By Rev. Dr. Sergio Arevalo, Jr.
November 30, 2014 (First Sunday of Advent)
Today is the first Sunday of Advent. The start of our celebration for the birth of the Son of Man. If you have a son whom you don’t see for long time and then he visits you, what would be your reaction?
In You Tube I watched the reaction of the two parents who were surprised by their sons’ homecoming: (1) In the first video, his son was a military, and he just came home from the tour of duty. The father was busy that day since he had meeting with two business associates, but the son knocked at the door. When the father opened the door he was surprised because the one knocking was his military son. The father cried for joy, and he hugged his son very tightly. People around them was so happy to see them hugging for joy.
(2) The second video happened last year (2013) when her son told him that he could not come home for Christmas. So it’s okay for her since he was on tour of duty. She just called him on his phone and they talked over the phone. Then suddenly the box moved the gift box beside the Christmas tree. Her son appeared surprisingly! The mother screamed for joy to see her son!
What a joy on the part of the parents to see, and receive their sons coming home! That’s also the joy when we see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.
Some Christians are afraid of his second coming. It should not be! We should be joyful in that event and we should not afraid of it even an iota!
I. The End Time Shall Come With Power and Glory
Mark 13:24-27 says, “But after the suffering of those days, ‘The sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of heaven will be shaken loose.’ Then people will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. He will send out his angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.”
The scenario in verses 24-27 shows the tribulation and suffering on earth, but like in the movie the protagonist shall be coming with his power and glory, and he shall gather and protect his people. In these verses we should emphasize the joy of his second coming rather than the challenges and tribulations before his second coming.
II.The End Time Has Signs and is Certain
Mark 13:28-31 says, “Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches become tender and it produces leaves, you know that summer is near. In the same way, when you see these things taking place, you will know that the Son of Man is near, right at the door. I tell you with certainty, this generation will not disappear until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.”
Jesus gave the signs of his second coming, not only through the nature, but they are printed in our Scriptures. In Matthew 24:3ff, Jesus Christ gave signs of his second coming: false Messiah, wars, battles, famines, earthquakes, birth pangs, sufferings, betrayal of Jesus, false prophets, increase of lawlessness, love of many will grow cold, etc.
Therefore, as Christians we believe that his second coming will be happening soon.
III. The End Time Challenges Us to be Careful and Alert
Mark 13:32-37 says, “No one knows when that day or hour will come—not the angels in heaven, not the Son, but only the Father. Be careful! Watch out! Because you don’t know when the time will come. It’s like a man who went on a trip. As he left home, he put his servants in charge, each with his own work, and he ordered the doorkeeper to be alert. So keep on watching, because you don’t know when the master of the house is coming—whether in the evening, at three o’clock in the morning, or at dawn. Otherwise, he may come suddenly and find you asleep. I’m telling you what I’m telling everyone: Be alert!”
In verses 32-37, Jesus encourages and challenges us to do three things: be careful, watch out and be alert. It’s because nobody knows when he would be coming, nobody knows the time and day, only the Father knows that.
Being careful, watchful and alert means our faith must be always on guard. Our faith must be always alive. Our faith must be always burning like candles!
During his 1960 presidential campaign, John F. Kennedy often closed his speeches with the story of Colonel Abraham Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives:
Quelling a clamor for immediate adjournment, Davenport rose and said, “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. Therefore, I wish that candles be brought.”
Rather than fearing what is to come, we are to be faithful till Christ returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we’re to be lights as we watch and wait (Harry Heintz).