Sunday, December 12, 2010

Waiting for Jesus

So much of the story of the Bible is about waiting for Jesus, in different ways and with different intensity.

Think about Abraham's wait for a son who would be heir to the promise; the prolongation of that wait, to the point where natural generation was more or less impossible, surely points to the long wait for The Son who was to come.  Consider Israel's wait in Egypt, praying for deliverance, and the raising up of a deliverer who is both within and without Israel; surely a type of Christ.  To be honest, think of the whole history of Israel, the whole story of the Old Testament, which is so powerfully summarised at the end of Psalm 130:  I wait for the Lord.  And of course, when Jesus comes, we see that the history of Israel had its meaning in that waiting, and that in so far as it was characterised by that waiting it was also the history of the world.

It is interesting that the New Testament also has a lot of waiting for Jesus.  It becomes the central prayer of the church - Maranatha, come Lord Jesus.  But even before that, there is the waiting for Pentecost, when Jesus comes to his people in his Spirit.  Always waiting for Jesus.

A couple of things about that:

1.  How is waiting for Jesus different from waiting for Godot?  In other words, doesn't the constant waiting tempt us to think that perhaps we are waiting in vain, for someone who isn't coming?  Well, of course we are tempted to think just like that.  But the key difference is that we know for whom we are waiting, and we have not offered him "a vague supplication" with no certain expectation of fulfilment.  The Crucified One is the Coming One, and vice versa, and we look to him for the restoration of all things because he himself is the restoration of all things, as demonstrated in his resurrection.

2.  What do we do in the meantime?  Obviously, we wait, and watch, and pray.  We long for his appearing.  But we also announce the Coming to anyone who will listen, because we know that it is not only us waiting.  The whole creation waits.  I take it that this includes all human beings, in so far as they are created, which is to say in so far as they are not utterly given over to the nothingness that is sin.  (And of course they are not utterly given over, for it is not given to them to destroy themselves).  Like Israel, we wait with knowledge in a world of ignorance; like Israel, we wait representatively for all the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment