Incarnation Part 3December 21, 2018
Philippians 2 reminds us that after His humiliation, Jesus experiences exultation. “God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
God promises that one day, in the context of human history, every knee of every human being will bow to the incarnate God, Jesus the Christ. Maybe not today, but God promises that one day it will be so. Just as the Jews in the days of John the Baptist were awaiting the advent of a Messiah, Jesus promises His disciples that He is coming again. Another advent is yet on the horizon of human history.
“Ready or not, here I come” is the joyous proclamation of the One who seeks those hidden in a game of Hide-and-Seek. So too, the eternal One who came to seek and to save the lost is coming again whether we are ready or not. Acknowledging that only God the Father knows the day and time (Matthew 24:36), Jesus counseled His followers to not be afraid, not be deceived, and to stay alert and keep watch (Matthew 24:42, 25:13).
This watching is active, hopeful and motivating. Upon His ascension into Heaven the disciples were simply standing, gazing in the direction Jesus had ascended. The angel confronted them and got them going on the mission of bearing witness to Christ. As we wait, expectantly, we also live the abundant life Jesus died to give us. This is an active, moment-by-moment life of discipleship. The disciples of Jesus are to actively yield to the ongoing work of the Holy Spirit, growing in grace, producing good fruit, serving as faithful stewards and sharing the good news. The fact that we do not and cannot know the day nor the time is a significant motivation for Christian evangelism, recognizing that today might be the last opportunity to share with those we encounter the good news of the grace of God in Jesus Christ the Lord.
The second coming of Christ is not a re-Incarnation. The second person of the Trinity, the only Son of God, the same Jesus who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary, the same God-Man who died to atone for our sins and was raised from death in carne, the self-same Jesus who ascended bodily into heaven, is coming again. Same Incarnation, same Christ, different advent.
The Greek word for the second coming is parousia. Read Matthew 24-25 and Revelation 22:12-17 to begin cultivating a Biblical understanding of Jesus’ promise to come again. The second coming is about reconciling accounts (aka: judgment) and the advent of the Kingdom of God in its fullness upon the earth. For this the Church prays “Maranatha!” come, Lord Jesus. And all God’s people said, “Amen.”
Ponder these things:
- Are you living with an honest and watchful expectation of Christ’s return? If not, why not? If so, how so?
- Read and discuss Matthew 25. What feelings, thoughts, insights or responses are provoked by Jesus’ words in this chapter?
- Are you hopeful or fearful about the prospect of Jesus’ return? Why? (Make your answer to this question the subject of prayer and close with Maranatha!)