Lectionary Reflection for the First Sunday of Advent

This excerpt comes from Luke (BTCB) by David Lyle Jeffrey, commenting on Luke 21:25-36:

The events to which Jesus points are clearly the end of something we have known and the beginning of something new, the long-hoped-for kingdom of God in itself fully appearing.

For the apostles, Jesus was certainly coming again, as Peter in his great sermon declared, when the Lord shall bring about the consummation of his purposes (Acts 3:19-21). Peter’s sense of the interregnum in which we live is that it should, in its trials and tribulations, admit no dissuasion from the confident hope expressed by the prophets, of the “restoration of all things” (3:21) at the Lord’s return.

The language recorded by Luke is more modest than the same account in Matt. 24:31, which mentions the blast of a great trumpet and angels being sent out to gather the elect from “the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” But this too is a suggestion that the text is unmistakably about final closure in the divine plan of salvation history.

The parable of the fig tree is also an encouragement to future hope. Anyone who lives close to an agricultural way of life has here an advantage in grasping the power of Jesus’s example: when human life depends directly upon the springtime renewal of creation, the heart leaps up at the first signs of spring, and the imagination races joyously toward the summer. “So you also,” Jesus says, “when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near” (Luke 21:31).


©2012 by David Lyle Jeffrey. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.