Pastor James J. Barker

Text: HEBREWS 9:28


  1. People are rushing to and fro buying all sorts of useless gifts, spending their money like there was no tomorrow – for example, $1,000 for a "tickle me, Elmo" doll!
  2. Many people are drinking alcohol, and over-eating. Nightclubs and bars are packed out with worldlings, all caught up in the hyped-up holiday excitement.
  3. Most children can tell you all about Santa Claus, and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and Frosty the Snowman, et al, but do not have the faintest idea who Jesus Christ is.
  4. While driving in my car, I heard a radio program about "unfulfilled expectations" and holiday depression, and so forth.
  5. However, there is a small remnant of Christians who do understand the true meaning of the incarnation of Christ, and the importance of His virgin birth, and His sinless life, and especially His substitutionary death.
  6. Today, I would like for us to look at the first coming of Christ in contrast to His second coming. We will be looking at a lot of Scripture today, so get your fingers ready to be turning your pages fast.
  1. Our Lord had to be born in Bethlehem in order for the Old Testament Scripture to be fulfilled (Micah 5:2).
  2. But Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, approximately 80 miles north of Bethlehem (Luke 1:26).
  3. As most of you know, God worked that out by having Caesar Augustus pass a decree ordering all his subjects to go to their ancestral city to be taxed (Luke 2:1-7).
  4. But the second time Christ comes to earth, it will be to Jerusalem, not Bethlehem. Our Lord referred to Jerusalem as "the city of the great King" (Matt.5:35; cf. Ps.48:2). Since He Himself is "the great King" and is coming back as King of Kings and Lord of Lords, it is appropriate that He returns to Jerusalem, the city of the great King.
  5. To the Jews, Jerusalem is the center of the earth – the religious, political, and cultural capital of the world.
  6. "Jerusalem was the world’s star; whatever light lingered on earth was borrowed from the oracles preserved by Israel" – C. H. Spurgeon.
  7. According to the Bible, all directions are in relation to Jerusalem – north, south, east, or west. For example, Egypt is often referred to as in "the south."
  8. When our Lord ascended into heaven, it was from the Mount of Olives, right outside the city of Jerusalem. The angels explained to the disciples that our Lord would return to that very same place (Acts 1:8-12; Zech.14:1-4).
  9. The Bible says, "I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem" (Zech.8:3; cf. 1:16). When Christ returns to Jerusalem there will be peace at last in that dangerous city (Zech.8:4,5; cf. Ps.122:6).
  10. Then will Jerusalem be called a "city of truth" (Zech.8:30 – until then it is "Sodom and Egypt" (Rev.11:8).
  1. There has always been a faithful remnant of believers. God revealed this important truth to Elijah the prophet (II Kings 19:18).
  2. And so, when Christ came the first time, there was a small remnant of believers who recognized Him as the long-awaited Messiah:
    • John the Baptist and his parents (Luke 1:39-44)
    • the shepherds (Luke 2:15-18)
    • Simeon (Luke 2:25-35)
    • Anna (Luke 2:26-38)
    • the wise men from the east (Matt.2:1,2)
  1. However, most people were not expecting the Messiah and therefore had little or no interest in the Lord Jesus Christ when He came:
    • there was no room at the inn (Luke 2:7)
    • Herod wanted Him killed (Matt.2:16-18)
    • the religious leaders rejected Him and eventually had Him crucified.
  1. But it will be entirely different when our Lord comes back. The Bible says, "every eye shall see Him" (Rev.1:7).
  2. When He came the first time, the Jewish people did not want Him (John 1:11); but when He comes back, they will repent of their sins and receive Him (Zech.12:10).
  3. Most of the heathen had no idea who Christ was the first time He came. For example, Pontius Pilate asked our Lord, "Art thou the King of the Jews?" (Matt.27:11). But when Christ comes back, "then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn" (Matt.24:30).
  1. The first time Christ was "despised and rejected of men" (Isa.53:3). He came to die on the cross for our sins (Isa.53:4-6).
  2. But when He returns to earth, it will be in judgment (Isa.63:1-6). The "winepress" (Isa.63:2,3) is a symbol of the wrath of God (Rev.14:17-20).
  3. The first time He was "the lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" (John 1:29). But when He comes back, the emphasis will be on the "wrath of the Lamb" (Rev.6:16,17).
  4. It was quiet and peaceful when Christ was born in Bethlehem nearly 2,000 years ago, but it will be "the day of vengeance" when He returns (Isa.63:4; cf. Luke 21:20-28; II Thess.1:7-10).
  5. The first time it was as a "worm and no man, and despised of the people" (Ps.22:6). The great Baptist preacher of 19th century England, Charles Haddon Spurgeon, wrote that Christ "felt Himself to be comparable to a helpless, powerless, down-trodden worm, passive while crushed, and unnoticed and despised by those who trod upon Him. He selects the weakest of creatures, which is all flesh; and becomes, when trodden upon, writhing, quivering flesh, utterly devoid of any might except strength to suffer. This was a true likeness of Himself when His body and soul had become a mass of misery – the very essence of agony – in the dying pangs of crucifixion."
  6. Another great preacher from the past, Lancelot Andrewes, wrote: "A fisherman, when he casts his angle into the river, doth not throw the hook in bare, naked, and uncovered, for then he knows the fish will never bite, and therefore he hides the hook within a worm, or some other bait, and so, the fish, biting at the worm, is catched by the hook. Thus Christ, speaking of Himself, saith, "But I am a worm, and no man." He, coming to perform the great work of our redemption, did cover and hide His Godhead within the worm of His human nature. The grand water-serpent, Leviathan, the devil, thinking to swallow the worm of His humanity, was caught upon the hook of His divinity. The hook stuck in his jaws, and tore him very sore. By thinking to destroy Christ, he destroyed his own kingdom, and lost his own power for ever."
  7. You might wonder – what does he mean, is Satan a defeated foe? He certainly is (cf. John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; Rom.16:20).
  8. Our Lord made Himself a "worm" when He went to the cross to die for our sins, but He will return as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev.19), then Satan will be bound for 1,000 years, and eventually cast into the lake of fire.


  1. The word translated worm in Psalm 22 refers to the scarlet worm. As a matter of fact, the same Hebrew word is translated elsewhere as "scarlet" (Ex.25:4) or "crimson" (Isa.1:18).
  2. The reason is that the scarlet worm was the source of a fluid from which the people of ancient times made their scarlet dyes.
  3. When the mother worm of this species is ready to give birth to her baby worms, she will emplant her body in a tree somewhere, or a post, or a stick of wood, so firmly that she can leave again.
  4. Then, when the young are brought forth, the mother’s body provides sustenance for her young until they reach the stage where they can leave home and fend for themselves. Then the mother dies. And as she dies, the scarlet fluid in her body emerges to stain her body and the bodies of her children and all over the wood of the tree.
  5. What a picture of the blood-stained cross! This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of our Saviour, let us never lose sight of the fact that "Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners."

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