"They were all looking for a king To slay their foes and lift them high: Thou cam'st, a little baby thing That made a woman cry. O Son of Man, to right my lot Naught but thy presence can avail; Yet on the road Thy wheels are not, Nor on the sea Thy sail! My how or when Thou wilt not heed, But come down Thine own secret stair, That Thou mayst answer all my need - Yea, every bygone prayer." - "That Holy Thing" by George MacDonald (1824-1905)When Jesus began to preach, many of his contemporaries detected a difference in the way he taught and related from other itinerant teachers, rabbis, and religious authorities. Some theorized that he might be the long-awaited Messiah. Others scoffed. He did not fit their expectations. On at least one occasion someone, not realizing that Jesus had indeed been born in Bethlehem, rejected him because he was from Nazareth and not from Bethlehem, where they understood the prophet Micah to have said that the Messiah would be born. He did not satisfy the militaristic expectations of others, although they still, as in the aftermath of the feeding of the five thousand in John 6, tried to take him by force and make him king. We still try to force our expectations on Jesus and define him by our experiences. As first century Jews theorized about the coming of the Messiah, we speculate about the second coming of the Messiah. Most of them missed it badly; their example should warn us to avoid being dogmatic on this issue. When he returns, however, how we lived in his absence will affect greatly how we receive him when he returns. Let us study his teachings closely about how to relate to one another and to him. Let us, like early disciples, "devote [ourselves] to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). We cannot control how Christ will return. We can however control how we prepare ourselves for his arrival.