waiting for God’s salvation

Hope, as we considered together at our church on the second Sunday of Advent is about anticipation of God’s fulfillment of his promises to us in Jesus.  Simeon was an old man, well along in years, in fact as we can see from the narrative, humanly speaking he was near his journey’s end. He had been promised by God through the Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen God’s Messiah. He was waiting, had been waiting likely for a long time. Cross reference, Abraham and Sarah along with others in scripture.

And then one day this couple comes to the temple with a baby boy for circumcision. Simeon sees what he has been waiting for, takes him up in his arms and blesses God, and Mary and Joseph, and prophesies. Simeon said he was now ready to depart as God’s servant in peace, since his eyes had now seen God’s salvation- for the Gentiles and for the glory of God’s people, Israel.

In a person, in Jesus we have God’s salvation. Strictly speaking it is not in a “plan” or a “creed” or a Book. But in a little baby, as human as any of us, and yet along with that, much more. In Jesus alone is our salvation.

There is a sense in which that waiting continues. Yes, Jesus has come, has lived and spoke and done mighty works by the Spirit. And has died and rose again, and is now ascended at God’s right hand in the place of ultimate power and authority. And someday he is returning to complete the new creation when heaven and earth become one in him. Until then we await God’s salvation in him. We know we are saved through God’s past act in Jesus, and in the present through God’s work by the Spirit in Jesus. But we await the completion of this salvation, feeling in ourselves and in this world, deeply the need for this.

We know that what we have seen in our lives and in the world from God through Christ is good, very good. Yet we also know it is not finished. So we hold on to God’s promises in Jesus, believing that in God’s good time they will be fulfilled. That it is not a matter of human wishing, but of the hope built on God’s promises based on Jesus alone, and on what God has done already- and is even now doing in him.

We hunger and thirst for this salvation, yes for ourselves, but also for this old world which ultimately needs nothing less than that.