So Unlike His First!

His second visit will be so unlike His first. His return in glory will be in a manner so different from His original coming into the world. The non-descript manger gives way to a white horse. The meek and lowly Babe will, in that day, be manifest as the King of kings and Lord of lords . . . His swaddling clothes replaced with many diadems and a robe dipped in blood. He who made Himself nothing . . . condescending to being born in the likeness of men . . . content at His first entrance to utter no more than the gurgling sounds of an infant . . . will, on that day, speak as the Commander of the armies of heaven, and from His mouth will come a sharp sword with which He will strike down nations. He who was called Jesus will be called Faithful and True . . . He was known as the son of Mary, will then be called the Word of God. Yeah . . . His second coming will be so unlike His first.

As I read in Revelation 19 this morning, while Christmas songs play quietly in the background, I can’t help but once again be moved by the contrast between these visions of which John writes and the pictures portrayed by the songs I hear . . .

Away in a manger . . . no crib for bed . . . the little Lord Jesus . . . lay down His sweet head . . .

Oh, what a disservice is done the Son of God if He never “grows up” and leaves the manger. If only remembered as God’s gift packaged in straw and surrounded by barn animals, then He is really no Savior at all.

The Christ child must grow up . . . the Creator enter fully into the trials and temptations of His creation . . . yet without sin. Having known experimentally the human condition He must then atone for the flesh’s failure . . . the Son of God offering Himself as the Lamb of God . . . the once for all sacrifice for man’s rebellion . . . for, without the shedding of blood, there is no remission of sins. Thus He would be the Savior for the penalty of sin.

But that the Holy Infant should taste death for all men could not be the end . . . but just the beginning. Just as there was no room for Him in the inn, so too, there could be no room for Him in the tomb. And so, on the third day, He rose from the dead . . . visibly, physically, demonstrating His victory over sin and death. His resurrection giving way to His ascension . . . and the sending of Another, just like Him, to indwell all those who, through faith, would own Him as Savior and Lord. The Holy Spirit taking the rewired spiritual DNA of the reborn, and enabling the people of God to say no to the old man . . . being conformed more and more to the nature of Him who once lay in a manger. And so He would also be the Savior from the power of sin.

And soon, there will come a day when He will be shown to be, beyond all dispute, the Savior who saves from the very presence of sin. When the ascended Christ returns as mighty Warrior. When He puts down all rebellion . . . when He completes the redemption of all things unto Himself . . . when He shows Himself in all His glory, power, and majesty . . . when the Prince of Peace establishes His universal rule.

One of the blessings of this season, where we are reminded of the fulfillment of the promise of His first coming, is the heightened anticipation of the promise of His second coming. When looking back causes us to again look forward . . . when looking down on the Babe in the manager turns our faces heavenward as we anticipate the Rider on the white horse . . . when reflecting on His birth refuels our longing for His return.

Yeah . . . His second coming will be so unlike His first. Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay . . . Close by me forever, and love me, I pray . . . Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care . . . And fit us for heaven, to live with Thee there.

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