24 Days of Advent Scripture Devotionals

Day 24 – My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

Luke 2:25-38

Simeon in the Temple - Rembrandt

Simeon in the Temple – Rembrandt


We close out our 24 verses this year with the account of two people who watched and waited faithfully for the coming of the Messiah.

Simeon had a short “bucket list” with only one item. He was an elderly man and had waited for many years to see the Messiah with his own eyes having heard from the Lord that he would not die until this had happened. He had probably counted Daniel’s seventy sevens and knew that the time was near (Daniel 9); if only he could stay alive a little longer. Anna was also one of the few who were watching and waiting.

I hope you have had the privilege of knowing at least one crazy old person in your lifetime; and I mean crazy in a good way. One who has lived through enough hardship to really cherish the good times, with a frail body and a sharp mind that can give you that “look” that peers right into your soul. You’d be wise to listen when someone like that speaks to you.

God gave Mary and Joseph a precious gift on that day they brought Jesus to be dedicated in the temple. I’m sure they felt alone and had many doubts. Was this little helpless baby really the Promised One? Yes, they took the angel’s message on faith but who else would believe?

Mary and Joseph watched as their newborn son was taken up into Simeon’s arms. After he spoke his prophetic words and looked at them with those piercing eyes, they knew that they were not alone. Simeon believed and confirmed everything they had heard from the Lord.

Luke 2:25-38

And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.”

And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Song: Welcome to Our World

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting

Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home
Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven’s silence

Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

Day 23 – They Will Look on Me Whom They Have Pierced

Zechariah 12:10

“And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. – Zechariah 12:10

The Entombment of Christ - Amerighi da Caravaggio

The Entombment of Christ – Amerighi da Caravaggio


Back on Day 1, we began this journey through the Old Testament scriptures as we remembered the words of Jesus, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ (Messiah) to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26-27 NKJV)

Some prophecies are more tolerable than others; suitable for sentimental holiday cards and Facebook posts. During the Christmas season we rightly focus on the baby that was born, but let’s not forget the man that baby grew up to become.

We should all heed the rebuke that Jesus gave his followers after they had failed to learn that the suffering and death of the Messiah was all part of the plan. “Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things?”

The gospels recount that as Jesus was dying on the cross he cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Mark 15:34)

Jesus was referring to the prophecy written by David in Psalm 22. I wonder how many times he had recited that passage and thought, “This is about me. This is how I am going to die. Alone, rejected, suffering a cruel and painfully slow death.”

After the birth of the Messiah the angels sang, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” That peace was made for us by the Prince of Peace. He was “pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5-6)

Read the entire passage of Psalm 22 below. Ask God to pour out on you the Spirit of grace and supplication as was promised in Zechariah 12:10 as you thank Jesus for taking your place. Remember, he is alive. He is with you even now and freely offers you forgiveness of your sins.

Psalm 22

My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?
Why are You so far from helping Me,
And from the words of My groaning?
O My God, I cry in the daytime, but You do not hear;
And in the night season, and am not silent.

But You are holy,
Enthroned in the praises of Israel.
Our fathers trusted in You;
They trusted, and You delivered them.
They cried to You, and were delivered;
They trusted in You, and were not ashamed.

But I am a worm, and no man;
A reproach of men, and despised by the people.
All those who see Me ridicule Me;
They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,
“He trusted in the Lord, let Him rescue Him;
Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!”

But You are He who took Me out of the womb;
You made Me trust while on My mother’s breasts.
I was cast upon You from birth.
From My mother’s womb
You have been My God.
Be not far from Me,
For trouble is near;
For there is none to help.

Many bulls have surrounded Me;
Strong bulls of Bashan have encircled Me.
They gape at Me with their mouths,
Like a raging and roaring lion.

I am poured out like water,
And all My bones are out of joint;
My heart is like wax;
It has melted within Me.
My strength is dried up like a potsherd,
And My tongue clings to My jaws;
You have brought Me to the dust of death.

For dogs have surrounded Me;
The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me.
They pierced My hands and My feet;
I can count all My bones.
They look and stare at Me.
They divide My garments among them,
And for My clothing they cast lots.

