HIS SUDDEN APPEARANCE
Heb. 9:26-28 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
How can we ever fully comprehend or fully appreciate the first coming of our Lord. God Almighty appeared among us as an average, ordinary man. He was born to two common people in a common village in the land of Israel. He lived an inconspicuous life until he was thirty years old. He had no form or attractiveness that made Him stand out above any other man. He was misunderstood and hated for His teaching and His miracles. He died as a criminal, executed for crimes that He never committed. In today’s verse the author also speaks of His second appearing, now that will be far different. The first time He came clothed in humility, His second appearing He will come in the fullness of His glory. No man or demon will be able to withstand the glory of His presence. Charles Spurgeon powerfully compares the contrast of His two appearances.
“By faith we first look to Jesus, and then for Jesus; and herein is the life of our spirits. Christ on the cross of shame, and Christ on the throne of glory, we dwell between these two boundaries: these are our Dan and Beersheba, and all between is holy ground. As for our Lord’s first coming, there lies our rest: the once-offered Sacrifice hath put away our sin, and made our peace with God. As for his second coming, there lies our hope, our joy; for we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. The glories of his sacred royalty shall be repeated in all the saints; for he hath made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign with him for ever and ever. At his first advent we adore him with gratitude rejoicing in “God with us”, as making himself to be our near kinsman. We gather with grateful boldness around the infant in the manger, and behold our God. But in the second advent we are struck with a solemn reverence, a trembling awe. We are not less grateful, but we are more prostrate as we bow before the majesty of the triumphant Christ. Jesus in his glory is an overpowering vision. John, the beloved disciple, writes, “When I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead.”
As Malachi said, “Who can withstand the day of His coming?” Just as the people who lived during the first appearance of Jesus, those who are alive at His Second Coming will be caught by surprise. They will be going about their normal daily activities and suddenly, without warning, He will appear. Today is the day to prepare our hearts like the wise virgins, make sure your lamp is full of oil, trimmed, and burning; looking for the sudden appearance of our Lord.