23 December 2010

Maranatha!

The following can be found on the website of Grace Community Church.

Maranatha
This Christmas season, as we celebrate our Savior’s birth, we must also remember the reasons why He came—to fulfill His Father’s will, to suffer and die for sin, to bring salvation to lost sinners, to conquer the power of death, and to return to heaven in triumph. Though Jesus was born in a stable two thousand years ago, He sits enthroned today at the right hand of the Father and will soon come back again. Thus, as we remember His first coming, we eagerly look forward to His second—our hearts echoing the sentiments of the early Christians, “Maranatha: Come, Lord Jesus.”


The two passages below, both from the Gospel of Luke, set Christ’s first coming to earth alongside His return to heaven—from humiliation to glorification, from condescension to ascension. We worship a Savior who was not just born as a baby in Bethlehem. We worship the living, risen, and ascended Christ.


Luke 2:1–14 
Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David,
in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child.
While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
“This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
 “Glory to God in the highest,
 And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”


Luke 24:36-53 
While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.”
But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit.
And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts?
See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.”
And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?”
They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish;
and He took it and ate it before them.
Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.”
Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,
and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day,
and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. “You are witnesses of these things.
And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them.
While He was blessing them, He parted from them and was carried up into heaven.
And they, after worshiping Him, returned to Jerusalem with great joy,
and were continually in the temple praising God.

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