A Sermon on 2Peter 3:8-15a (Year B, Advent 2)
Aim: To see our history and future with God’s perspective.
Waiting for Christ’s Return
The early church had a problem:
- Many believers expected Jesus to return in their lifetime, but he had not.
- Many had died waiting, even some leaders had been executed for their faith!
Where was Jesus? Why hadn’t he come back to save them from their earthly trials?
Peter must have felt this personally. He had known Jesus as a man, as well as anyone could – better than many of Jesus’ own human family.
Peter’s answer is to put things in perspective – in previous verses he give’s the perspective of Creation – earth, water and fire. In these verses he points out that God’s timing is not ours:
- God is patient and wants to give people time to turn to Christ and be saved.
- Peter could not know how many people, because the world is bigger than he knew!
- Southern Africa, the Americas, East Asia, the Pacific and Australia were unknown to them.
He assures the early church – and us – that the Day of the Lord will come.
- He uses Jesus own words to describe the suddenness and ferocity of the destruction, which will be total.
- Everything that we are used to and take for granted will be gone.
- So, how should we then live? Patience means salvation!
Waiting for Christmas
We have to wait decades to be united with God, and Creation must wait much longer. Today we think of both Christ’s First and Second comings:
- The Jews had to wait hundreds of years for the Messiah; and
- We’ve had to wait for 2,000 years already for Christ’s return;
- We could be stuck on this planet, this history, this universe for a long time.
Maybe the annual cycle that we go through is training:
- Maybe, while the days and years pass we should use this cycle, ride it like a wave;
- Make the most of every moment (“if you can fill the unforgiving minute, with sixty seconds’ worth of distance run” Kipling).
- Focus on the eternal, unchanging, God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Christianity is for life, not just for Christmas!
We need that refreshment, that renewal, we need to celebrate Jesus’ Birth, a baby, something fresh and innocent and new and wonderful (although babies are demanding too and they take years to mature!) We need God’s perspective – personal, unexpected, unusual, and refreshing.