Time is running out! As I move the countdown calendar to “three” a bit of anxiety fills my thoughts as I wonder if everything will get done in time for Christmas.
We live our lives continuously counting down. How many days until school is out? How much longer until our house is paid off? Even asking the doctor how long I have to live?
When God started time as we know know it, it was to see time as running out… but up! When He spoke the world into existence time began and God’s plan for Christ’s return is what it is running towards. His return was not an afterthought and the story of Christmas marks another event on this path toward the return of the King.
But first the story involved the kings would could come to worship.
The wisemen, in route to to Bethlehem, make a quick stop in Jerusalem to inquire about the child. I’m sure they were thinking that surely those in the city of the Jews would have heard of their King born several months ago.
Of course, as Herod is asked about the whereabouts of this little king, he becomes troubled. Herod was appointed King of Jerusalem and therefore King of the Jews and there was no way he would give his throne to anyone outside of his own line.
I find it intriguing and somewhat sad the response of the scribes and priests in this account. When Herod asks for the prophecy to be fulfilled of where the Messiah will be born they give the correct answer: “Bethlehem… for it is written by the prophet:… from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people, Israel.”
They knew the truth, they had learned the scriptures, they were waiting for fulfillment… and yet, when He came… they rejected Him.
Those of us who have been students of the Word look back at the prophecies and how they were fulfilled and think, “How in the world did they miss it?”
Today we live in a time when prophecy is being fulfilled and Jesus’ return could be any moment. As Matthew 24 describes the world will be as in the days of Noah when “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6)
We can’t turn on the news, look on social media, or even talk to the person in line at the grocery store without realizing the state of this world. Our eyes our glued to our children for fear someone might take them. We walk in the parking lot always on guard. We are constantly aware of our surroundings. We live in a time of great evil.
The signs of His coming are everywhere, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. … 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming… 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24)
May we not be found as those who knew the signs yet oblivious to their fulfillment. May we be looking for the return of our King, ready and waiting. And may we be earnestly reaching those who do not yet know Jesus so that they may be ready, too!
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.”