WEEK 3 -FOUNDATION STONES FOR CHRISTMAS
King’s Cross Ministries has prepared 3 special devotional studies for this Advent Season – 1 for each week leading up to Christmas. Each devotional study is based on an aspect of our Foundation Stones course.
“And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”
Hebrews 9: 27, 28 is by no means a traditional Christmas passage, yet it forms the foundation for our final Christmas devotion for 2021 precisely because it relates the first coming of Christ (Christmas) with the second coming of Christ. The first coming has to do with history. The second coming has to do with a future that none of has yet experienced – but that is nevertheless completely sure.
Today’s Scripture reading links the Cornerstone to the Stone of Eternal Judgment in our Foundation Stone course.
The two entrances of Christ into our world (the incarnation and the return to judge) share some commonality. Both have Jesus as the central figure. Both see Jesus accompanied by angels. Both even have the presence of shepherds. Shepherds who kept watch over their sheep were amongst the first to hear the news about the incarnation – and at the second coming, there will be pastors and shepherds too who have been watching over the human flocks of Christ.
But there are also tremendous differences. At first he came as a helpless baby. Then he shall come as the glorious One, shining brighter than the sun. At first he was housed in a manger. But later, even the highest heavens shall not be able to contain him. At first a few shepherds and some astronomers from the East bowed before him. In future, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.
Jesus Christ is going to come back and when it happens, absolutely everyone will know about it. It will be an extraordinary, unprecedented moment in history - very different to his first arrival as a helpless baby. The Bible gives us some clues about what this Return will look like, although it doesn’t say when it will happen. In Matthew it is recorded how Jesus told his closest followers, that all nations ‘…will see the Son of Man (Jesus) coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect (Christian believers)….’
In the book of Acts, an angel told Jesus’ followers, ‘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’.
At the moment, Jesus, is sitting at the right hand of God in heaven, awaiting his return. He will not come to Earth the second time to save sinners from their sin – in fact, this period of grace, in which people can repent of their sin and receive the saving work of Christ – will end the moment the Return happens.
So, as you prepare yourself for Christmas this year – choosing gifts, planning menus, organising get-together’s with family – spend some time this week preparing yourself also for the return of Christ. How?
Be sure and rejoice every day for what awaits you
"Don't be troubled. You trust God, now trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's home, and I am going to prepare a place for you. If this were not so, I would tell you plainly. When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am." John 14:1-4
Accept the uncertainty and don’t lose hope
“Now concerning that day or hour no one knows—neither the angels in heaven nor the Son—but only the Father. Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming” Mark 13: 32, 33
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ..” Titus 2: 11-13
Encourage yourself and others when things get tough
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call