Friday, December 01, 2017

Two Advents

Fig tree coming into leaf (Image: Pixabay)
TODAY’S SPECIAL: Mark 13:24-37

TO CHEW ON: “Now learn this parable from the fig tree; When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So also , when you see these things happening, know that it (Son of Man’s coming - Mark 13:26) is near—at the door.” Mark 13:28,29.

Today is the first day of Advent. I’m participating with others on my friend’s Advent blog again this year. In the next 24 days, as we count down to Christmas, we’ll be noting milestones in Jesus’ story—a Jesse Tree Advent Calendar. (Jesse Tree because Jesse was the father of David, from whose kingly line Jesus came - 1 Samuel 16:1-13; Isaiah 11:1-10).

Today’s icon is “leaves.” So what a lovely surprise to find leaves in our Bible Society reading—the leaves of a budding fig tree, those leaves signalling that Jesus’ second coming is near.

Again (as we’ve seen in other accounts of His second coming predictions) Jesus’ emphasizes several things to us expectant ones here on earth.

- No one knows the exact time of that coming, only the Father.
A little aside: This reminds me of the ancient Jewish wedding custom where the groom’s father made the final decision of when all was ready and the groom could go fetch his bride. This wedding custom in connection with Jesus’ return, recalls the gorgeous wedding symbolism around that event (Revelation 19:7-10)

- The big word is WATCH.
  • Watch and pray - Mark 13:33.
  • Watch and work - Mark 13:34.
  • Watch all the time (so you’re not caught napping) - Mark 13:35,36.

- Finally, even the parable snippet Jesus uses fits with Christmas. That “man” who went far away is like Jesus who traveled a great distance for us by first leaving heaven for earth at His first coming, then leaving earth for heaven at His ascension.

As we watch the leaves unfold in looking back at Jesus’ story, let’s also remember to look ahead and watch for the leaves on our end-of-time fig tree, signalling Jesus’ soon second coming.

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for making that long journey and more, for bridging the gap between our sinful selves and Father God for me when You came and showed us the Father, then paid the sacrifice my sins deserved by dying for us. Help me to faithfully WATCH for Your second coming. Amen.

MORE: Toward Christmas

If you’d like to follow the unfolding of Jesus’ Jesse’ Tree story with us, my friend Laurel’s Advent Calendar blog is HERE.

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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