Advent 8, ‘generous in time’; the last in 2019 series/ waiting; patience; The Saviour comes- Hallelujah !!

24 Dec

Advent 8, ‘generous in time’; the last in 2019 series/ waiting; patience; The Saviour comes- Hallelujah !!

Christmas is about the fulfilment of time: past, presents and futures all come together in a moment of time. Waiting, comes to end at Advent’s last week, Christmas. But this waiting began with the prophet,

3 “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the Lord Almighty.

From the last words of the Old Testament Malachi to Jesus’ coming birth, there is a space of 400 or so years. And this birth takes place in the small and seemingly, insignificant hometown of David, Bethlehem. Few notice this coming. And those who do, in the main, are as insignificant as the town: they are shepherds in a field. So, Israelites still wait. And for whom?

Israelites wait for a saviour, a Messiah; a King and warrior; a prophet priest. They wait for Him to come; to fight and to speak. They wait for salvation. And then…

In addition to the 400 years, they need to wait another 30 years for the baby and child from Bethlehem to grow into Jesus the man.

And then Jesus comes. He comes to all.

In His three messenger years, He teaches and heals; He is baptised and walks through Judea; He forms disciples and friends. He lives among us.

And then, in a death moment, three dear friends of Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus, have to wait in their Bethany home for Jesus to come…

John 11

17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two mile from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.

21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”

23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”

24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.”

25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there.

32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.

“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.

35 Jesus wept.

Jesus comes to Mary and Martha to weep; He weeps for His friend’s Lazarus’ death. And he is ‘deeply moved in spirit and angry.’ (33)

This phrase in the Greek means angry. Jesus weeps in deep passion; He is troubled and emotionally vulnerable; He is angry at death.

In this spiritual state Jesus shows us the meanings of people’s waiting and patience; of their tears and troubles. Of their sufferings. In this time of His last miracle before His own death, Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead. He ends deaths; resurrection begins.

The time of Messiah waiting, the times of tears at deaths, is over. Advent, the four weeks of meditative patience, of lengthening darknesses, of great expectations is over. Light comes.

The warrior king priest comes and conquers death. Forgiveness is given all by Jesus at His cross. He is borne to die; borne to conquer; borne to wash us in love, as our friend.

Jesus’ birth can only be understood in this light: the light of Lazarus’ and then His own bodily resurrection.

Jesus’s birth is His gift of resurrection for all. He is light, the light of the , our, world.

And to reverse the words of a Tom Hanks character in the film ‘Saving Private Ryan’; we don’t have to earn this.

Jesus, did.

He did by His birth and walk; by His life and resurrection. He earned, by His love and His forgiveness, our gift of eternal life with Him. He is our jewel; our desire. He is our gift.

Walk, sing, love and live in, by, His steps these days, this season. This moment.

Sing Hallelujahs as this young woman on the streets of Leeds,

Sing, for, because He first sang, loved us.

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