By Todd Rapp, TCS Parent
Is it worth the wait? If you are over 40 years old, you probably remember a Heinz ketchup commercial on TV that was all about anticipation. The company used the song “Anticipation” by Carly Simon to sell us on the idea that the slow flow of the ketchup out of the bottle was worth the wait because it is so rich, thick, and delicious. Smilingly they said, “Wait ‘til you taste it! It’s worth the wait!” Maybe so, but I didn’t ever have the patience to wait on gravity to get it to come out. I would stick a knife inside the bottle to get the ketchup moving!
The season of Advent is all about anticipation – waiting (eager expectation) for the Savior to arrive. The first way we can observe Advent is to celebrate the Messiah’s first coming as the Suffering Servant and Sacrificial Lamb who purchased our salvation. We can imagine the excitement Old Testament believers must have experienced through the words of an elderly Jew named Simeon at the temple when Jesus first visited with His parents. He said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”
For years, Simeon trusted that God would follow through on what He told the prophets would happen regarding Jesus, who fulfilled all the 300+ prophecies! Take a look at just 8 of them!
Prophecies regarding the Messiah Fulfilled
1. Born of a virgin, Isaiah 7:14 Matt. 1: 18,24,25
2. Born in Bethlehem, Micah 5:2 Matt. 2:1
3. Enter Jerusalem on a donkey, Zech. 9:9 Luke 19:35-37
4. Resurrected from the dead, Psalms 16:10 Acts 2:31
5. Sold for 30 pieces of silver, Zech. 11:12 Matt. 26:15
6. Hands & feet pierced, Isaiah 53 & Ps.22:16 Luke 23:33
7. Bones not broken, Psalms 34:20 John 19:33
8. Buried in rich man’s tomb, Isaiah 53:9 Matt. 27:57-60
Isaiah and Micah were both written about 700 years before Christ. Can you imagine how much ridicule Isaiah must have received when He proclaimed that there would be a birth from a virgin? They must have thought he was crazy! But if God says it, then it is true…even if the odds are preposterous. Famous mathematician and astronomer Peter Stoner calculated that the odds of one man fulfilling just 8 of the more than 300 prophecies are 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. To demonstrate what that looks like, take for example 10 raffle tickets. If you place all the tickets in a hat, and thoroughly stir them, and then ask a blindfolded man to draw one, his chance of getting the right ticket is one in ten. Now, suppose that we take 1017 silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They’ll cover the entirety of the state two feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars (with a red “x”) and stir the whole mass thoroughly, all over the state. Blindfold a man and tell him that he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up one silver dollar that has the red mark. This is the same chance that the prophets would’ve had of writing these eight prophecies and having them all come true in any one man. (Peter Stoner, Science Speaks (Chicago: Moody Press, 1969) pgs.106-109).
If you’ve ever doubted whether the Bible is accurate, understanding these O.T. prophecies and their fulfillment testify clearly that God’s Word is true! Jesus is the Messiah! Hallelujah for His arrival! Praise God for Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection, purchasing the forgiveness of our sins! That’s why we can say, “Merry Christmas!”
What God says will happen, will happen…. No matter how long it takes. Anticipate. Expect. Trust. Rest assured, the Bible can be trusted as God’s words to us! Unfulfilled prophecies regarding the 2nd coming of Christ can be anticipated with full assurance. That’s the second way we can observe Advent. We eagerly anticipate His 2nd arrival as the Judge, Conqueror and Rewarder. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.” For me, that is sobering and exciting at the same time.
Keep in mind… “The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you…. (2 Peter 3:9),
AND… “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore.” (Revelation 21:4),
SO… “What sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God?” (2 Peter 3:11-12).
‘Tis the season to rejoice at His coming, and anticipate His forth-coming with the prayerful eagerness of Simeon! I’ll wait on Jesus, trusting He will come at the right time, and it will be worth the wait! But I’ll keep on praying, “Lord, come quickly!”