We are so excited to begin the journey of Advent with all of you! Today marks the first Sunday of Advent and the start of a four week season of waiting. To begin our community-wide study of Long-Expected Jesus, Deanna Hayden, contributing writer to Long-Expected Jesus and pastor at the Southwood Church of the Nazarene, will take a few moments to introduce week one’s theme, He is Coming. As you watch the video, reflect on the daily scripture passages, and read the Sunday devotional and weekly prayer, open your heart to this time of anticipation. Prepare yourself with the words, “Come, Lord Jesus.”
Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 13:24–37
Additional Scripture Readings: Isaiah 64:1–9; Psalm 80:1–7, 17–19; 1 Corinthians 1:3–9
COME, LORD JESUS
The science fair was one of the most anticipated days of the school year.
We had months to prepare. Parents were invited. Students from other grades were invited. There would be judges. The science fair was the culmination of months of hard work and planning. Our teacher had talked about the upcoming fair almost every single week for half the year. We were given guidelines, suggestions, instructions, due dates—everything we needed to prepare adequately.
On the day of the fair, I showed up with something I’d haphazardly thrown together the previous night, and I wasn’t fooling anyone who stopped to look at my presentation.
I had plants. No speech. No demonstration. No documented results from a months-long experiment observing and recording their reaction to different kinds of music or the different ways they grow. Not even a poster! Just: plants.
The reason my presentation at the science fair was underwhelming had nothing to do with my lack of knowledge surrounding the assignment, expectations, and deadlines. I had all the information, the resources, and the support I needed. I simply chose not to prepare.
In Mark 13, Jesus is trying to warn the disciples, both about what lies ahead and how they can best prepare for it. There will come a day when the Son of Man will return, and it will be incredible. The kicker? No one knows when.
Because we “do not know when that time will come” (Mark 13:33), Jesus encourages his listeners (and us today) to always be ready. We don’t prepare for the Lord’s return by trying to whip something together at the last minute the night before. Instead, we strive each and every single day, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength while at the same time striving to love our neighbors as ourselves. Is it always easy? Of course not. Will we fail along the way? Most definitely. But when we take seriously the call and commands of Jesus upon our lives, we posture ourselves in such a way where we can confidently say at any day or hour, “Come, Lord Jesus.”
For this weeks prayer, we encourage you to recite the words to the hymn, Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus.
Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us;
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art,
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all-sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
Due to the overwhelming response to Long-Expected Jesus, we have sold out of the devotional book, but the ebook is still available for purchase here.