Matthew 1:18-25; Revelation 1:5b-7

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.


The first coming of Jesus was a moment shared mostly by Joseph and Mary. The second coming, however, will be very different. In some way "every eye will see him" as he comes with the clouds. This second advent will not be a humble, intimate occasion as it was in a cattle stall in Bethlehem. The second advent will be known by all. Jesus will be returning and "all the tribes of the earth will wail on account of him." In a very sobering way, this expression of wailing is describing how some people will be filled with remorse, but not repentance, when they see Jesus. When they see him coming with power and glory as the conquering King, the people who have refused to acknowledge him will realize that it is too late to repent. This is a hard reality, yet John says: "Even so. Amen." This phrase expresses affirmation concerning all of the realities of Jesus' return: His redemption will be completed. His judgement will be just. His enemies will be conquered. His glory will be forever. Come, Lord Jesus.


1. Read back through Matthew 1:18-25 and Revelation 1:5b-7. In your own words, describe the contrast between the first and second advents of Christ.

2. Judgement will be a part of Jesus' return. What do we learn about God's character (i.e., justice, mercy) from Revelation 1:5b-7?

3. Amen is a word that expresses affirmation. What all do you think John is affirming in that phrase, "Even so. Amen."? (Revelation 1:7)


In the psalms of David, in the words of the prophets, in the dream of Joseph, your promise is spoken, eternal God, and takes flesh at last in the womb of the virgin. May Emmanuel find welcome in our hearts, take flesh in our lives, and be for all peoples the welcome advent of redemption and grace. We ask this through him whose coming is certain, whose Day draws near; your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.


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