The world was lost and without hope, the darkness pervasive. The prophets of old had long been silent. The fervent hope for the promised Messiah, the One who would come to redeem Israel, the One who would set all things right, had dwindled long ago. Of course, the teachers of Israel knew what was written about the Promised One. They studied the law and prophets diligently. Yet, so many silent centuries later, they were more about ritual than hope. Every day, they would follow the routines set forth by previous generations, not really believing that one was to come to save them.
We see this in the man, Zechariah, one of the temple priests. He certainly knew the stories of old. He knew about Abraham, and as a Jew, would hold him in high esteem. He knew that Abraham was promised a child in his old age, yet when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and promised him a child, he said simply, “How shall I know this because I am old?” Zechariah knew the Scriptures and believed them, but he did not really believe them for himself. Gabriel, the angel of the Lord, basically says to him, “I stand in God’s presence and He Himself told me this. Because you don’t believe it, you will be silent and be amazed by Him!” (Luke 1:5-23). Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth were among the first to see and believe God was breaking into the darkness.
Just over a year later, the Light broke into the darkness. In a small town, with her fiancée at her side, a young girl gave birth to Jesus. God in the flesh. The Word eternal, breaking into human history, to rescue His own. He was “the true light, which gives light to everyone” come into human history (John 1:9).
Sadly, his own people did not receive him (John 1:11). They knew the word, but did they believe it? Did they believe the prophets, who foretold God rescuing his people? Many had lost their hope of a Redeemer, believing God was no longer invested in His people. Many were so dedicated to learning about God that they missed God, come in the flesh. Many had their own ideas about who the Messiah would be and to their estimation, Jesus wasn’t him. Many were so busy going about their lives that they did not slow down enough to know that the Rescuer had come.
God did send His son Jesus, delivered in the flesh by a young girl, to save the world. His birthday divides human history. A.D. stands for anno domini-the year of our Lord. Just like the Messiah was prophesied in the Old Testament, so has His return been foretold and that will also be a time of a great divide in human history.
Though it has been 2000 years, do not lose hope in Christ’s return—He is still invested in His people. He is still in control.
Do not become so dedicated to studying theology that you miss the beautiful fact that God will return to rescue His own.
Do not assume that God does not exist or that He is just one of many ways to salvation. He is the only way and He will return again, in the flesh to save those who have put their faith in Him, and Him alone.
Do not become so busy that you fail to marvel at God’s intense love for you.
Just as He came once, He is coming again. Maybe not today, maybe not this year, but he will return--just as He promised--and He will make all things new.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:1-4 ESV)