he saw and heard didn’t meant anything at the time. It wasn’t until after Pentecost that the light finally dawned upon Philip. It was then that Philip saw it all, and he knew that Jesus came to reveal the Father.

2. To prepare for a Second Advent, Hebrews 9:28

So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Here is the final reason Jesus came: He came to prepare for another coming. The first three reasons for Advent were all necessary in order that there could be a second Advent.

At Christmas time, the First Coming was greeting with joy and gladness.

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13, 14)

Certainly the angels were thrilled that the Son of God appeared in the flesh, and a handful of thoughtful men were excited, but then what? All that happiness and goodwill sort of faded away. Something was missing in the first Advent. Certainly the Messiah came, but what really changed in the world. Jesus came to end the Devil’s works, to take away sin, and to reveal the Father, but as we look at the world around us even today, we’d be hard-pressed to see any of that taking place. No, the First Advent really demands something more.

The writer to the Hebrews makes a startling assertion: Christ will appear a second time. This is not referring to some kind of mystical, spiritual coming into people’s hearts! We’re talking a literal, physical, visible appearing of Christ. This Second Coming is all over the Old Testament and the New Testament; it is an essential doctrine; it is the consummation of all things.

It is unfortunate that so many Christian fail to see the surety of the Second Coming, and among those who know it’s going to happen remain unmoved! When Christ ascended to Heaven, angels appeared to those who saw Him leave:

This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:11b)

There’s no doubt about it, men of Jerusalem! Jesus is going to come back, but not as He came the first time, but as He left. The angels cannot be wrong!  Jesus Christ is going to come back.

Paul cannot be wrong!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. (1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17)

This is the blessed hope of the Church! This great doctrine of the Second Advent is what gave the early Church its hope, motivation, and encouragement. It should still do that for us today. Imagine what the Church would look like if ever day she lifted her face toward the eastern sky in expectation that this day could be that day of days! Wouldn’t we take our faith much more seriously if we honestly believed that our Lord could appear at any moment?

James, the half-brother of our Lord can’t be wrong:

You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near. (James 5:8)

Peter wrote these encouraging words; he can’t be wrong:

Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. (1 Peter 1:13)

John, the apostle who was perhaps closest to Jesus, was he wrong when he wrote:

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when he appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

And Jude couldn’t have been wrong:

But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life. (Jude, vs 20, 21)

Every New Testament writer writes about a Second Advent. But the writer to Hebrews gives us the reason: to bring salvation to those waiting for Him. Before we deal with what that means, note that when Jesus comes the second time, it will NOT be to bear sin. The whole of the First Advent revolved around sin. Jesus came to deal with sin. His first Advent actually revealed sin. From the Slaughter of the Innocents to the His death on the Cross, the presence of Christ on earth brought sin into the light for all to see.

He not only shone the light on sin, but he bore sin, and not just on the Cross, but all through His life, Jesus bore sin. He bore its limitations while He was living and working as a Man. In poverty, sorrow, and loneliness, our Lord bore sin. Ultimately, of course, He bore sin all the way to the Cross, where He dealt with it once and for all.

At the First Advent, sin at its very root was dealt with, at His Second Advent all creation will celebrate the victory that sin has been crushed. Jesus Christ will not come in sorrow and sadness, but to bring everlasting joy. He won’t come in loneliness, but the saints of the ages will come with Him. We celebrate the First Advent, where there was no room at the Inn for Him. But at the Second Advent, the whole universe will have to make room for Him. The First Advent was for atonement. The Second Advent for administration, for Jesus Christ will come the second time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to establish an everlasting kingdom in righteousness and holiness.

At His Second Advent, there will be complete salvation for the believer—complete righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. The Second Advent will be a joyous occasion for those who know Christ. We are waiting, patiently, in the midst of earth’s struggle, which is really our struggle.  When Jesus comes, the conflict that persists within every believer will finally be over; we will be made whole in every way.  Heaven is waiting for the Second Advent. Hell is waiting for the Second Advent. Indeed, all creation is groaning in anticipation of the Second Advent.

He is coming! This Christmas Season, may the hope of the Second Advent fill your hearts. Today, we stand between the Advents. Our relation to the first determines our relation to the second. May Jesus Christ find room in your hearts today to prepare you for the day when He comes again.

(c)  2011 Witzend
Advertisements

0 Responses to “THE PURPOSES OF ADVENT, Part Two”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Bookmark and Share

Another great day!

Blog Stats

  • 186,482 hits

Never miss a new post again.

Archives

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 236 other followers

Follow revdocporter on Twitter

Who’d have guessed?

My Conservative Identity:

You are an Anti-government Gunslinger, also known as a libertarian conservative. You believe in smaller government, states’ rights, gun rights, and that, as Reagan once said, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”

Take the quiz at www.FightLiberals.com

Photobucket

%d bloggers like this: