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To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation. (Hebrews 9:28)
Christmas celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, whom the Bible teaches is God the Son, the Second Person of the eternal, triune God. At a specific moment in history God the Son added humanity to His deity and was miraculously conceived in Mary’s womb. Nine months later He was born in Bethlehem, just as the prophet said would happen (Micah 5:2).
That was the first appearance of Jesus, and it is all worthy of celebration. It’s wonderful to see how many people have Jesus somewhere in mind in the Christmas season. The world’s emphasis during Christmastime is on vacation, holidays, giving and receiving gifts, spending time with family, and special meals. Yet even with their attention on those things, many people still find themselves thinking about Jesus and His birth, even if only a passing sense.
Hebrews 9:28 points to this first appearance by implication, saying Jesus will appear a second time. The author of this letter to the Hebrew Christians set the first coming of Jesus beside His second coming because they are in many ways similar.
At His first coming, Jesus brought light. When He appears again, Jesus Himself will be a light that replaces the light of the sun (Revelation 21:23).
At His first coming, Jesus came as the fulfillment of God’s promise. When He appears again, Jesus will complete those promises of God’s reign over the earth and the fulfillment of all things.
At His first coming, Jesus brought honor to the lowly and made the honorable humble themselves. The shepherds were honored with an angelic visit, and the wise men bowed low in worship before the young child Jesus. When He appears again, Jesus will bring honor to His humble people, and will judge those who think of themselves to be so great and mighty that they don’t need Him.
The focus of Jesus’ first coming was to deal with the sin problem through His atoning sacrifice. But now, having dealt with the sin problem perfectly, He comes again apart from sin – for the salvation, for the rescue, of His people.
At the time of the first coming of Jesus, the world was eagerly waiting for a messiah, a savior. The author of Hebrews assumed that God’s people today would eagerly wait for Him. It’s a sad case that this assumption doesn’t always turn out as true.
To paraphrase a quote from Charles Spurgeon, believers should be a bit disappointed every day if Jesus does not come in that day. Instead, many Christians today assume that Jesus won’t be coming soon. They aren’t eagerly waiting for Him. This isn’t good.
It’s a great thing to celebrate the first appearing of Jesus. From Bethlehem to the cross and the empty tomb, Jesus won salvation for His people at His first appearing. It’s good to let Christmas make you long for the glorious return of Jesus.