Eternal Perspectives: Are You Prepared for "Suddenly Jesus"?
Jesus’ first coming, in Bethlehem as a babe, came with suddenness for the shepherds. Will His second coming be as sudden?
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
Sudden developments often bring on anxiety or fear, sometimes causing us to panic. Especially when we least expect it or are immersed in our everyday tasks.
Imagine, during the night when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, how it was for the shepherds who quietly remained on duty during their mundane job of watching sheep. Suddenly, without any warning, an angel appeared from nowhere to tell them the good news of Jesus' birth. How frightful! But their fear must have been eclipsed by awe, wonderment, and joy when "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)
The word suddenly can mean something abrupt and unpleasant if one is unprepared. Suddenness can be good, however, if an event is not only prepared for but anticipated. Though the angel startled the shepherds, they likely had been anticipating the birth of the Savior for generations back, as they had learned the prophecies given in the Old Testament.
There are many "suddenlies" in the Bible. At Pentecost, "Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came…." (Acts 2:2) When Paul was converted on his way to Damascus, a sudden light came from heaven. On a missionary journey, as Paul and Silas sat in prison praying and singing hymns, a sudden, violent earthquake shook all the prison doors open and loosened everyone's chains. During Jesus' transfiguration, Elijah and Moses suddenly disappeared.
The Old Testament records that Jesus' second coming will be sudden—in an instant. Those of us who are ready can anticipate His sudden return. Are you ready for His instant return? Perhaps you do not believe Jesus is the Son of God who was sent to earth to save you from your sins. Perhaps, instead of choosing Him as your Savior and Lord, you want to put things in order first, thinking another day/week/year won’t matter. Or maybe you aren’t willing to change your life to obey God's will. If you fit one of those categories, the suddenness of God's return will be a fearful time.
As we look forward to Christmas, may we prepare not only to celebrate the birth of Jesus but also to consider His sudden return.
Lord, cause us to prepare our hearts for Your coming, both now as we celebrate Your holy birth and at Your next appearance. You've told us about both events in Your Word, help us take them seriously. In Jesus' name, amen.