Advent Reflection: Prepare to be Received

By 12/07/2022January 5th, 2023Advent

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Prepare to be Received

by Yanbing | Advent Week 2: Preparing

Preparing for Jesus to Come Again

As I consider Jesus’ first coming this advent season, it makes me think of the great hope that He will come again. I am drawn to the parable of the sheep and goats, where Jesus describes those who are received into the kingdom as those who fed Him when He was hungry, gave him water, welcomed him, clothed him, and cared for him (Matthew 25:31-46).

Many may think that the purpose of this parable is that we should practice righteousness (Tzedakah or charity) by serving those in need (the least brethren of Jesus). However, according to the context Jesus was teaching His disciples how he will judge all nations after His gospel has been preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations. So how will His gospel reach all the nations to speed his coming? How do charity and proclaiming the gospel contribute?

Needy or Rich

In the days of Jesus, His disciples were poor and weak before the gentile Romans. They had nothing except Jesus. So when they left their hometown to go to the nations, they suffered from thirst, hunger, loneliness, nakedness, sickness and persecution. They did not have anything to give in charity, but did proclaim the gospel with love. The apostle Paul who lived in the same age is the perfect example of being the least brethren of Jesus before the Romans in the book of Acts. He was persecuted and often in need. However, wherever Paul was received, there was a church planted!

2000 years later, most “Christian nations” are richer and stronger than the nations where the gospel is not welcomed. So one of the popular models to bring the gospel to all the nations is through charity. It is good to love the needy in deeds and to share them alongside the gospel. However, charity also has risks. It provides a model local leaders cannot imitate, and can make people dependent on outsiders. For example, the nation of Palau where I serve has been heavily reached by the gospel since the 1880s, but they still strongly rely on foreign pastors and charity. So we must take care with charity.


The deeper thing that Jesus wanted to teach is that we need to be received by the nations before we preach the gospel. And to be received by them, we need to show our respect to them. Suppose there are two foreigners bringing the gospel to a people group. One of them brings a lot of goods, telling them they are both poor and in darkness, so gives them charity and the gospel. The other foreigner empties himself first, then learns to become one of them, and even asks them for help. Which of them shows more respect to the people? It is the one who asks for their help! Only when they receive our respect are they likely to receive us and then the witness of Jesus through the gospel we preach.

Through the parable, Jesus wanted to tell His disciples not to be afraid to go and become needy strangers among all the nations. God will prepare the righteous to receive us and then receive Him who sends us. And in doing this, we help to prepare the nations for Jesus to come again. May Advent be a time we willingly empty ourselves to receive from God and to be received by others!

Written by Guozi. Guozi describes himself as a missionary from the third world to a “Christian Nation,” Palau. “Guozi” in Chinese means “cook.” His dream is to become a cook of spiritual food, who can use the Scripture as the ingredients, the Spirit as fire, and through himself bring those together to serve to others.

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