2 Peter 3:1-10 - Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking. 2 I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles.
3 Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
Bede the Venerable – “All those who love our Lord’s return must have a balanced approach to the whole question. We must not think that it is so near that it will come before time, but neither must we think that it will not come until much later. Rather we must be careful to make sure that, whether Christ comes sooner or later, he will find us ready and waiting for him when he appears.”
Devotional Prayer based on today’s readings
Gracious God, we give you thanks, on this first day of Advent, for the coming of our Lord, Savior, and King, Jesus Christ. You remind us in the gospels that he would be named Jesus for he would save his people from their sins. He is Lord and King of all and Savior of all who call upon him. That you love us and are mindful of even us, we give you our thanks this day.
Father, in a day when “scoffers” will come and deny and/or reject the proclamation and truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we pray for your protection and edification. Strengthen us to stand firm. Yet we pray for loving and tender hearts that help us to not turn our backs on such scoffers, but to patiently reach out to them with the good, life-giving, and life-transforming news of the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Remind us of that time, when things looked bleakest during those three days our Lord was in the tomb, that it was also your plan to raise him from the dead. Remind us again that there will be those who cry out, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” Remind us through your Spirit and inspired Word, that life and history are moving according to your providential plan, and thus, we needn’t worry or turn away from the path you have set before us.
As the venerable Bede put it, “Rather we must be careful to make sure that, whether Christ comes sooner or later, he will find us ready and waiting for him when he appears.” Furthermore, we are able to wait because we know that “with the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness.” Father, you are caught off guard by nothing; our universe, and all within it, move according to your gracious and sovereign will. Moreover, you are “patient with [us], not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
Therefore, in one sense, let us rejoice for every “extra” day our Lord does not return. Let us think of each day as a day of grace, a day for disciples of Jesus Christ to boldly and lovingly declare to scoffers and seekers alike that today can be the day of their salvation. Let us encourage them to put their trust today in the babe of Bethlehem, the Lord Jesus Christ. How good our God is to exercise such patience with us and “delay” his return so that “everyone” may turn to him in repentant faith.
Father, one day it will be too late for us to turn to you in repentance and faith. We pray for each and every person who has not yet done so. We pray that today would be the day of their salvation. Move them through your Spirit. Give them eyes to see and ears to hear. Speak through us and others whom you have redeemed and reconciled to yourself. Our lives are different now because of who you are and what you have done in our lives through Christ the Lord. Let our words and lives awaken others to that possibility in their lives. For it is your desire.
We ask this in the name of the One whose first Advent we begin celebrating today and who will one day come again in glory. Amen.