A visiting rabbi from Israel faced the cameras and the throng of the press at his arrival in the U.S. for a news conference. One of the reporters asked him, “If Jesus came to Earth today, would you like to ask Him anything?” The rabbi paused and then thoughtfully said, “I would like to ask Him if this is His first visit to earth or His second?”
That is a question many of us might ponder in the weeks just after Christmas. Some may even have missed the fact that at the center of our celebration was the historical event of the birth of Christ. The “Advent” season celebrates the coming of Christ to earth to be born as a baby in Bethlehem. The Second Advent refers to the return to earth of Christ to make all things right and set up a kingdom where He will rule as King rather than as a baby. In fact, the New Testament letter of Philippians promises “Every knee shall bow …and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” What a day to anticipate!
Paul wrote those words just a few years after he met the risen Christ on the road to Damascus as he journeyed to persecute those who did confess Jesus as Lord. That encounter changed his life and made him become a missionary who perhaps traveled more on foot than any other missionary ever has, always telling people how Jesus had changed his life.
It was shortly after Christmas that I came to trust Jesus as my Lord. As I look back on the 68 years since that December night, I realize that, like Paul, faith in Christ has changed my life. I will not share all the details here, but I have been enormously blessed with a heritage of spiritual influences and amazing opportunities which I could never have experienced outside of that faith.
I recently completed a book entitled “Living Without Limits.” I chose that title because that’s what life has become for me. As I look at 2020 in these early days, I am filled with anticipation first, that this might be the year Jesus Himself returns to earth. Second, that we could all experience the world of peace and righteousness promised that first Christmas and yet to be fully known here! Finally, to be part of a universe where “peace on the earth, good will to men” is not just a prayer and anticipation but also a reality for Jew and Gentile alike.
When John the beloved disciple got that picture of the new city of Jerusalem and the new heaven and earth with Jesus as Lord, he could only say, “Come quickly, Lord Jesus!” May we join him in looking forward to that day, perhaps in 2020!