EDITORIAL| Look up, your redemption is drawing near

MEDITATION: How good are you at reading signs, especially signs which God sends our way? The people of Jesus’ time expected that the coming of the Messiah would be accompanied by extraordinary signs and wonders. Jesus’ first coming was clouded in mystery and surprising wonderment: Even though he was the rightful heir to the throne of King David, he was born in obscurity in a cave at Bethlehem, near the place where David had watched over his father’s sheep some 1000 years before. A choir of mighty angels chose to announce the good news to a small band of lowly shepherds keeping their night watch nearby. Learned magi from the East, who recognized a great omen in the heavenly sky, followed the star until it led them to Bethlehem. They alone found the child with his mother and paid him homage as the newborn king of Israel. When Jesus humbly submitted to baptism at the River Jordan, the heavenly Father spoke audibly for those nearby who were willing to listen, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased.”

Jesus, during his public ministry performed numerous signs: turning water into wine, calming the storm at sea and walking on water, multiplying seven loaves of bread in the wilderness to feed 5000 people, healing the blind and the lame, expelling demons, and raising the dead. While many believed in Jesus, many also questioned his signs and refused to believe his claim to be the Messiah sent by the heavenly Father to suffer and die for our sake and for our salvation on the cross of Calvary. Jesus’ last and greatest sign during his earthly ministry was his rising from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. This sign demonstrated his power to defeat death itself and to give abundant everlasting life to all who believed in him.

Jesus told his disciples that his final great sign would be his return in glory at the end of the age. He would come this second time as Judge and Merciful Redeemer to vindicate those who accepted him as Lord and Savior and to punish those who rejected him. Jesus declared that this last sign at the end of the world would be unmistakable. All would recognize and “see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” (Luke 21:27). The title which Jesus most often used to describe his Messianic role was the expression “Son of Man”. This title comes from the Book of the prophet Daniel, chapter 7. The image of a “Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory” was given in a vision where the prophet Daniel saw heaven opened before the throne of God (Daniel 7:13-14). In this vision God showed Daniel a royal investiture of a human king before God’s throne. This king was invested with God’s authority and was given power to judge and rule over the whole earth. His reign would last for all ages.

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