But You, O Lord, do not be far from Me;
O My Strength, hasten to help Me!
Deliver Me from the sword,
My precious life from the power of the dog.
Save Me from the lion’s mouth
And from the horns of the wild oxen!

You have answered Me.

I will declare Your name to My brethren;
In the midst of the assembly I will praise You.
You who fear the Lord, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!
For He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted;
Nor has He hidden His face from Him;
But when He cried to Him, He heard.

My praise shall be of You in the great assembly;
I will pay My vows before those who fear Him.
The poor shall eat and be satisfied;
Those who seek Him will praise the Lord.
Let your heart live forever!

All the ends of the world
Shall remember and turn to the Lord,
And all the families of the nations
Shall worship before You.
For the kingdom is the Lord’s,
And He rules over the nations.

All the prosperous of the earth
Shall eat and worship;
All those who go down to the dust
Shall bow before Him,
Even he who cannot keep himself alive.

A posterity shall serve Him.
It will be recounted of the Lord to the next generation,
They will come and declare His righteousness to a people who will be born,
That He has done this.

Hymn: O Sacred Head Now Wounded

The words of this hymn are attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux in 1153. The tune is “Passion Chorale” by Hans Hassler and the harmony was developed by none other than J.S. Bach. Again, this one is not a traditional Christmas carol but very appropriate for today’s devotional.

O Sacred Head, now wounded,
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, Thine only crown
How pale Thou art with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How doth Thy visage languish
Which once was bright as morn!

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered,
T’was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
‘Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor,
Vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever,
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love for Thee.

Day 22 – O Little Town of Bethlehem

Micah 5:2

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.” – Micah 5:2 NKJV

“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see Thee lie; above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by…”

Bethlehem may have been a quaint little village at one time but during the census of Augustus Ceasar it was probably more like a refugee camp or a hurricane relief shelter. Yet in our sentimental story-telling we have sanitized the whole town and even the stink of the animal pen where Mary had to give birth.

The shepherd-king David was from Bethlehem. That’s where his great-grandparents Boaz and Ruth lived, as did Obed his grandfather and Jesse his father. There is no other significance in this little town and that is good news.

It is good news that the highest of kings lowered himself to be born in an insignificant place, during frustrating and inconvenient times, under the suspicion and scandal of a birth out of wedlock, in poverty and weakness. “For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. (Isaiah 53:2-3)

The significance of Bethlehem is that we can be assured that Messiah is able to sympathize with our weakness. Oh, and did you notice that the prophecy from Micah said about the Ruler to come, that his “goings forth are from of old, from everlasting?”

Hebrews 2:14-18

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. For indeed He does not give aid to angels, but He does give aid to the seed of Abraham. Therefore, in all things He had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.

Hebrews 4:15-16

For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Please take the time to listen to and watch this video of a song called “Winter Snow” and meditate on HOW he came.

Song: Winter Snow

You could’ve come like a mighty storm
With all the strength of a hurricane
You could’ve come like a forest fire
With the power of Heaven in Your flame

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

You could’ve swept in like a tidal wave
Or an ocean to ravish our hearts
You could have come through like a roaring flood
To wipe away the things we’ve scarred

But You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Your voice wasn’t in a bush burning
No, Your voice wasn’t in a rushing wind
It was still, it was small, it was hidden

You came like a winter snow
Quiet and soft and slow
Falling from the sky in the night
To the earth below

Day 21 – You Are My Flock

The Good Shepherd (Guter Hirte)  - Sieger Köder

The Good Shepherd (Guter Hirte) – Sieger Köder

Ezekiel 34

The shepherds of Israel, the teachers, scribes and priests, had become corrupt. They cared only for themselves and not for the people. The Lord gave this directive to the prophet Ezekiel, to pronounce “Woe” on the shepherds; to let them know that the Lord himself was going to “clean house”.

The word was given that God himself would search for his sheep and seek them out. This came to pass when the Good Shepherd, the Messiah came.

