Water is here

Advent 1 Year A                                                                              11/27/2022

Isaiah 2:1-5; Psalm 122; Romans 13:11-14; Matthew 24:36-44

Rev. Mark A. Lafler



Happy New Year!

A new year in the Church Calendar.

Today is the first Sunday in Advent.

And we have entered the season of watching and waiting…

With expectation…

For the coming of the Son of Man…

The coming of Jesus Christ.


Advent ignites four weeks of preparing for the coming of the Messiah…

Both at Christmas (the first coming of Jesus)

And the future second coming of our Lord.


In Jesus’ first coming he saved the world from sin and death by dying for our sins…

Becoming the ransom for our sake…

So that we who believe in Jesus would be saved.


In the second coming, Jesus comes to set the world at rights…

Establishing his justice and righteousness…

So that we can be with Christ Jesus forever.

This is our hope…

This is our expectation.


And hope and expectation…

True expectation changes the way we live.

Especially as we wait and watch for that expectation to be fulfilled.


Expectation… and waiting in that expectation change the way we live.


Next June, Tera and I will be celebrating 28 years of marriage.

And in all these years there is only one time we have gone out to eat at a restaurant and I barely touched my food.

If you ask her, she would say the same…

You see it was the year 1995 and we went to this wonderful restaurant…

The Columbia in Sarasota, Florida.

And later that night, I asked her to marry me…

Out on Lido Beach.

She knew something was going to happen…

Because I barely touched my food that night.


It wasn’t just because I was nervous…

It certainly was that too…

But because of the expectation…

Because of the waiting…

The anticipation…

It changed me.

It at least changed the way I ate my food that night.


Whether we are preparing for a travel vacation…

Or anticipating time off of work.

Whether we are preparing to have people over to the house to eat with…

Or anticipating a special event.

The hope that we have for these special moments of life changes the way we live as we prepare for them.


This is the heart of our gospel reading today.

Jesus was talking to his disciples and begins to describe his second coming.

Saying that it would be like in the days of Noah.

Before the great flood everyone was carrying on as usual,

having a good time right up to the day Noah boarded the ark.

They knew nothing—until the flood hit and swept everything away.[1]


Just as in the days of Noah people went about their business not knowing of the dangerous judgment that was just a short time away.

So will be the coming of Jesus…

People will be going about their business…

Not knowing that heaven will fully invade earth in just short notice.


Jesus then describes the dividing of people…

…two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.

Two women will be grinding meal together;

one will be taken and one will be left.


These verses do not describe some contemporary take on a rapture event.

That is just modern myth and fantasy.

Rapture theology…

the idea that some people will disappear while the earth goes through chaos and tribulation has only been around since the 1830’s and made popular by a study bible… and then by fiction novels.


What it is describing is that some will be ready and some won’t be ready for the coming of Jesus.


But the point of our passage comes next.

Jesus says:

Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.

Stay awake…

Be ready…

Keep watch…

Be prepared for the day…

Jesus goes on to say:

But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.


So we are to be ready for the coming of Jesus.

In fact, we affirm our faith each Sunday with the expectation of his coming.

In the Nicene Creed we say:

He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,

        and his kingdom will have no end.


This is not just tradition.

It is not some secret code to be a part of a secret group.


This is what we believe as Christians.

Christ Jesus came.

Christ died.

Christ rose from the grave.

Christ Jesus is coming back again.


And it’s that expectation…

That hope…

That we live out in this world.

Jesus Christ is coming again.

He is coming to set the world at rights.

To judge the living and the dead.

And those that are in Christ…

Will be given a new body…

And be with Christ forever.

After church, a little girl was quizzing her mother about the Second Coming that they had talked about during Sunday School.


She asked:

“Mommy, do you believe Jesus will come back?”

“Yes.” The mother said as she was driving down the road heading home.

“Today? Mommy… might he come back today?”

“Yes.” The mother replied.

“In a few minutes?”

“Yes, dear.”

And after a few moments pause…

The daughter replied:

“Mommy, would you comb my hair and buy me a new dress?”


This is the sort of belief and expectation that changes your point of view.

It changes not just the future but the way we live now.

Jesus said:

…you must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.


So, we watch, and we prayerfully wait in eager expectation.


Now there are two types of waiting and watching.

There is the waiting that is preparing.

And there is the waiting and watching that shows no active belief.

I am reminded of a story about a little boy who was asked by an older man what his father does.

The boy answered, “He watches.”

“You mean he is a night watchman?”

“Oh no”, the little boy exclaimed, “He just watches.”

“Well, what does he watch?”

“I don’t know if I can tell you everything, but I can name a few things.” “Well, tell me” The curious man replied.


“He watches TV,

he watches Mom do the housework,

he watches for the mail man,

he watches the weather,

he watches the computer,

He watches the stock market and football games.

He watches us do our homework.

He watches us leave to go to Church.

He watches Mom write letters and me play with my dog.

He watches Mom pay the bills.

But mainly, he just watches.”


That is not the kind of watching that we are called to.

Many may watch and sit idly by and watch life pass them by.

They live lives for which there is no meaning, no significance.


But we are called to a different type of watch.

An active and eager expectation of the coming of Jesus.

To be ready means that we are right with our Lord.

To be ready means that we confess Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

To be ready means that we have been baptized and receive communion.

To be ready means that we are following Jesus…

Reading and studying God’s Holy words…

Faithfully praying…

Gathering with God’s people for worship.

Sharing our faith… the good news of Jesus… in word and in action.


You see watching for the coming of Christ Jesus is an active thing.

To live in the hope of Christ…

Means that we are actively pursuing Christ Jesus in this world.


It is an eager expectation…

It is a longing for Jesus Christ…




Or as scholar Michael Green writes:

Christians are to watch:

not like astronomers through a telescope,

or guards watching a [monitor],

but like lovers who can’t wait for another glimpse of the beloved…[2]


As we enter the season of Advent.

May your belief…

Your faith…

Be ever strengthened…

As we watch for the coming of Jesus Christ.



[1] The Message

[2] Michael Green, The Message of Matthew, TBST (Downers Grove: IVP, 1988, 2000), 259.