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“Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the

Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” — Philippians 3:20.

Jesus’ Advent Exceeds All Expectations!

What’s the best movie you’ve ever seen? Hollywood producers would like to make you think it’s the one opening soon in a theater near you. They saturate the airwaves and video tape rentals with “trailers,” that is, the previews for upcoming attractions. These previews are skillfully edited to show the most exciting, dramatic, or humorous moments of the film they are promoting. Previews can make almost any movie look great, but the expectations only rarely live up to reality. The hype and build-up for a given film often leads to a big letdown.

But isn’t that the way it is for most things in life? The anticipation that we have for the things that we eagerly look forward to is only rarely matched by what actually happens.

Advent “Previews”

Advent is refreshingly different. During this season of the year we look back fondly to the “previews” that the Lord revealed to His Old Testament people about the coming of Christ. These are impressive in themselves! The coming Savior was billed as the Head-crusher, who would destroy the power of the devil (Gen. 3:15). He would come as the Miracle-Child, born of a virgin (Is. 7:14). He would be, at one and the same time, a Man of many sorrows (Is. 53. 3), and the Lord our Righteousness (Jer. 23:6). He would be exceedingly humble (Zech. 9:9), yet also the King of Kings (Ps. 2:7-8).

With this kind of advance billing, could anyone really fulfill the expectations of those who waited for the arrival of the Messiah? Many, in fact, were disappointed with Jesus of Nazareth. They were looking for an entirely different kind of King, one who would bring independence and prosperity to the nation of Israel. Therefore His own people did not accept Him, but sent Him to the cross in shame instead.

Yet, behind the scenes the Lord was working a far greater glory. The Lord had a greater kingdom in mind, a nation of people made righteous through the death of their King. And like many lesser dramas, this glorious outcome was not apparent to most people until the surprise ending. Jesus’ resurrection proved without a doubt that when our Lord makes a promise, He not only meets all expectations, but exceeds them!

The Best Is Yet To Come

What are your expectations for Advent this year? Be sure that you do not set your sights too low, for in our Lord Jesus we have much more than the memory of a glorious story of long ago. We ourselves are part of the ongoing story, as we are brought into the Kingdom of Christ by faith. And the best is yet to come. The story of God’s love is set to continue with a sequel, and the second coming of our Lord promises to be even greater than the first!

What sort of previews have we been given? The Lord has shown us some tantalizing glimpses of victory, glory, and eternal joy.

The coming of our King will not be in lowliness and poverty this time, but in power and glory (Matt. 25:31). All the dead will rise, and those who are part of Jesus’ kingdom by faith will have their bodies glorified and made ready to be in the presence of the King (1 Cor. 15:51-52).

Our inheritance of grace will then commence, as we see and meet our Jesus personally and abide with Him forever (1 Thess. 4:17), where no sickness, pain, or tears will ever diminish our joy (Rev. 21:4).

As we remember the love that God has already shown to us in Christ this Advent, we look as well to the coming glory when Jesus returns.

In anticipation of His arrival, don’t be afraid to expect the best. Our Lord has shown us that, when it comes to keeping His promises, He always exceeds our expectations!

–Pastor Bruce Naumann