Advent: Week 1

Read Isaiah 35 Here we find hope. What has been declared in Christ already, we look forward to. “A prison cell, in which one waits, hopes, and is completely dependent on the fact that the door of freedom has to be opened from the outside is not a bad picture of advent.” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Further reading: Isaiah 30:27-35:1)

Week 1 of Advent: Matthew 1:18-2:18 (The King Who Was Scared of a Child)

The first week of advent approaches the book of Matthew 2:18-22. Here we see the story of Mary’s Virgin Birth, The wise men visiting King Herod and slaughter commanded by King Herod that God plucked Jesus from. Take time and read this story.

As we exit the story, one thing comes to mind:Did Herod remember Isaiah 35? It is certain he did, along with the rest of a nervous Jerusalem. If you start in 30:27 of Isaiah, you see a God who rides in rescuing His people from the grasps of foreign pagan rule. Everyone knew this was aimed at Rome in Jesus’ day. King Herod, a ruler sanctioned by Rome had much reason to be nervous. “This child could incite rebellion very quickly and dethrone me.” It’s no surprise that Herod did what he did. This is not much different from today. Most of us in the western modern and post modern world like to think we rule our own lives, thoughts, and actions. We think we are the masters and keepers of our own being. Although there is a truth hidden in that statement, our highest hope is that God fully saves and rules us here and now. We are not over everything and we have to trust a righteous and just God at the end of the day. What do you hear when you think of a God coming to rescue His remnant?

Are you still waiting for the Kingdom to come? Do you hope for escaping? Do you fear for your life? Do you hear that there is a place for you at this table? Do you see hope in Christ’s way of living? Do you react violently to His challenges to your way of living? The God we serve is one that has come and will always come to rescue his chosen ones (in Christian tradition, this is the Church). Find your self aligning with Isaiah as we approach the gospels the next few weeks.

COME, THOU LONG EXPECTED JESUS – CHARLES WESLEY

“Come, Thou long-expected Jesus Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us, Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s Strength and Consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art; Dear Desire of every nation, Joy of every longing heart. Born Thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King, Born to reign in us forever, Now Thy gracious kingdom bring. By Thine own eternal Spirit Rule in all our hearts alone; By Thine all-sufficient merit, Raise us to Thy glorious throne.”

I find a read through NT Wright’s Evil and the Justice of God a good help in understanding a God of the righteous remnant.

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