On this Christmas Day, we celebrate the joy that Jesus brings to us. Isaac Watts’ familiar carol, “Joy to the world”, was never intended as a Christmas carol, but as a paraphrase of Psalm 98. Either way, it extols the Lord Jesus, as we learned in today’s message, based on Titus 2.11-14.
Marana tha. It’s not a phrase we hear tossed around much anymore, even in the church.
Marana tha. Even though it’s alluded to among the very last words of the Bible, most of us aren’t acquainted with it.
Marana tha. Interestingly, I have heard several people speak about it in the past few weeks, given all that’s going on in the world.
Marana tha. “Come, O Lord.” It’s becoming a popular prayer again.
Marana tha. This simple Aramaic prayer, uttered by Paul in 1 Corinthians 16 and hinted at by John in Revelation 22, says so much in so little space.
Marana tha. It’s a term of submission, in which we name Jesus as Lord, suggesting we ourselves are not Lord. It’s a term of hope, in which we look to the future we know God has in store for all who love him. It’s a term of desire, in which we long for Jesus to make right what the human race has made wrong. It’s a yearning for order, a yearning for peace, a yearning for justice.
Marana tha. We are invited to pray that prayer, for the restoration of God’s world and the meting of God’s justice. And while we wait for the wonderful return of our Lord, he invites us to answer our prayer with action on his behalf.
We can’t hasten the second coming. But we can help to prepare the world for it.
“For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed” (Titus 2.11-13, NLT).