Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "God Rest You Merry Gentlemen"1 (Lyrics)
Mark 13:32-33 – No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. (NIV)
As my husband and I celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary today, I am reminded that we were not engaged prior to our marriage. On our first wedding anniversary, I wondered if I might receive a ring as an anniversary or Christmas gift. Knowing that we could not afford it, though, I was not too surprised when I didn't find one under the tree.
Our second anniversary also passed with no ring. The years went by, and I continued to be disappointed. I couldn't ask for one! As our tenth anniversary approached, I was convinced that this one was special. I had surely dropped enough hints that hubby would produce what I had hoped and dreamed for. But there was no ring. I gradually lost faith that one would ever materialize. Eventually, I barely gave it a thought.
On the night before our twentieth anniversary, my husband asked what was on my pillow. Not wearing my glasses, I turned and glimpsed something small, round, and brown. Thinking that it was a mouse, I gave a loud shriek and plastered myself against the wall.
After a moment, I realized that hubby hadn't moved. He was looking at me rather perplexed. What was going on? Peering more closely, I discovered — much to his amusement and my chagrin — that the "mouse" was a brown velvet ring box!
What a surprise! What should have been a tender, romantic moment turned into a farce that I will never live down. I had hoped, expected, even believed — but after waiting so long, I was not ready.
Could this be how the Jews felt when a Saviour did not arrive the way that they expected? The prophets foretold His coming but centuries passed, and after waiting so long, they were not ready when Jesus finally did appear. They were suspicious of a human being who claimed to be God. God caught them by surprise. He's the master at surprising us!
Surprise is a very human emotion, because we don't know what to expect. Jesus was truly human, so what was it like for Him as a boy? Did Mary play peek-a-boo with her baby? As Jesus grew, did He play "Ready or Not" with His friends, counting to ten and searching for them? Was He surprised to receive a gift?
In His divinity, Jesus is all-knowing, but in His humanity, He knew only what God the Father revealed to Him. He knew what was in the hearts of His listeners. He knew about the Samaritan woman's husbands, and He knew that He would be put to death and rise on the third day. But at other times, He was surprised, for example, at the great faith of a Roman centurion, and at the lack of faith of the people of Nazareth.
Jesus told His disciples that He would return to earth one day, but He did not know when. We know that His second coming won't be like the first time. We know that we'll be surprised. The question is, will we be ready, or not?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You constantly surprise us. Your presence is the ultimate gift. We are to wait and watch for Your return. Help us to be faithful and ready when that time comes. Amen.