As the Church of Christ, we find ourselves positioned between two great victories. Behind us is the victory of our Lord who died upon the cross and was raised again. That moment of human history spelled the end of the power of sin and death. Now we await the second victory, the final liberation of the world from sin, evil and death at the re-appearing of our Savior when He comes again at the end of the age. We are in a period of waiting and expectation, with the promise that the One for whom we wait will not disappoint us.
However, Jesus warns us that the interim period would not be easy. As the day of salvation approaches, he warns, there will be greater conflicts and outpouring of evil among people and natural disasters in the earth. These are the signs that should alert us to the fact that we live in a world that is in need of redemption. Jesus says, “When these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because redemption is drawing near” (Luke 21:28).
Look up! Raise your heads! That runs counter to the advice of the world and our own natural instincts. When things start flying all around us, as one Biblical scholar put it, the inclination is to duck, retreat, and keep your head down. Instead Jesus calls us to stand up, raise our heads, and be out in front. Why? Because as things get worse, and the need for a Savior becomes more obvious, it becomes all the clearer to those who believe that God will act to save His people. Simultaneously we stand to make bold witness that the Christ for whom we await brings redemption, salvation from all that threatens us. To lift up our heads is an act of faith and witness to the promises of God that await us and which have been assured to us in the first victory of our Lord at the cross and the empty tomb. In a year of covid struggle and isolation; with tragic hurricanes, wildfires, and erupting volcanos; terroristic acts and random shootings; a country that’s politicized in all things, now is the time for us to strike a posture of courage and hope. It’s not a time for us to take a low profile. With the worship themes of these last Sundays in the church year past and our entering the time of Advent in the new church year we hear God’s call to renew our expectation and hope in the return of our Lord, and to stand up boldly to call the world to look to Him for salvation! May we boldly share the forgiveness and strength that only Jesus can bring!
Maranatha! “Come Lord Jesus!” In His love, Pastor Craig