That word is like a breath of fresh air to my soul.
I first learned of it listening to a sermon on fasting a few years ago, and it has stuck with me ever since. It means “Come Lord Jesus, come.” It’s a urgent prayer, a desperate calling out, a if-you-don’t-show-up-then-I-have-nothing cry of the heart.
It was the cry of the early church; one of the few Aramaic words that didn’t need to be translated into Greek because the church said it so often that everyone knew what it meant.
Maranatha. Come, Lord Jesus. The last words spoken by the church in the entire Bible. Followed immediately by the only other word that didn’t need translation from the original text: Amen.
The early church was hungry. Hungry for their Savior to return again. Hungry because they had tasted his perfect goodness, his love and grace, his power and truth and they could not possibly settle for anything less. Nothing of this world would satisfy. It had to be Jesus.
A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of fasting with a few of my college-aged friends. We talked about what fasting meant- that it was an urgent prayer, a physical expression of a deeper spiritual need for Jesus to come and reign in every aspect of our lives. We talked about how we so easily go to physical things of this world for false satisfaction- food, alcohol, social media, busyness, TV, boys, ourselves- and how at the end of the day, those things always fall short of Jesus.
And at the end of the fast, we broke it together in the only way that seemed appropriate living in Austin, Texas: with chips and queso and community. In the middle of Kerbey Lane, we shared stories of how Jesus showed up that day, of what he taught us. We confessed our weakness and our tendency to go to everything but Jesus, and maranatha became real to us. We laughed and enjoyed the sweet taste of cinnamon roll pancakes, and learned of the abundance we have in Jesus.
We were reminded of his grace and love, of his power and truth, and our hearts grew with the cry of maranatha.