As we enter into a season of advent, we celebrate the arrival of the promised Messiah. 700 years prior to the birth of Jesus, Isaiah prophesied the coming of One who would bring justice, hope, and love:
“Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, and a branch from his roots will bear fruit. The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and strength, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. And He will delight in the fear of the Lord, and He will not judge by what His eyes see, nor make a decision by what His ears hear; but with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, and faithfulness the belt about His waist” (Isaiah 11:1-5).
Simeon, a righteous and devout man, anticipated the fulfillment of God’s promise as it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the promised Messiah. Filled by the Spirit, he entered the temple, took the infant child born of the virgin Mary in his arms and said:
“Now Lord, You are releasing Your bond-servant to depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a Light of revelation to the Gentiles,and the glory of Your people Israel” (Luke 2:29-32).
The Savior had come! The first advent was fulfilled! But there is more, for with His first coming, God entered into our suffering, bearing the sins of the world, though He Himself was sinless, in order that He might bring us back to God. Jesus, the promised Messiah, the Christ, was born, lived a sinless life, was crucified and suffered the wrath of God, three days later rose from the grave, conquered sin and death, and after appearing to the disciples over a period of 40 days, ascended into heaven. Jesus, King of kings, had established His kingdom… at least in part. Isaiah painted a beautiful picture of this kingdom to come:
And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea.
Then in that day the nations will resort to the root of Jesse, who will stand as a signal for the peoples; and His resting place will be glorious” (Isaiah 11:6-10).
The King had come, but the kingdom was not fully established, at least not yet. Thus, we wait… we expect… we anticipate the return of Christ… we cry out for the Second Advent:
“Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him” (Hebrews 9:28).
For with the return of Christ, His kingdom will be fully established! His children will be transformed into conformity with the body of His glory, and His kingdom will fully come:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away’” (Revelation 21:1-4)
Written by James Tealy and Henry Seeley. ©2013 Centricity Music Publishing / ASCAP and Centricity Songs / BMI
Before the mountains could lift their heads
Before the stars drew their first deep breath
Before the ocean embraced the golden shore
Jesus, You were there as the world was born
Incarnate God emptied out for us
You took on flesh and were clothed in love
Just a touch from Your hand restored our sight
Jesus, at Your voice we were brought to life
O Lamb of God pierced to make us whole
The weight of sin was a crushing load
A man of suffering who knew our deepest hurts
Jesus, such a gift we could never earn
Exalted now, Savior, you will reign
With Saints and angels to shout Your name
The hallelujahs we sing will never end
Jesus, we can’t wait till You come again
Jesus, we can’t wait till You come again
Oh, the beauty of your face
Just a glimpse and we are changed
Drawn by love and wrecked by grace
Come Lord Jesus take Your Place