First Sunday in Advent
30 November 2008
The Parable of the Fig Tree
Now learn a lesson from the fig tree; as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you recognize that summer is near. (v.28 – Amplified Bible)
As we look toward the season of Christmas, beginning with this first week of Advent, we reflect on our lives, on those events of the past weeks, months, and year; we read that Jesus himself has just given us a list of signs of the times in the beginning verses of the Sunday Gospel…But in those days after [the affliction and oppression and distress of] that tribulation …which he mentions and enumerates in the verses preceding… the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light and the stars will be falling from the sky, and the power of the heavens will be shaken. (v. 24, 25)
And THEN (26),… and THEN (27),… NOW learn (28).
Our Lord told the Parables for shock value; to move the hearers to action; to shake them (us) out of lethargy. This Parable of end time events should have moved His hearers to change their lives in such a manner that their lives would conform to the standards of God and Scripture. You would think so, wouldn’t you?
Well they didn’t. The majority of the good citizens of Jerusalem, exercising a true democracy, ruled a short time after this teaching was given, and the Christ was accused, condemned, and crucified. They failed to understand His teachings, just as we also misunderstand and ignore His Word today.
Back to the Gospel, v 29and 36,37, So also, when you see these things happening, you may recognize and know that He is near, at the very door…[Watch ,I say] lest He come suddenly, and unexpectedly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to everybody: Watch (give strict attention, be cautious, active, and alert).
Advent, the season of expectation, the season of preparation, that time in the Church year when we focus our attention on both the Christ who is about to come, as well as the Christ who has already come and given a written record of His expectations for us. As we enter the joyous season of Advent and Christmas, may we truly examine our lives in the light of His Word; may we make proper preparation for Him in our lives.
Fr. Charles Johnson
St. Francis Anglican Community