Today we are discussing the first week of ADVENT: HOPE If ADVENT is a completely new concept to you, be sure and check out the previous episode for a full discussion. It’s fairly new to me too, I am excited that this is something we can learn about together.
For just a quick review, ADVENT spans over four Sundays before Christmas Day,
with a different focus every week: HOPE, Faith, Joy, Peace
ADVENT in Latin means “Coming”
and the practice of ADVENT is something that helps “disciplines us to wait”
Since I am not a professional on the subject, here is a quote from someone who is,
Theologian Joel Muddlemalle, he says, “The benefit of practicing ADVENT is it tells of the first coming of Jesus and prepares us for His Second Coming. We are attuning our hearts to the PROMISE Jesus will return.
ADVENT produces ADORATION, ANTICIPATION, and AIMS our longings.”
I want that! Don’t you?
….. a shift in my heart away from the world to encounter more of Jesus!
ADVENT is not intended to be a legalistic thing,
…checking off another box on our “to-do” list…
but a love thing to make Jesus the object of our affection and worship, to make Him a priority in our hearts, our homes, our decisions and desires.
And we can believe in the HOPE of His Second Coming because of how God showed His faithfulness to us and kept His promises in Jesus’ first coming.
Hebrews chapter 11 (The Faith Chapter) tells a summary of many of the men and women in the Old Testament, the “Heroes of the Faith” who believed in God’s faithfulness, they believed God was trustworthy, even without receiving The Promise of Jesus. They had HOPE…they believed and their faith was counted to them as righteousness.
Hebrews 11:1 from the KJV says “Now faith (complete trust, confidence) is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence (indication, proof) of things not seen.”
“Hope is what fueled their faith, ….HOPE fuels our faith.”
God stood beside these men and women through infertility, slavery, injustice, wars, peace, lack, and harvest. He gave HOPE to humanity and was faithful to encourage, teach, show mercy and walk alongside mankind throughout all of history, starting in the Garden of Eden.
Did you know that the first promise of redemption for mankind was in the Garden of Eden?
Right after Adam and Eve chose to listen to the serpent and eat from the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.” God gave HOPE to humanity with the promise of Jesus.
Genesis 3:15 was the very first glimmer of The Gospel, to the serpent God promised, “I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head and you shall bruise His heel.” ESV Genesis 3:15
Also, through the prophets, God reminded Israel of His eternal covenant of redemption He would bring through Christ. The prophet Jeremiah spoke in chapter 33 verses 14-16, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord when I will fulfill the promise I made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15 In those days and that time [meaning the days when Jesus would come to earth and dwell among us] I will cause a righteous Branch to spring up for David, [Jesus is the righteous Branch Jeremiah is speaking of and he is proclaiming God will keep His promise of Jesus to be born through the genealogy of King David, if you’re interested you can read the full genealogy in Matthew chapter 1] and He shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. 16 In those days Judah will be saved, and Jerusalem will dwell securely. And this is the name by which it [Jesus] will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’” ESV
Today, we have a gift that humanity waited thousands and thousands of years to receive.
Today we do not have to wait any longer to receive God’s promise, of salvation.
God’s promise was fulfilled in the gift of JESUS, His precious Son.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
That baby, born in a manger on that bustling night in Bethlehem, when Mary and Joseph arrived to pay their taxes. How fitting it was for Jesus was born in the birthplace of King David. God never misses a detail.
The wait is over.
Christ’s birth, life, death, and resurrection give us eternal hope.
The Apostle Peter writes to believers in his first letter to the church that those who repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ are born again to a living hope. He says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last days.” ESV, 1 Peter 1:3-5