God’s Mission for the World: An Advent Reflection

Why is Advent a great season to consider God’s mission for the world?

The simple answer is that Advent is a time of anticipation of Christ’s coming into the world, including when He will come again on the Last Day. Even when Christ first came into the world through the incarnation, it was long foretold that His coming was for both the Jew and the Gentile alike. And so it is no surprise that when His coming again on the Last Day is explained in Scripture, it describes how “all tribes of the earth” will see Christ coming on the clouds, with power and great glory (Revelation 1:7). He came into the world for all nations and will come again in judgment of all nations.

Brought to the Farthest Reaches

With this season of anticipation, there is a greater urgency that the day is drawing near for the final harvest, after which the workers will rest from their labors. But in Advent, we understand that before the end of time, the Gospel will be taken to the ends of the earth—to all nations, peoples, tribes, and languages. Because when Jesus returns, He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to another. This also means that Christ will first send His heralds of the Good News to the farthest reaches to preach and to teach. He says, “You will be My witnesses . . . to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8, emphasis added).

Witnessing in Remote Locations

People associated with organizations like LAMP (Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots), which serves in remote locations in northern Canada, understand the call to follow that northbound wind where it leads farther and farther to the end of the heavens to search for God’s elect. And even if a small child in a remote village at the end of the earth may seem insignificant from an earthly standard, we remember that Christ says the least shall be greatest and to such as these does the kingdom of heaven belong.

Sent with an Invitation

So, too, we are given the picture of the Advent of Christ as a master sending servants with an invitation to His great banquet. When the rest of the world turns down the invitation because they are consumed in worldly things, whom does the master want invited? He says to His servants, “Invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” (Luke 14:13). This is how He wants His house to be filled for the banquet—down to the very least among us. And the wedding is all about when Christ comes again to gather us for the feast on Judgement Day.

Invited into Heaven

It is our Advent prayer: “Come quickly, Lord Jesus.” But until that day, the invitations to the master’s house are still to be delivered. To be sure, they might be delivered across the street to your neighbor’s house or across town to the desk of a co-worker. But make no mistake—it also means some invitations being airmailed to the middle of nowhere, at the farthest and darkest corners of the earth. All of it will be consummated in an Advent vision of heaven, when we will see “a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, ‘Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!’ ” (Revelation 7:9–10).

And for this, in the season of Advent, we will wait with great anticipation! Come, Lord Jesus. But until that time, send me!

Scripture: ESV®.

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Written by

Steven Schave

Rev. Dr. Schave currently serves as the executive director of the Lutheran Association of Missionaries and Pilots, a Gospel mission dedicated to reaching remote areas in northern Canada with short- and long-term volunteers-in-mission. Prior to this, he served the LCMS as the director of urban and inner city mission, director of church planting, and as parish pastor to several congregations.

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