In these past weeks and months, as the pandemic has gained momentum, and while struggling through the unrest and pain in my country, I began running out of human words as I pray. Over and over again, I found myself pleading, “Come, Lord Jesus.” I’ve felt a desperation for Jesus’ presence and intervention, inviting him to the center of my circumstances. “Come, Lord Jesus and renew us . . . Come, Lord Jesus, and heal our land . . . Come, Lord Jesus, and fill me . . . Come, Lord Jesus, forgive us . . . Come Lord Jesus, deliver and save us . . . Come, Lord Jesus, my only hope.” And over time, I’ve found myself longing for his merciful return.
Recently, while listening to one of my favorite devotional apps, I was reminded of the meaning of the word(s) Maran’atha—come, Lord Jesus. Actually this is a two-part Aramaic expression, “Our Lord, come.” All these weeks and months, I discovered I’ve actually been praying a Maran’atha prayer over every situation and person I’ve been encountering without making the connection to the meaning of this little but powerful phrase. It was a stop-me-in-my-tracks moment, an internal reset by the Holy Spirit.
After doing some investigating, I learned that Maran’atha is in fact a command to the Lord, to come! I found this very inspiring. It’s as if, at the core of its meaning, there’s a heart cry of the soul, an outpouring. Maran’atha is also a proclamation in Scripture, stated as, “Jesus is Lord!” Or it’s an expression of praise, “Our Lord has come!” Maran’atha brings with its biblical meaning, “Our Lord is coming,” which is a longing for the early return of Christ, a request for his reappearance.
As we approach the Christmas season, probably unlike any other we’ve experience up to now, we can celebrate the beauty and power of Immanuel’s birth in the center of it all. Can this time of uncertainty—with the losses suffered, many upheavals, the grieving we’ve shared—still bring the promise of hope, a breath of worship, ultimately a cry for Christ’s very return? I say yes! As we lean into his very heartbeat, as we listen and wait for him to speak, going before him with an openness and inviting his presence into the middle of all we’re living through, he is enough, his grace is sufficient, he is all we need. We’re invited to adopt the prayer of Maran’atha, a longing for his early return. We’re encouraged to ask, and even desperately command, “Come, Lord Jesus!”
The closing words of the Bible, at the end of Revelation it says:
I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.” The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. . . . He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen. —Revelation 22:17, 20-21 (NASV)
If you haven’t found an Advent devotional yet to follow, might I recommend this resource? Link is HERE.