The Advent of Christ: Then & Now-The Hope of the Savior (1 of 6)

What did the coming of the Savior mean to the Israelites? Moreover, what did the hope of the Savior mean? Isaiah had a lot to say about the coming Savior. Unfortunately, it proves only that you can study Scripture until you’re blue in the face…but you must know what they say. Looking back now, we can see obviously that Isaiah (among other) prophecies talk about the coming of the Savior and that they plainly spell out what happened. Unfortunately, the Israelites mistook what the Scriptures said…and it cost them dearly; especially the Pharisees.

We have two Scriptures for today, the first is from Isaiah 42:1-9. If you would, turn there and we’ll read this portion.

1 "This is My Servant; I strengthen Him,
[this is] My Chosen One; I delight in Him.
I have put My Spirit on Him;
He will bring justice to the nations.
2 He will not cry out or shout
or make His voice heard in the streets.

3 He will not break a bruised reed,
and He will not put out a smoldering wick;
He will faithfully bring justice.

4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged
until He has established justice on earth.
The islands will wait for His instruction."

5 This is what God the LORD says—
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
who gives breath to the people on it
and life to those who walk on it —

6 "I, the LORD, have called you
for a righteous [purpose],
and I will hold you by your hand.
I will keep you, and I make you
a covenant for the people
[and] a light to the nations,

7 in order to open blind eyes,
to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
[and] those sitting in darkness from the prison house.

8 I am Yahweh, that is My name;
I will not give My glory to another,
or my praise to idols.

9 The past events have indeed happened.
Now I declare new events;
I announce them to you before they occur."

The Israelites had a funny idea about the Savior. Even the Apostles in Matthew 20:20 had some ideas. James and John wanted to be on the right and left hand sides of Jesus when he took reign. There’s a problem with that. Jesus sits on the right hand side of the father; which means God is on Jesus’ left. But you have to understand that they didn’t know that. They actually thought that Christ’s reign was going to take place on Earth. They thought that he’d set up his kingdom like David or Solomon, with his royal subjects-his 12 disciples-at his side to reign over the Earth for all time. The words “his kingdom will have no end” they thought it was literally on Earth. What the Israelites saw when Christ claimed to be the Messiah was not the King they had in mind. It wasn’t what they were expecting.

There was a schoolteacher who was trying to persuade her class to buy copies of the class picture. “Just think,” she said, “how nice it will be to look at this picture when you’re grown up and say there’s Mary, she’s married, or that’s Harry, he’s a lawyer.” One of the little guys piped up and added rather innocently, “And there’s the teacher, she’s dead.” Oops…not quite what she was expecting.

The problem is, Jesus wasn’t the Savior they were expecting. Although He was anointed by God, he was chosen by God to install the covenant between God and his people, he was still rejected. Psalm 118:22 talks about this capstone that the builders rejected…it’s also quoted in Matthew, Mark, Luke and Acts. Christ was rejected, just as predicted and prophesied by the prophets of God. That was then. This is now.

What does it mean to have the hope of the Savior now? As we celebrate the Advent of Christ now, we are celebrating the wait for him to come 2000 years ago. But what we sometimes miss, is the fact that we are still expecting him today. No, not in the form of a baby, manger scene, or wise men; we are expecting him to return the way he left…on Mt. Olives, ascending. This time, he’ll be descending. What expectations do you have for his return? We can get caught up in the theological discussion of the end times, or the nickel preacher’s word, eschatology.

Really, that is what the hope of the Savior is about nowadays. It’s nothing more than the theory of how he is going to return and when. Let’s dig a little more into this hope idea. Romans 5:1-5.

1 Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Also through Him, we have obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, 4 endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. 5 This hope does not disappoint, because God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

How many times during your life have you had a trial, or affliction, and considered it a good thing; considered yourself lucky or rejoiced in it? We should. Paul says that affliction causes, endurance. Endurance is how we make it through the tough times, which produces proven character, therefore resulting in hope. The hope we have, comes from Jesus Christ. By faith we have in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit because of the Love of God, produced the sacrifice in Jesus that we can have the hope of eternal life; which does not disappoint.

So rejoice in the hope of the glory of the Lord! The difference between then and now is that Christ has already come to bring Salvation to the world. What we’re waiting on is his return to bring the glory of the Lord with him…judgment, peace and perfection await us. We anxiously await The Second Advent of Christ eagerly.

In the 1990’s large numbers of upscale professionals from big urban areas began moving out of the cities into the rural areas. As you can imagine, things were kinda haywire. Patrick O’Driscoll wrote in an article in USA Today “Your neighbor’s cattle may stink, you may have to haul your own trash to the dump. The mail carrier might not deliver daily, or perhaps not at all. Power or phone lines may not reach your property. The fire department or ambulance may not come quickly enough in an emergency. And, yes, your remote mountain road may not get plowed—or paved, for that matter.” Life in rural America is much different than the life in the city. Some of the city slickers that had moved out to the rural areas called to complain. One county commissioner named John Clarke of Larimer County, Colorado, got so many cranky calls that he finally decided to warn people who were planning to move to the country about the realities that awaited them. He wrote a thirteen-page booklet called, “The Code of the West: The Realities of Rural Living.” Some of his warnings went a little like this:

“Animals and their manure can cause objectionable odors. What else can we say?”

“If your road is gravel, it is highly unlikely that Larimer County will pave it in the foreseeable future…gravel roads generate dust…dust is still a fact of life for most rural residents.”

“The topography of the land can tell you where the water will go in case of a heavy precipitation. When property owners will in ravines, they have found that the water that drained through that ravine now drains through their house.”

Clarke’s motives in writing the booklet wasn’t to keep newcomers away. They just wanted people to know what to expect. We are all aware of the difference in the city to rural life. I sure am. I have lived in the boondocks and right downtown in the middle of Chicago. Sherri unfortunately, hadn’t lived in the country until now. She’s had a little adjustment period to go through to say the least.

What expectations about The Second Advent of Christ do you hold to? Are you sure you won’t be a little surprised when the Messiah comes again like the Pharisees were? Regardless of what opinion you hold, rejoice in the hope that he IS coming again. Every day is another day closer to the time when he will come again. Rejoice in the afflictions that produce endurance, proven character, and hope. Place your hope in Jesus Christ.


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