Monday, November 29, 2021

Readings:

2 Peter 3:1-18
This is now, beloved, the second letter I am writing to you; in them I am trying to arouse your sincere intention by reminding you that you should remember the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets, and the commandment of the Lord and Savior spoken through your apostles. First of all you must understand this, that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and indulging their own lusts and saying, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since our ancestors died, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation!” They deliberately ignore this fact, that by the word of God heavens existed long ago and an earth was formed out of water and by means of water, through which the world of that time was deluged with water and perished. But by the same word the present heavens and earth have been reserved for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the godless.
But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day. The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance. 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, and the elements will be dissolved with fire, and the earth and everything that is done on it will be disclosed.
11 Since all these things are to be dissolved in this way, what sort of persons ought you to be in leading lives of holiness and godliness, 12 waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set ablaze and dissolved, and the elements will melt with fire? 13 But, in accordance with his promise, we wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.

Final Exhortation and Doxology
14 Therefore, beloved, while you are waiting for these things, strive to be found by him at peace, without spot or blemish; 15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation. So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 speaking of this as he does in all his letters. There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 17 You therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, beware that you are not carried away with the error of the lawless and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.

As we begin our journey to celebrating the birth of Jesus, we begin this series of devotions with a passage that reflects on Peter’s admonition concerning the second coming of Jesus. As time goes by, and moves on and on, we seemingly become anesthetized to “the sincere intention” Peter prescribes as the proper response to the second coming of Jesus. Just as in the days of Noah when humans ignored the warnings of Noah that a flood of judgment was coming, scoffing and ridiculing Noah for his prophetic word, so, too, time dulls our sense of urgency to heeding the call to prepare for Jesus’ return.

Peter reminds us that we should not let the time passing by be an indication of God’s disinterest. God simply does not work on the same calendar we humans do. For God, 1000 years is like a day, and a day is like 1000 years. God is not bound by time, and the 2000 years that have passed since Jesus last visited the earth are like a couple of days to God. God is patient, wanting all to be saved, calling for repentance and a return to the life-giving relationships that God offers.

How does that happen? Peter answers that Paul’s letters, though sometimes hard to understand (!), are sources of instruction and inspiration. It boils down to growing, daily, in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. By reading this devotion, I believe you are. By attending to the themes of Advent, you are. By focusing, not on the cultural expectations of the season, but the intention of daily preparation of prayer, study, and acting on the Word, we awaken from sleepiness of time and move toward a HOPE, that when the things of this world are accomplished, the glory of the LORD Jesus Christ is revealed in us all.

Paul B. Thompson
Senior Pastor, Huntersville United Methodist Church
14005 Stumptown Rd.
Huntersville, NC 28078
(704) 875-1156
3910 North Highway 16
Denver, NC 28037