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March 1, 2003

As we are moving from celebrating Jesus’ incarnation towards the celebration of His death and resurrection I would like to share one word with you, “Maranatha.”  I hope the meaning of this word will be an encouragement to you.  “Maranatha” is found only once in the Bible (1 Corinthians 16:22), yet the three meanings of this word encompass the essence of our Christian life.

The first meaning of maranatha is, Our Lord Has Come.  What a tremendous encouragement to our faith. For centuries God had promised the provision of salvation.  Because of Jesus, the Christ, we know that God’s promises are kept and that we have available to us the abundant life He has promised.

Our God is the faithful God who has demonstrated His own love toward us.  Even though we live in sin, separating ourselves from His promises and love, He has come to dwell among us, to offer Himself in our place as the atonement for our sins (Romans 5:8).  As Christians we are not waiting for some unknowable god to reveal himself to us.  We have the reassurance of knowing the faithful God who has come!

The second meaning of maranatha is Our Lord Is Now Present.  Many teach that Jesus was a great prophet who lived long ago.  Many ask us to live in the “spirit of Christ,” as though Jesus were dead and only His teaching and philosophy live on.

Are you discouraged, depressed, alone?  Are the pressures of life crushing you?  What good is a dead god?  The joy of knowing Jesus is found in His presence with us each day of our lives.  As a great hymn of our faith declares, “I serve a risen Savior...He lives!

Each day, know that you are never alone.  God is with you.  As you trust Him His power and wisdom will help you through whatever circumstances you may find yourself in.

The third meaning of maranatha is Lord Come.  This  is the future hope of every Christian.  The coming day when all will be put right.  When our wounds will be healed.  When all tears will be dried.  When we will be reunited with our loved ones who have died knowing Jesus.  When we will rise to see Jesus our beloved Savior face to face (Revelation 21:1-8).

The God who has demonstrated His faithful love towards us - the God who is presently with us - will one day call us together for eternity in abundant joy to rule and reign with Him.  What a hope!  May we live each day as the beginning of our eternity to come.  Maranatha!