Most of us are so busy thinking about preparation for Jesus’ first coming on December 25, that we forget that Advent symbolized his second and well as first coming. If you haven’t already the scripture in the preceding blog, do so before you begin this entry.
John the Baptist, a prophet, is credited with heralding the coming of Jesus, the Christ. Yet, John’s first appearance in the New Testament was a parable, not about Jesus’ first coming as a babe in a manger, but, about Jesus’ second coming in glory. Overall, John identified that Jesus was the Messiah and that he would come first as a savior. At the end of the ages, Jesus would come as judge to separate the righteous from the unrighteous. According to Matthew, this is what John said: ““His winnowing fan (shovel, fork) is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear out and clean His threshing floor and gather and store His wheat in His barn, but the chaff He will burn up with fire that cannot be put out” (Matthew 3:12 AMP).
In this parable, John used the familiar agricultural metaphor of separating good grains of wheat from useless chaff. John taught that when Jesus comes the second time, he will separate Godly believers from those with a superficial, or no, belief in God. In ancient Judea, wheat kernels (seed, grain) were separated from chaff (stalks, straw) on threshing floors. Generally, chaff was unusable except as fodder for livestock, if even for that.
John preached personal acknowledgement and repentance of sins followed by water baptism as an outward sign of repentance. Symbolically, the baptismal water washed sins away. But, John didn’t stop with a message of repentance and baptism. John exhorted those baptized to change their behavior and bear fruit consistence with repentance (Luke 3:8-14). When those baptized asked him what they should do, John’s answer wasn’t that they quit their jobs and dedicate their lives to prayer and evangelism. Rather, in their lives and current jobs they should act honorably, treat others fairly, and share with the less fortunate. For example, John told men with two tunics to give one to the man who had none. Soldiers should stop accusing people falsely and extorting money from them.
John spoke his parable on winnowing wheat soon after starting his ministry. Yet, John’s parable demonstrated a sure knowledge of different outcomes for the righteous versus the unrighteous. Both the wheat and the chaff had an eternal destination. One was in God’s storehouse and the other in unquenchable fire.
Reflection: Jesus isn’t going to accept any dirt, chaff, or straw in his barn. Where does that leave you?
(Meditation 8) Liturgy on Jesus’ Second Coming
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:35-37 NIV).
Frequently, Psalm 108 is read in church services during the first two weeks in Advent. This psalm has a future orientation. Psalm 108 shows the power that Father God will give to Jesus at the second coming of Jesus. This psalm is often quoted or referenced in the New Testament. Here are its words:
Psalm 110 NIV: The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” The LORD will extend your mighty scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of your enemies!” Your troops will be willing on your day of battle. Arrayed in holy splendor, your young men will come to you like dew from the morning’s womb. The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: “You are a priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.” The Lord is at your right hand; he will crush kings on the day of his wrath. He will judge the nations, heaping up the dead and crushing the rulers of the whole earth. He will drink from a brook along the way, and so he will lift his head high.