29 November 2020 (Advent Sunday Family Worship Service) Romans 13:14
Today is Advent Sunday. The word Advent came from the Latin word ‘Adventus’ which came from the Greek word ‘Parousia’. Advent means ‘coming’ or ‘the arrival of a notable person or thing’. Advent season is a time to pause and reflect on the purpose of the birth of Jesus in this world. Some scholars believe that Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians during fourth and fifth centuries in Spain. The baptism was during the January feast of Epiphany when they celebrated God’s incarnation, Baptism of Jesus in Jordan and the first miracle in Cana. During this season, Christians would fast and pray for 40 days to prepare themselves for this celebration. However, in the sixth century, the Roman Christians tied Advent to the second coming of Christ as the Judge and not His birth as a baby in Bethlehem. In the middle ages, people linked Advent with the birth of Jesus Christ.
Sin separates us from God. The early sin committed by Adam and Eve continued through generations and separated humans from God. The Almighty Father so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that humans should not perish but have everlasting life. Jesus was born in a virgin’s womb as saviour to mankind. He came to suffer and die on the cross for the remission of our sins. He came to give us salvation through His passion and death. He rose again and ascended to heaven whereby He fulfilled all the prophecies about Him.
We received the most precious gift of all time when Jesus was born in this world 2000 years ago. When the Almighty Father gave us the gift, how did He want us to use the gift? What was His expectation? I would like to meditate the answer for these questions based on our reading today. St. Paul’s epistle to Romans 13:14 says, “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof”.
Peter also said the same in the second chapter of His first epistle verse 21. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”. We were given the gift so that we would become a new creature in Jesus and follow His footsteps. We will be a new creature if we are in Christ. We will be in Christ if we repent of our sins, forsake them and reconcile with Him.
When we follow Jesus’s footsteps and example, the Spirit of God will dwell in us. Paul asks in his first epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 3 verse 16, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” In 1 Corinthians 6:19 he asks, “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”.
The Spirit can dwell in us, only if we are holy. In his first epistle, chapter 1 verse 15, Peter said, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation”. In his vision, John saw four beasts. Each of them had “six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come”. We read this in Revelation 4:8.
In Romans 13:12, Paul said, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light”. We the church are waiting for the second Advent of Jesus. Have we fulfilled the purpose of the first advent of Jesus? Have we put on the Lord Jesus Christ and following His footsteps? Are we, who are the temple of God, holy so the Spirit can dwell in us? Are we holy in all manner of conversation? Have we cast off the works of darkness and put on the armour of light?
Matthew 4:16 says, “The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up”. We have already received the great light Jesus so that we too can overcome sin and death. As we begin another Advent season, let us prepare our hearts to receive Jesus. Revelation 3:20 says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me”. Let us open our hearts and invite Him in. Let us follow His footsteps, be holy and be the temple of God. Only then the purpose of the first Advent will be fulfilled in our lives.
During this Advent season, I pray that we prepare ourselves for the second Advent of Jesus. Amen!