Ezekiel 34

And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord God to the shepherds: “Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.”

‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: “As I live,” says the Lord God, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”

‘For thus says the Lord God: “Indeed I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock on the day he is among his scattered sheep, so will I seek out My sheep and deliver them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land; I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, in the valleys and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them in good pasture, and their fold shall be on the high mountains of Israel. There they shall lie down in a good fold and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. I will feed My flock, and I will make them lie down,” says the Lord God. “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”

‘And as for you, O My flock, thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I shall judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and goats. Is it too little for you to have eaten up the good pasture, that you must tread down with your feet the residue of your pasture—and to have drunk of the clear waters, that you must foul the residue with your feet? And as for My flock, they eat what you have trampled with your feet, and they drink what you have fouled with your feet.”

‘Therefore thus says the Lord God to them: “Behold, I Myself will judge between the fat and the lean sheep. Because you have pushed with side and shoulder, butted all the weak ones with your horns, and scattered them abroad, therefore I will save My flock, and they shall no longer be a prey; and I will judge between sheep and sheep. I will establish one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them—My servant David. He shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the Lord, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I, the Lord, have spoken.

“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them. And they shall no longer be a prey for the nations, nor shall beasts of the land devour them; but they shall dwell safely, and no one shall make them afraid. I will raise up for them a garden of renown, and they shall no longer be consumed with hunger in the land, nor bear the shame of the Gentiles anymore. Thus they shall know that I, the Lord their God, am with them, and they, the house of Israel, are My people,” says the Lord God.’

“You are My flock, the flock of My pasture; you are men, and I am your God,” says the Lord God.

Jesus is commonly known as “The Good Shepherd” but most people don’t realize that he spoke of himself that way.

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep. – John 10:11

Song: He Shall Feed His Flock

A solo for Soprano voice from Handel’s Messiah.

Day 20 – A New Covenant

Prophet Jeremiah - Michelangelo

Prophet Jeremiah – Michelangelo

Jeremiah 31:31-33

Jeremiah had one of the most difficult jobs of all time. He was commanded to speak words of warning and judgement to the people even though no one would listen. Jeremiah 7:27: “Therefore you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not obey you. You shall also call to them, but they will not answer you.”

The “weeping prophet” delivered the bad news that Israel would go into captivity for their disobedience. The people had failed to keep the covenant with the Lord based on the law given to Moses. (Do you remember the ten commandments?)

The old covenant was established on man’s faithfulness to obey the law. If we obeyed the law we would be blessed. If we disobeyed we would be cursed. People have endeavored for centuries to keep the law with their own good works but all have failed. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

Even as Israel was already going into captivity, Jeremiah prophesied about some good news: a New Covenant.

Jeremiah 31:31-33

“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.

But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

“For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” That is the good news of the new covenant.

On the night before he was crucified, as he celebrated the Passover (Last Supper) with his followers, Jesus spoke of this new covenant.

Matthew 26:26-28

And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”

Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Good news! Incredibly wonderful, unbelievably awesome, most excellent news! The new covenant can’t be broken by our failure because it is not based on our performance.

But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises. – Hebrews 8:6

The new covenant is better because it was established on better promises. The one who established it is none other than the Messiah, Jesus Christ. The letter to the Hebrews also speaks about how Christ as our great High Priest has offered himself as “one sacrifice for sins forever”.

Hebrews 10:1-25

For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins. But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.

Therefore, when He came into the world, He said:

“Sacrifice and offering You did not desire,
But a body You have prepared for Me.
In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin
You had no pleasure.
Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—
In the volume of the book it is written of Me—
To do Your will, O God.’”

Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

And every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool. For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,

“This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Now where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for sin.

Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hymn: Arise, My Soul, Arise

Arise, my soul, arise; shake off thy guilty fears;
The bleeding sacrifice in my behalf appears:
Before the throne my surety stands,
Before the throne my surety stands,
My name is written on His hands.

He ever lives above, for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love, His precious blood, to plead:
His blood atoned for all our race,
His blood atoned for all our race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace.

