Christianity 201

November 26, 2022

Advent: A Promise is About to be Realized

Filed under: Christianity - Devotions — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:33 pm
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This devotional was originally scheduled for Saturday and ties in with the first Sunday of Advent, Hope Sunday.

Today we’re back for a third time with who writes at Our Living Hope. Click the title which follows to read this where it first appeared.

The Advent: A Divine Fulfillment

“All the promises of God are yes and Amen in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 1:20).

The Advent of Christ is the fulfillment of God’s promise to mankind, the word became flesh to show the world that the word of God will stand the test of time and will never pass away. As the world is facing lot of challenges, it’s important that we stand on those promises and offer hope to a hurting world. Through the incarnation of Christ God has assured us that he is Emmanuel, he will be with us always, even until the end.

The first Christmas saw a great rejoicing over the birth of Christ, the Angels sang, the shepherds shared, the people were amazed and the wise men worshiped, since God fulfilled what he had promised to his people. Even today Christ stands as a sign that God is able to fulfill his promises, to be a Saviour, to be a good shepherd, to be an everlasting King, So as to fulfill his eternal plan on this earth, that all might have hope.

It fulfilled the Scriptures:

“……and so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet. ‘Out of Egypt I called my Son’. Matthew 2:15

There are four times in Matthew 1&2 its been written that certain incidents happened to fulfill what was told through the prophets found in the scriptures. The prophetic word and the divine revelation of the Holyspirit came in to life through the birth of Jesus. All through his life Jesus fulfilled the scriptures, it is the reason on the road to Emmaus, he opened the scriptures to the disciples and showed both from the Law and the Prophets all that was mentioned about him. Jesus is the central truth of the Bible, the old projects upon it, and the new proceeds out of it, and his advent becomes the focal point of human history. All the promises found in the scriptures leads to Christ and through Christ it becomes relevant in our lives. When the prophetic word comes to life it becomes life giving as in the life of Jesus. From Genesis to Revelation the Bible orients itself towards consummation of God’s everlasting will, on earth as it is in Heaven. Jesus fulfilled all the prophetic word that was said about him, and the advent began that divine process, as the prophetic word spoken to Mary began to unfold the advent story unwraps itself to reveal the word to the world.

It fulfilled the appointed time:

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,”. Galatians 4:4.

God’s promises and God’s time are inseparable and one in the same. The revealed word requires an appointed time. The Promise of Christ was mentioned in the early pages of the Bible, but it took centuries to be fulfilled. Prophet Isaiah proclaimed the prophecy of his birth almost six hundred years back. Its fascinating that God revealed his promise of Christ through his prophets much before its fulfillment shows his wisdom which is far beyond and that he is ahead of our time, to prepare us for the task ahead. Simeon and Anna in God’s appointed time saw the glory of God they desired. Elizabeth was too old to conceive, but for Mary it was too early, our time belongs to God! The advent of Christ established God’s sovereign authority over our time. It was during the edict of Augustus for a kingdom wide census, it was when Herod tried to gain the people’s favour by refurbishing the second temple, when Judea was seeing many nationalistic uprisings, and Rome was strengthening its authority all over its kingdom through administration, military and transport. It was God’s chosen time to enter man’s history and forever made it his story. Jesus stepped in when the set time had fully come, he fulfilled God’s appointed time. The right time is always His time!

It Fulfilled the work of Faith:

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” Luke 1:34.

‘Faith makes all things possible, but it doesn’t make all things comfortable’. Just because its from God, it doesn’t mean it has to be easy. The first message of Christ’s birth was received with a doubt, Mary said ‘How can this be?’ and Joseph secretly planned to put her away. The human response to God’s plans are always with fear and doubt, because it’s always beyond human conceptions and thoughts, and God understands it and he alone deserves the Glory. He strengthened both Mary and Joseph beyond their doubts to carry out his will. God just revealed them his plan, but didn’t tell all the struggles they had to go through to bring out Jesus. God designed the advent story to be a faith story. God’s sovereign plan need a faith response, and God gives us that grace even in the midst of weakness and struggles. Joseph and Mary had to go through the struggle to bring out God’s promise of Christ. Mary had to go through shame as well as Joseph, they had to go through the times of unknown, constant shuffling from one place to another. It was a human struggle for a divine purpose, but God was with them every step of the way. Even the Magi needed to have faith to find the King in a manger, to become a part of that advent story, they were wise because they had faith to seek. Every faith story involves struggles, and God gives us grace to fulfill the work of faith. Those infants of Bethlehem killed by Herod I believe are the martyrs of the same faith. Even today the birth of Christ inspires us because it’s a story of faith beyond human struggles, fears and uncertainties. God just doesn’t give the promise, he also gives the faith to fulfill it.

It fulfilled the call to follow:

“But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus”. Matthew 1:25.

The greatest gift we can enjoy in this world is the very present guidance of the Lord. The advent story had God’s guidance every step of the way. Jesus followed God’s mandate in obedience to be a part of our human family and how it changed human history for good? Just his humility to give himself under our care as a child, he trusts us too, who are so unworthy and that’s hope! Everybody came together on that night because Jesus was at the centre of their desire. Joseph and Mary followed God’s guidance in bringing Christ in to this world, we can see in those verses that every time God spoke to Joseph and guided him, he responded with obedience. Joseph could have thought what does the redeemer promised to Israel going to do as a refugee in Egypt? But he still followed. Many times it’s not easy, following can be tough, but the advent story became a reality through God’s divine guidance in the life of a follower. Every time Christ’s birth is told and retold it will never be complete without the part of Mary and Joseph. The advent story is about the people who followed. Their perseverance to follow gave them the privilege to name the Son of God, the Saviour of the world and the King of all the earth as ‘Jesus’!

As we enter the season to remember Christ’s birth, lets acknowledge that its our story too. He came for every single person of this world, so that every one can become part of his plan. Jesus is the promise of God unto mankind and through whom every other promises are Yes and Amen. Jesus is the promise and assurance of God’s love to all humanity, in Love this kingdom is established and this promise of Love is to save everyone who believes,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life”. John 3:16.

It is the reason his first coming is as relevant even today as his second. Even with all the joy and excitement of the season, we also cannot forget the unfinished work that is ahead us, in reaching all and invite everyone to partake in the promise of God’s unfailing love through which humanity can find hope. We also enter this season with a sense of paradox understanding both the joys and responsibilities as those who become part of the promise to look forward and prepare others to look to another promise as well, A. Peter gives us a glimpse in to the heart of God, that he doesn’t want anyone to perish,

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance”. 2 Peter 3:9.

Come Thou fount of every blessing
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace
Streams of mercy never ceasing
Call for songs of loudest praise

Teach me some melodious sonnet
Sung by flaming tongues above
Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it
Mount of Thy redeeming love

Here I raise my Ebenezer
Here by Thy great help I’ve come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home

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