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Word Action Faith Connections Adult Bible Study Guide, Dec., Jan, and Feb., Vol. 35, Numb. 2 (large print)
Word Action Faith Connections Adult Bible Study Guide Dec Jan and Feb Vol 35 Numb 2 - large print Author:various When the 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami struck Japan earlier this year, the devastation came suddenly and without warning. A whole nation was suddenly plunged into social and economic distress. It was an unexpected event, reminding us of the words spoken by Jesus about his second coming in the last hours before His crucifixion. — One gospel... more » writer records Jesus telling his disciples that there would be "distress unequaled from the beginning, when God created the world...that the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time men will see the Son of Man cooming in clouds with great power and glory...Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come" (see Mark 13:24-37). It is interesting to note that similar passages from Matthew and Luke always begin the Advent season.
Advent looks initially at the "second advent" of Jesus. Our preparation for Christmas begins with a vision of God's ending to the world's story, in end time turmoil and confusion among the nations and people. Matthew had written earlier, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginnings of birth pangs" (Matthew 24:7-8).
Yet we are not fearful. We are people of hope, as Gay Leonard reminds us in her expositions, because something permanent, Someone Preeminent, remains. Jesus promises, "Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away" (Mark 13:31). The Word Who was at the beginning (John 1:1) remains at the end. So, when you see all these things, Jesus tells His disciples, "it [the unexpected return of Christ] is near, right at the door" (Matthew 24:33). It is in just such moments as these that Christ urges us to watchfulness.
Right at the beginning of the Christian year, the scriptures that beckon us toward the mysteries of Christmas first of all urge us to prepare for the end of time, for the appearance of Christ, the Son of God, before whom all must stand in judgment. They admonish us to "be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him" (Mark 13:33). They invite us to examine our hearts and commitments, to make sure that cares, anxieties, enslaving habits and practices aren't weighing us down and draining our energies.
The theme of the study is watchfulness for those who know the Lord. His coming is near. 13 studies in the gospels and Psalms. New.« less