Five bleeding wounds He bears; received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers; they strongly plead for me:
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Forgive him, O forgive,” they cry,
“Nor let that ransomed sinner die!”

The Father hears Him pray, His dear anointed One;
He cannot turn away, the presence of His Son;
His Spirit answers to the blood,
His Spirit answers to the blood,
And tells me I am born of God.

My God is reconciled; His pardoning voice I hear;
He owns me for His child; I can no longer fear:
With confidence I now draw nigh,
With confidence I now draw nigh,
And “Father, Abba, Father,” cry.

Three different arrangements to these powerful lyrics written by Charles Wesley…

Day 19 – The Son of Man

Cloud LIghtning - Blaine Franger

Cloud Lightning – Blaine Franger

Daniel 7:13-14

The prophet Daniel recounted an awesome vision:

I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.

Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed. – Daniel 7:

We know about the Ancient of Days, the LORD; Yahweh, Jehovah. Studying the Old Testament we observe:

  • “You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:3
  • “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” – Deuteronomy 6:4
  • “You shall fear the Lord your God and serve Him only, and shall take oaths in His name.” – Deuteronomy 6:13
  • “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another” – Isaiah 42:8
  • “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior” – Isaiah 43:11

In the Old Testament scriptures we also have this testimony of the Son:

  • ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You. Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession. – Psalm 2:7-8
  • Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him. – Psalm 2:11-12
  •  I will be his Father, and he shall be My son” – 2 Samuel 7:14
  • The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” – Psalm 110:1
  • “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” – Isaiah 9:6

Why would Yahweh, the Ancient of Days, give dominion and glory and a kingdom to a human being, the Son of Man, so that all peoples, nations and languages would serve him?

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” – Matthew 1:23, Isaiah 7:14

Hymn: Of the Father’s Love Begotten

Of the Father’s love begotten, ere the worlds began to be,
He is Alpha and Omega, He the source, the ending He,
Of the things that are, that have been,
And that future years shall see, evermore and evermore!

O that birth forever blessed, when the virgin, full of grace,
By the Holy Ghost conceiving, bare the Savior of our race;
And the Babe, the world’s Redeemer,
First revealed His sacred face, evermore and evermore!

This is He Whom seers in old time chanted of with one accord;
Whom the voices of the prophets promised in their faithful word;
Now He shines, the long expected,
Let creation praise its Lord, evermore and evermore!

O ye heights of heaven adore Him; angel hosts, His praises sing;
Powers, dominions, bow before Him, and extol our God and King!
Let no tongue on earth be silent,
Every voice in concert ring, evermore and evermore!

Christ, to Thee with God the Father, and, O Holy Ghost, to Thee,
Hymn and chant with high thanksgiving, and unwearied praises be:
Honor, glory, and dominion,
And eternal victory, evermore and evermore!

This arrangement is absolutely beautiful! The different parts are staggered to sound like an echo effect. No digital processing here. (NOTE: the recording ends long before the end of the video.)

Day 18 – A Bruised Reed He Will Not Break

A Study of Reeds – Claude Monet

He will not cry out, nor raise His voice, nor cause His voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed He will not break, and smoking flax He will not quench. – Isaiah 42:3

I love this description of the Messiah. Everybody may give up on you. You may give up on yourself. But he will see in you the smallest bit of faith and turn it into something great. As this passage in Isaiah says, he came “to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, those who sit in darkness from the prison house.”

Isaiah 42:1-9

“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold,
My Elect One in whom My soul delights!
I have put My Spirit upon Him;
He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

He will not cry out, nor raise His voice,
Nor cause His voice to be heard in the street.
A bruised reed He will not break,
And smoking flax He will not quench;

He will bring forth justice for truth.
He will not fail nor be discouraged,
Till He has established justice in the earth;
And the coastlands shall wait for His law.”

Thus says God the Lord,
Who created the heavens and stretched them out,
Who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those who walk on it:

“I, the Lord, have called You in righteousness,
And will hold Your hand;
I will keep You and give You as a covenant to the people,
As a light to the Gentiles,
To open blind eyes,
To bring out prisoners from the prison,
Those who sit in darkness from the prison house.

