“ In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.” — John 14:2-3
Wreath Directions: Light all three purple candles.
Read Aloud: 2 Peter 3:3-4, 8-9; Titus 2:11-14; John 14:1-3
Suggested Carol: Joy to the World
One of the great things about Advent is its dual remembrance. Not only does it count down the days until Christmas, remembering the incarnation of Jesus Christ, but it also casts a forward look at His imminent return. Our hope as Christians, I dare say, rests more in Jesus’ return than in His first coming (though that first coming set up a return). We have been saved. The work of the cross is done. Now we wait for our Savior to come back for His church and set up His earthly kingdom (Titus 2:11-14).
So our hope is forward-looking. Already in Peter’s day (this was written later in his life) there were people who thought Jesus had either already returned or wasn’t coming back. Peter calls them “mockers” who may have been from outside the church. They knew of the Christian belief that Jesus would return but with each generational death and many gray hairs, they doubted the validity of that belief.
But Peter offers an explanation for the passing days, one that has been repeated throughout the centuries. The Lord doesn’t count time like we count time. He is not bound by time, for He dwells in eternity. And from His eternal perspective, a heavenly “day” could be a thousand earth years. If this is true, then it has been almost two whole days since Jesus left! That’s not long at all. And the reason God has chosen to wait so long is because of His mercy and love. Could He have cut off this mercy at any time He chose? Sure.
But you and I are beneficiaries of God’s patience. Many wonderful things and wonderful people have popped up through the centuries because of this patience. But one day that patience will run out (figuratively speaking) and the Father will send His Son back to claim His church and take us with Him to heaven.
This is our hope. And, as I’ve said in other devotions, God does not break His word. If He said he’s coming back, and He did, then He will. It’s just a matter of time. In verse 11 and following, Peter offers us an application for this hope of Christ’s return. He says, “Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.”
Are you living in the knowledge that the King will return any day? Are you doing your best to live in godliness and be found holy for that day? Or are you living with the mindset that Christ won’t return in your lifetime — that you’d better get the most out of this life before you die and go to heaven? You know how you should be, considering the hope of Jesus’ return. Let us all be better at following that knowledge.
This week’s prayer is:
“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for the hope of salvation that we have in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You for His atoning blood, shed on the cross for our sins, and that through His resurrection we might have life in His name. We thank You for the hope found in His first coming and we grab hold of the hope of His return. It is in His holy name we pray. Amen.”