Continuing his three-part series on what Jesus wants for Christmas, Pastor Neil admonishes us to always be prepared for when Christ will return. Here are some excerpts:
Today I want to look at what Jesus wants for Christmas from a different angle, through the lens of this parable Jesus tells in Matthew 25 about 10 virgins who are part of a wedding party. I prefer to call them “bridesmaids.” I think it better reflects our cultural language. Jesus calls them “virgins,” which they were. More generally, though, we can think of them as unmarried girls or young women (we don’t know how old they may have been) who have been given the honor of accompanying the bride and her groom to their wedding feast..
The main purpose of the parable, and the reason Jesus told this story, is to show that it is pointless to predict when Jesus will return (Douglas S. O’Donnell, Matthew: All Authority in Heaven and on Earth, 729). It is pointless to predict when Jesus will return. This parable, along with the parables in Matthew 24, teach that “Jesus will return later than expected, sooner than expected, and at a time unexpected.” This truth ought to put an end to our speculation and guesswork about the second coming of Jesus once and for all. On at least two occasions, Jesus made it crystal clear that only God the Father knows the when of His second coming.
…And yet, as has been the case throughout the whole history of the Christian church, people today still try to figure it all out and predict when it will happen. We’ve talked about some of those failed predictions before. The fact of the matter, as a pastor named Douglas O’Donnell says, is that “we have been given neither the authority nor the ability to decipher the timing of Christ’s coming” (O’Donnell, 729).
That Jesus is coming again we affirm with our whole hearts and minds and conviction. When Jesus is coming again remains a mystery. Part of the purpose of Advent is to remind us that Jesus is coming again, even as we remember and celebrate His first coming into the world at Christmas. Advent serves to remind us of the promised coming again of Jesus in glory, so that, whenever He comes, He will not catch us unprepared, like the five foolish bridesmaids who ran out of oil and discovered, when they had gone out and gotten more oil for their lamps, that it was too late to be admitted to the party…
…Are you prepared? R U? What step(s) do you need to take to be ready when Jesus comes? Or when your days on earth come to an end? If there is something you need to do, do it today. If you’re not sure what you need to do, talk to me or to someone in our church family whose spiritual judgment you know and trust.
What does Jesus want for Christmas? He wants you to be ready for His coming again. Because He. Is. Coming. Again…