Jesus is coming. Have you heard? Who told you? What does it mean? What should we do? Do we have to do anything? Is He really coming? Do you think it could be today?
The prophet Malachi tells us to “watch for this.” He says “the time is coming.” Zachariah is so happy to get his voice back that he breaks into song. His son has been chosen by God to proclaim the Good News that the Messiah is coming. His son, little baby John, is going to be the one who will be the one who is the “thunder in the desert” crying out from the wilderness. He’s one proud papa.
I wonder how he felt when his little boy came out of the wilderness and called the religious of the day “vipers.” John went to the wilderness and stayed there until God spoke to him, gave him the Message to proclaim to the people. His Message was that they had to get ready because the Messiah, Jesus, was coming. I don’t believe John knew then that his cousin, Jesus, was the One. He found out later but that didn’t deter him from coming out of the wilderness to the River Jordan, where the people were, to proclaim his Message of repentance, forgiveness, and baptism. Jesus, the Messiah, was coming, right there, right then. And they all needed to get things ready.
Luke named all these important people in history so that those who would be reading his gospel would have a reference point for John’s ministry. We can all understand that can’t we. When we begin to relate some story from our family history we usually begin by saying it was around the time when so and so was governor or so and so was president or such and such event happened around the same time.
The folks reading Luke’s gospel would know all these names and they’d say, “Oh yeah, I remember that.” John the Baptist is even referred to in the Qur’an as being the one who proclaimed God’s message about Jesus, the prophet. Historical references give us a point in time to fix our mind on.
With these words from the prophets saying that the Messiah was coming, I wonder were the people any better prepared than we are today. Friends, the Message for us today is Jesus is coming, here. Are we ready to receive the Savior? Are we prepared?
Do you want to know what I think? I don’t think we are. It’s just my opinion, but it doesn’t look to me like we are any more ready for the coming of Jesus than Israel or Judah were when John shouted his Message from the River Jordan.
You might be wondering why I think that. Look at the state of the world around us. There is war in Iraq and Afghanistan and it doesn’t look like its going to end any time soon. Do you hear a loud outcry from the churches that this is wrong? Is there a huge petition drive to provide food and water for those regions in the world where families are starving and/or dying because there is an inadequate food supply or clean water to drink? Do you hear people talking in the bakery or Aunt B’s about the genocide that’s occurring in Africa or Indonesia?
Are we really ready for Jesus? Are our hearts ready for Jesus to come again? Friends, Jesus is here whether we’re ready or not. Soon he will come in person and it will be too late to change. Now is the time to repent. Now is the time to lay it all out there and pray that God will forgive us. Today is the day we should make the commitment to change remembering John’s Message from the wilderness, “Prepare for God’s arrival.”
Everyday we let pass by without consciously making the commitment to change we risk not being ready. Jesus is coming, here!
Let’s change today so we can be forgiven. Open your heart today to God. Let his Spirit change you so that Zachariah’s words will come true…
“Through the heartfelt mercies of our God,
God's Sunrise will break in upon us,
Shining on those in the darkness,
those sitting in the shadow of death,
Then showing us the way, one foot at a time,
down the path of peace.”
How many more days do you think we have until he comes? I don’t think we should take any chances. I believe we need to change today. Jesus is coming. Here! Thanks be to God. Amen.