Christmas, Act II
Max Lucado tells how, in 1989, a terrible earthquake in Armenia killed 30,000 people. Among those uninjured were a man and his wife. Their son, Armon, was in an elementary school that collapsed. The father rushed to the school. He had always told Armon that he would come for him if he was ever in trouble. He worked intensely removing debris trying to find Armon. After thirty-eight hours he heard his child's voice and with the help of other workers freed Armon and the other children.
Armon said, "I told them you would come because you had promised. I told them you would always be there for me. I knew you would come."1
As we approach the Christmas season, we are again reminded of Christmas, Act I, when God showed his eternal love for mankind by sending his son, Jesus Christ, to earth to be born as a babe in Bethlehem so that, some thirty-three years later, he would give his life as a ransom to die in our place on a cruel Roman cross. This was to pay the just penalty for all our sins so we could be freely forgiven by God and live with him in heaven forever after life here on earth.
Just as Armon's father promised his son he would always come for him, before Jesus returned to heaven he made the same promise to his disciples and followers assuring them that he would come again to take them to be with him forever.2
Immediately following Jesus’ return to heaven, two angels appeared to the disciples and affirmed Christ’s promise saying, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”3
I told them you would come
because you had promised.
As inspiring and wonderful as was Armon’s father’s promise to his son, it pales in significance compared to the promise made by Jesus to his disciples and followers.
Christmas, Act II
Jesus IS coming again. This will be Christmas Act II. But you ask how can we be sure Jesus will come again?
First of all, Christ’s first coming is an indisputable fact of history. This event was repeatedly promised and prophesied about in the Old Testament over a period of several hundred years.
For instance, 700 years before Christ was born in Bethlehem, Micah wrote, "But you, Bethlehem...though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel.”4
A thousand years before Christ's death David, the psalmist, predicted how Jesus would die. “They have pierced my hands and my feet,” he wrote.5 This happened at Christ's crucifixion. This is even more remarkable when considering that in David's time, death by crucifixion was unknown. This inhumane, torturous death was first used by the Persians centuries later.
David also predicted that Christ would be betrayed by a friend, that people would “throw dice” for his clothes, and that he would die with criminals.6 He also predicted the dying Savior's cry: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”7 All of these predictions came true.
Six hundred years prior to Christ's coming Daniel predicted when it would be. One hundred years later Zechariah told how Christ would enter Jerusalem riding on a donkey; how he would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver; and how this money would be used to buy a potter's field.8
5. All articles on the ACTS International website are by Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise noted.
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