Scripture Reading — Titus 3:3-8
When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us ... Titus 3:4-5 —
Politicians sometimes make an appearance among the nation's troops to show their support. The visit becomes a photo-op, and it's a nice gesture, but of little consequence. It's only an appearance. As teenagers, we may be told to make an appearance at a family gathering. It need not be for the whole evening--just for half an hour or so, to say hello. Or let's say there's an event at church and we feel an obligation to attend, but there's so much else on our calendar. Still, we promise we'll make an appearance. The appearance is an appeaser. Not all appearances are trivial. Pope John Paul II's appearance in his beloved Poland in 1979, when Poland was still under the heel of the Soviet Union, ignited a movement that helped dismantle the communist empire. The appearance cited in our reading for today was the greatest of all time: "When the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us." The word for "appeared" in the Greek text simply means "to show oneself openly, to come forward." God did not remain aloof, hidden. God came forward not just to boost our morale but to save us, to dismantle the evil empire, so that "we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life." God would rather be in a barn with us than in heaven without us. He came to save.
Lord Jesus, may your coming to save us never cease to astonish us. Let the wonder of your appearance melt all resistance and give us the unceasing hope of eternal life. Amen.