I thought this month, since the topic is “words”, I would explain and talk about some words that I find interesting. Maranatha is the first. It’s an Aramaic phrase, which I was always told means “Come, Lord Jesus.” According to my big Bible dictionary, the definition is:
“our Lord, come.”
Close enough, I guess. When my children were young, there was a church near their daycare called Maranatha, which I assumed to be Pentecostal. I’m not sure why because I googled it this morning, and there are congregations from a variety of denominations using that name. (Yes there is even a Maranatha Free Lutheran Church). However, at that time, it sounded very different and exotic to me.
The phrase Maranatha is found in only one place in the New Testament:
“If anyone does not love the Lord, he is to be accursed. Maranatha.” 1 Corinthians 16:22
This was part of the final greetings of Paul to the church in Corinth. Although it is associated here with a curse, this wasn’t always the case. It seems to have been used by early Christians to add special emphasis to a statement, and was possibly a sort of watchword; maybe even part of an early liturgy.
These days we seem to have lost that sense of urgency. We focus on the here and now and have forgotten that Jesus might come back any day. Maybe that’s a mistake. There are definitely times when I want to cry out “Lord, please come and come soon!” What about you?