S-1223 3MIA/3A 12/15/10 Hymns (O) #68; (S) #370; (C) #376
Text: Jeremiah 29:10-14; 1 Peter 5:5-11; Mark 13:33-37
Theme: “Something is about to happen!!!” (Mark 13:33-37)
Question: “Have you been afraid lately?”
SOLI DEO GLORIA, Armour, SD
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our Third Midweek in Advent is from the Gospel lesson: “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come” (Mark 13:33-37).
Introduction: In Nomine IESU
People of God, chosen and beloved His most holy Bride: tonight we conclude our final midweek in Advent dealing with the Theme: “Did You Know…” On November 13th of this year something happened when I was in Jerusalem with my tour. Normally, I have my guide in the front leading the way, the tourists in the middle and I am the last person making sure my people are safe as we travel from place to place. We had just got done visiting the Holy Sepulcher Church. Just as we were making the corner to go to our next destination, I overheard 5-6 young men between the ages of 18-22 discussing how soon they should start. I wasn’t sure what it was they were discussing, but I knew something was about to happen. It was imminent and I felt uneasy about their discussion. My people were spread out over 100 yards or so. As I began to motion them to move away from the area, all of sudden, I heard one of the young men holler, “Now!” As soon as the words were spoken, I saw a shadow go by me with a baseball bat and ran to a souvenir shop and began destroying the store. Seeing the danger, I hollered, “Nour Tour keep moving forward!” I wanted to get my people out of the dangerous area. Thankfully, none of our people were hurt or injured.
As I thought about it afterwards, I knew something was about to happen but didn’t know what it was, until it was upon me. Did you know that this is a common theme for the Advent Season as well—something is about to Happen? What is about to happen? Its Christ’s coming again.
Something is about to happen is an Advent theme. The parable of St. Mark in our reading tonight about the master of the house coming soon; testifies about this. It is the theme of the early Christian church. You may say that the early Church lived on tiptoes waiting with great expectations for the day of the One who came as the Babe of Bethlehem and went to the cross, died and rose and will return to take His beloved people home forever.
Mark tells us, “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.” Yes, this is the Advent theme for the followers of Jesus, the Son of Mary. Stand and be ready. Stand and be on watch. Something is going to happen. We are to be standing on tiptoes, eyes focusing upward, and hearts for Him who has promised to come again—even Jesus Christ our Savior.
As the Church of old took their marching orders from Jesus, so do we. We live with the great celebration and great anticipation of His coming to be among us and with us. We take to heart the words: “The kingdom of God is at hand, the night is far gone, this present age is passing away, come, Lord Jesus, come.” Every word, deed, and prayer seemed to be shaped by Jesus’ second coming, Judgment Day, and the end of the world.
We, at times, live on tiptoes anticipating the future. We all know the energy an anticipated future can give to life in the present. Consider all the presents, cards, decorations, programs (and sermons!) that must be prepared before Christmas arrives. Consider an engaged couple and their wedding preparations or expectant parents who assemble a crib and paint the nursery. We also know the sense of disappointment when the hoped-for future doesn’t come or it comes and goes without significance. Consider when Christmas comes and goes and things didn’t work out as planned, when wedding plans don’t work out, when the baby doesn’t arrive.
When things do not work out as we anticipate, we ask, “Is something about to happen?” At times we wonder, Is Jesus ever coming again? Are my efforts in this life making any lasting difference for the future? Is something about to happen? Is my future secure? Is the world around me right when it pronounces, “There is nothing certain but death and taxes”?
This is the way of the world. The world lives for today. They constantly reminds us saying, “Only 10 more days to shop and wrap your presents.” But for us, you and I, Christ’s followers, our Advent preparations are more than just shopping, more than wrapping, more than baking, more than hoping for the good deals to come our way. It is knowing that something is about to happen very soon.
“Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.... Stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning” (w 33, 35). I was on guard. In Jerusalem as I was listening with one ear to the conversation of the men standing near me and my eyes on my people, I was apprehensive to what was coming down the line. I was on my tiptoes. However, we can’t remain on tiptoes forever. There are times when fatigue and distraction, weakness and weariness make constantly being on our toes just impossible.
Study, the life of the saints before us and you would have to agree, they could join us today in confessing that we do not have the strength within ourselves to stand on tiptoes, to be sure of our future, to fix our hope firmly in God. We are sinners whose faith falters. Our future seems too slippery. Our hands are not strong enough to hold on to God’s promises. But in our text from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus has good news for us. This good news is cross-shaped good news. The source of our hope and strength is not our faith. It is not our ability to stand on tiptoes. It is not even in our being alert at all times. The source of our hope is an act of God in history. It is an accomplished act and an accomplished fact. What we are speaking of is a humble birth in a manger, Jesus’ death on the cross for our sins and His glorious resurrection from the grave.
You and I, as the Redeemed of the Lord have wonderful news to believe and share with all people. Yes, you and I do have something glorious to share with those who walk around as if God is not in control; if He is not coming back, if He is not concerned about each and every one of us. We can by the Spirit’s power share His love that took Him to the manger and the cross for you. PASUE.
Something has happened. In the parable of our text, Jesus said, “You do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning” (v 35). Mark uses these words’ of Jesus to structure the rest of his Gospel account. He does this to give his first hearers and to give us a cross-shaped hope. See how Mark does it:
Jesus says that the Lord may come at evening — and in the very next chapter, chapter 14, we read, “And when it was evening, He came with the twelve” to the upper room (14:17). Jesus is at table with His disciples. Taking bread and wine in His hands, He tells them that this is the same body and blood that will soon be broken and shed on a cross for the sins of the world.
In the parable, we are told that the Lord may come at late night — and Mark soon records how late that night Jesus goes to the Garden of Gethsemane to prepare for His appointment with a cross the next day; His disciples have had too much day already (14:40-42).
In the parable, we are told that the Lord may come at cockcrow — and in the next chapter Mark describes the event of Peter denying Jesus the third time as the cock crows and Jesus’ date with the cross draws ever nearer (14:66-72).
In the parable, we are told the Lord may come in the morning — and Mark records that “as soon as it was morning” (15:1), Jesus is bound by Roman soldiers and led to trial and the cross.
What has Mark heard in Jesus’ parable of the soon-returning master of the house? He has heard and proclaims to us that everything uncertain in our future is anchored in the certainty of the cross. The cross tells us what is our true and lasting hope: the Lord Jesus crucified and risen for me! This is the message of Advent. That Christ came into the world to save me the sinner. That Christ lived the humble life to make mine rich. That Christ died so that I may never die.
By His grace alone we know of something that is going to happen. Every time we enter the most holy house of the Lord, the Word is spoken, and when the bread is broken and the cup is given we receive blessing after blessing. When we gather in this place, we know something is going to happen—Here Christ forgives us our sins and blesses with His presence. Every time we gather in this place we know something is about to happen, we see a child baptized in His name and the heavenly hosts dance at another child of Abraham being delivered from the clutches of hell and death.
Remember, what I told you about knowing something was going to happen while in Jerusalem? Indeed I was afraid that my people would be hurt and harmed in the market place. We all stand in the market place and the voices of doom are everywhere, following by the REACTIONS of the desperate. Yet, tonight, as we gather in God’s house, we know that something wonderful is going to happen. Here Christ takes our fears away. Here Christ comes among us. Here Christ blesses with His peace and sends us on our way rejoicing. Here, we know the act and the fact that along with all Christendom, we stand on tiptoes waiting for His arrival.
Yes—something has and is indeed happening as we live now, under the cross. And—something is about to happen. Come, Lord Jesus, come. Amen.
Now the peace of God…
SOLI DEO GLORIA.