Dear people waiting for Jesus to come: grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
“Come, Lord Jesus” we pray. But then, as we sung in our hymn, we must ask, “O Lord, how shall I meet You, how welcome You aright?” (LSB 334 st. 1) How can we be prepared to meet Jesus when He returns. When He returns, He comes to judge the nations. Why do we pray for the judge of the living and the dead to come? Perhaps we would be wiser to ask Him to hold off for a while. Perhaps if we had more time we could prepare ourselves for His arrival. Perhaps we could clean up our act a bit more and then welcome Him aright.
But alas, more time will not help us. More time gives us only more time to sin, more opportunities to fall into temptation, more opportunities to act selfishly. Time is no solution. More time gives no comfort. More time is no help. Perhaps, after all, we should pray, “Come, Lord Jesus.” But then we must ask what we expect of His second coming.
Of great help in understanding Jesus’ second coming, is His first coming. Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world (Jn. 3:17). As we sung:
Love caused Your incarnation; Love brought you down to me.
Your thirst for my salvation Procured my liberty.
Oh, love beyond all telling, That led You to embrace
In love, all love excelling, Our lost and fallen race (LSB 334 st. 4).
Jesus came in love to save us. He left the glory of heaven to be born a man. He took on our flesh to procure our liberty. Jesus saw our estate. He saw our sinful condition and came to save us.
Was it because we were ready for His coming? Were we prepared to receive Jesus when He came the first time? No, we were not ready for Jesus to come. From His birth to His death, we did not receive Him. We were not prepared. We rejected Him from His birth to His death. No room for Him in the inn when He was born, we rejected Him. We chose Barabbas over Jesus. We rejected Him. No room in our hearts. We rejected Him. We were slaves to sin and enemies of God. Nevertheless, Jesus did come. He came to accept us even though we rejected Him. He came to save us from our slavery to sin and give us freedom. Our hymn wonderfully words this also:
I lay in fetters groaning; You came to set me free.
I stood, my shame bemoaning; You came to honour me.
A glorious crown you give me, A treasure safe on high
That will not fail or leave me As earthly riches fly (st. 3).
Jesus came to set free all mankind, imprisoned by the fetters of sin. Despite the shame of our sin, Jesus came to honour us. This He did so that He can give us the crown of everlasting life. Jesus paid the debt of our sins and covered our shame and guilt, securing eternal life in heaven us. In spite of the fact that man was not ready or prepared in any way to meet Jesus, He came. But He came with forgiveness. He came to save us.
Yes, when Jesus returns, He comes to judge the nations. But He is a terror only to His foes. Those who prefer their iron fetters of immorality to freedom and their shackles of sin to liberty will receive the judgment they deserve. But we, the children of God, have nothing to fear. Our sins have been covered by the blood of Jesus. We stand before God as His forgiven children, so we will not get what our sins deserve. As His children, we can look forward to the return of Christ with great joy and hope. When Jesus returns, He returns to take us to be with Him in our eternal home. He comes to take us away from sin, sickness, and death. He comes to give us everlasting life. So, Amen! Come, Lord Jesus!
Will you be prepared to meet Him when He comes again? Not by your own preparations. But Jesus Himself has made you ready to meet Him. Your sins have been covered so now you have no need to fear His return.
Sin’s debt, that fearful burden, Cannot His love erase;
Your guilt the Lord will pardon And cover by His grace.
He comes, for you procuring, The peace of sins forgiven,
His children thus securing Eternal life in heaven.
Your sins cannot undo His love. The burden of your sins is erased by His love. Your guilt is pardoned and covered by God’s grace. You have peace with God through Jesus. Jesus has secured eternal life in heaven for you, His children. So you can love the Lord’s appearing. You can joyfully look forward to His coming, because He will guide you safely home. So Amen! Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
The peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.