Could We Miss Our King?

by Debra J. Hicks

This is the time of year when many Christians give special thought to the birth of Christ. It's a story most of us have heard more times than we can count. But as with every other story of the Bible, it never loses its significance. In fact, a careful study of Christ's first advent should help us learn how to be better prepared for His second coming.

At the time of Christ's birth, God's people were waiting with great anticipation for the world's Redeemer. His arrival was the event every generation since Adam had hoped to see. How could the religious leaders of that day have missed it?

Some have thought it was because they were ignorant of the many prophecies pointing forward to the Messiah. The gospel of Matthew is filled with obvious examples of them. But hindsight is always 20/20. After all, many of the texts that are so clear to us now were not as obvious before Christ's birth.

The Bible makes it clear, however, that ignorance wasn't the problem. It says, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel." Matthew 2:1-6, emphasis added.

When the wise men wanted to know where Christ would be born, Herod asked the priests and the scribes-and they knew the answer! They had read the prophecy of Micah 5:2 and clearly understood that it applied to the Messiah. They knew the Scriptures, yet they still missed Him.

The Jews, who had been in captivity for centuries, were looking for a Messiah with a very specific mission. From their perspective, their greatest need was to be delivered from the oppressive Romans. They longed for freedom and an end to all their worldly problems. The promised Christ would satisfy those needs. They were sure of it. And they even had Scripture proof! Many of the prophecies described the Messiah as a mighty conqueror.

What they didn't realize was that God had a different set of priorities. Their biggest problem wasn't the Romans. It was that they had lost sight of God. What they needed-and what God in His infinite wisdom provided-was a Messiah who would deliver them from sin and their spiritual problems.

There is a lesson here for us today. As we look forward to Christ's second coming, we often make the same mistake as the Jewish leaders did 2,000 years ago. We long for a Saviour who will satisfy our needs as we perceive them. We look forward to the day when there will be no more hypocrites in the church and no more suffering. We anticipate that glorious day when Christ will finally come to destroy the wicked and put an end to the terrible curse of sin.

And we know that the day will come, because God has promised it. We have Bible proof! Like the Jews of Christ's day, we have studied the prophecies and created the timelines. We have mapped out the last-day events so there will be no chance of missing them.

But do we stop to think that all of this preparation is useless if we have lost sight of God? If we have not fully accepted what Christ did for us when He was here the first time, then we will not be ready to go home with Him the second time. Without His cleansing blood and victorious power working in our lives each day, we will miss our soon-coming King!

God's people will long for Christ's coming, not so much because of what it will do for them, but because of what it will do for God and for those He loves. Our attitude will be like that of Moses after he found the children of Israel worshipping a golden calf. He told the people he would go before God and try to plead their case. "Moses returned unto the Lord, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin-; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." Exodus 32:31, 32.

This has to be one of the most touching stories in the Bible. Here was a rebellious group of people who were constantly murmuring and complaining against Moses and against God. Yet Moses was willing to forfeit his eternal salvation on their behalf!

Again in the book of Numbers we read where God in effect said to Moses, "That's it! I've labored with this stubborn people long enough. I'm going to destroy them and make out of you a greater nation."

But God's offer held no appeal for Moses. He said, "No, Lord. I beg You not to do it. What will that do to Your image, God, if You destroy Your people? What would the other nations think?" (See Numbers 14:11-20).

Truly Moses shared Christ's love for hopeless sinners. We need to pray that God will put that same type of love in our hearts as we approach earth's closing hour. God has given us the prophecies of His second coming so we can see that time is short and so we will be inspired to share His goal of saving souls. Christ's age-old mission has always been "to seek and to save that which was lost." Luke 19:10.

Ezekiel 33:11 declares: "As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?"

If we share the mind of Christ, then we will be motivated to use every possible second for preaching the gospel to the unsaved. "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise [of His coming], as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." 2 Peter 3:9.

Jesus is tarrying for the benefit of the wicked! His desire is that each one of us be reconciled to God. He paid the price for all, but only those who accept this gift by faith will inherit the kingdom.

 

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