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Friday, November 30, 2018

“The One Who is Coming”

Mal. 3:1-4

Martin Luther changed the order of the books of the Old Testament so that the last book would be Malachi.  All Protestant Bibles since then have followed his example.  The reason for this change is that Luther believed that Malachi was the best introduction to the New Testament.

Luther saw in the promise of sending a messenger a prophetic statement about John the Baptist.  John is the voice (Isa. 40:3) that announces the coming of the Lord.  All of the Old Testament points to this coming.

Jesus coming into the world changes everything.  Jesus is the Word of God in human form (John 1:14).  His coming challenges all the presuppositions and expectations that we have.  Ironically those who are most challenged are the religious leaders. Jesus’ truth challenges all other truths.  Jesus’ coming is sudden.  It is not what is expected.  It frightens both Herod who rejects Christ and the shepherds who worship him.

Our world starts preparing for Christmas practically after Labor Day.  It’s one thing to prepare for a big festival.  It’s another to prepare for the coming of the Lord.  The fact that Jesus will be born of a virgin in a stable already questions all the expectations we would have for someone of great importance, not to mention the Son of God.

To prepare for the coming of the Lord means more than going shopping on Black Friday.  It means examining ourselves.  What are our priorities, our goals?  How are we worshiping God?  Do we show love for our neighbor?

We cannot delay in carrying out the Lord’s will.  We all face distractions and pressures.  These too easily are excuses.  There is no time to waste.  The Lord who came is coming again.  We need to be prepared.

Faithful and gracious God may I prepare myself for the fact of your coming which can occur in many ways leading up to your final appearing.  Refine me and fit me for your service.  Give me joy in obedience.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.