Not long ago, a friend of mine took my daughter to the mall with her family. I was grateful for a morning of uninterrupted work and was about to go pick her up when I heard my husband’s phone ring. It was my friend’s husband: “There was a shooting at the mall. I talked to my wife—she and the girls are okay, but they’re being held on the premises and haven’t been allowed to leave yet.”
I got to the mall in record time and, dizzy with urgency, did the hardest waiting of my life. Waiting for updates from the police; waiting to be able to speak with my friend to find out what happened. Waiting to hold my daughter in my arms; waiting to inspect her injuries; waiting to ease her fears and mine.
Urgent fear resonates through so much around us, whether directly, in the lives of those we love, or the stream of information on wars, disease, corruption, and violence. The need is urgent—where is our hope? As I struggle to keep hopelessness at bay, I imagine how the ancient Jewish community might have felt as they awaited their deliverance and the arrival of the Messiah. It had been 400 years since they had heard from God, and they were subject to overwhelming oppression and crushing captivity. They must have wondered if God had forgotten them and whether a Savior was truly coming.
And then one day, a man named Jesus walked into the synagogue and stood up to read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah:
The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me
to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set free the oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:18–19, CSB)
Jesus wasn’t finished yet, though. He wasn’t simply reminding them of a future they could look forward to. Instead, he made an astounding proclamation that would have made jaws drop: “Today as you listen, this Scripture has been fulfilled” (v. 21).
It’s the official announcement from Jesus that he is ushering in the kingdom of God. As we follow him, we no longer walk through the bad news of our world with despair. Instead, we look to Jesus sitting on his throne. We can stand on his promise of redemption, even when we face horrifying circumstances in our own lives, like the day I waited for my daughter at the mall. When I finally saw her face and held her body to mine, the relief and joy I felt was unlike any I have experienced before. It was a reminder to me that God is not done. That this is not the end. The King is here, and eternal jubilee is at hand.
Kristel Acevedo is an author, Bible teacher, and the Spiritual Formation Director at Transformation Church just outside of Charlotte, NC.
This article is part of The Eternal King Arrives, a 4-week devotional to help individuals, small groups, and families journey through the 2023 Advent season . Learn more about this special issue that can be used Advent, or any time of year at http://orderct.com/advent.
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