Advent is the proclamation of God’s three-fold coming: in the flesh, in the mind and for judgment. And notice how those three dimensions are connected: Christ’s coming in the flesh, historically, and his atoning work, is the basis of his coming to our souls in grace; and his coming in judgment is nothing other than the summation of all his comings in grace and what we have made of them. As it is written in John 3:19, “This is the judgment, that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light…” And so this season urges us to wake up, to cast off darkness and clothe ourselves in light.
Read Matthew 21:1-13, especially these verses: And Jesus entered the temple and drove out all who sold and bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you make it a den of robbers.”
Read Romans 13:8-14, especially these verses: Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.
This pair of Scripture readings uses a real-life story to illustrate a spiritual reality that all Christians need to engage in on a regular basis. When Jesus arrived at the Temple in Jerusalem, he cleansed it; he turned over tables, set free animals that were being sold for exorbitant prices, and even drove out merchants with a whip. Zeal for the Lord’s house consumed him, indeed! Later in the New Testament, however, we are taught that the Temple of God in the New Covenant is Christ’s spiritual body, the Church, of which all Christians are a part. So, just as Christ came into the world in the flesh, he also comes into our hearts in a spiritual manner, by the work and indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And, just like the old Temple in Jerusalem, there are many things amiss in the temples of our bodies which need to be overturned or set free or driven out. The season of Advent begins with this reminder, for as we are preparing for the arrival of Jesus to rule and judge the entire world, we need to be ready ourselves.
Close with the Collect for Advent
Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.