I am the Lord, that is My name;
And My glory I will not give to another,
Nor My praise to carved images.
Behold, the former things have come to pass,
And new things I declare;
Before they spring forth I tell you of them.”

Paul wrote that Jesus “became for us wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Wisdom is knowledge combined with judgment for a particular situation. Wisdom applies the truth to accomplish justice. As the passage above states: “He will bring forth justice for truth. He will not fail nor be discouraged, till He has established justice in the earth.”

Perfect Love. Perfect Justice. Perfect Wisdom. Thank you Lord, that you show mercy to all who will humble themselves and ask for it. Thank you that you will also bring justice on the earth. There is none like you!

Hymn: Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence

The words of this hymn come from the Liturgy of St. James from the 4th Century, set to A French Carol Melody by Picardy.

Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.

King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of Lords, in human vesture,
In the body and the blood;
He will give to all the faithful
His own self for heavenly food.

Rank on rank the host of heaven
Spreads its vanguard on the way,
As the Light of light descendeth
From the realms of endless day,
That the powers of hell may vanish
As the darkness clears away.

At His feet the six winged seraph,
Cherubim with sleepless eye,
Veil their faces to His presence,
As with ceaseless voice they cry:
Alleluia, Alleluia
Alleluia, Lord Most High!

I love this arrangement by Fernando Ortega.

Day 17 – He Lived Up To His Name

Dead Sea Scrolls Isaiah 12


The screenshot above comes from the online version of the Dead Sea Scrolls and shows the passage Isaiah 12:2. You can browse the Isaiah scroll online at http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/isaiah.

Isaiah 12

And in that day you will say:

“O Lord, I will praise You;
Though You were angry with me,
Your anger is turned away, and You comfort me.
Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘For Yah, the Lord, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”
Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
And in that day you will say:

“Praise the Lord, call upon His name;
Declare His deeds among the peoples,
Make mention that His name is exalted.
Sing to the Lord,
For He has done excellent things;
This is known in all the earth.
Cry out and shout, O inhabitant of Zion,
For great is the Holy One of Israel in your midst!”

The prophet Isaiah wrote, “the LORD is my salvation” and used the Hebrew word, yeshua, which means exactly that. The name Joshua has the same meaning and we know the name in the Greek form: Jesus.

Read the words of the angel Gabriel who gave instructions to Joseph on how to name Mary’s baby.

Matthew 1:20-25

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.

In many cultures, people give their children names which express something about their character or temperament. How wonderful that God would name his Son “The LORD is Salvation”. Jesus, Yeshua, definitely lived up to his name.

Song: King of Heaven

You tore the night apart
And ripped the silent skies in half
Your glory breaking through the dark

And here our worlds collide
Divinity in man confined
This great design drawn out for me

Emmanuel, God with us
Emmanuel, Hallelujah

You hold the ends of time
Yet placed Yourself here into mine
My life is now forever changed

Our eyes be lifted up
Our great eternal hope arise
This great design drawn out for me

In our silence
Heaven whispered out
In our darkness
Glory pierced the night
We were broken
But now we’re lifted up
King of heaven
God is here with us

Hallelujah
Angels crying aloud
Singing holy
All the praise resound
King of Heaven
On the Earth be found
King of Heaven
On the Earth be found

Day 16 – Unto Us

Clouds - Rick Tuttle

Clouds – Rick Tuttle

Isaiah 9:6-7

The prophet Isaiah wrote this beautiful passage during a dark time. It was not a time of peace. The promise was that the Messiah would be both human and divine.

Isaiah 9:6-7

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of His government and peace
There will be no end,
Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom,
To order it and establish it with judgment and justice
From that time forward, even forever.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

Isaiah also wrote of the Messiah as the suffering servant who would pay the penalty of our sin.

Isaiah 53:4-5

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.

We can reconcile these two prophecies by understanding that the Messiah would have two comings. He would come to be born and to offer himself as the perfect atoning sacrifice for our sins and to be raised from the dead. But he will come again. He said it himself, just before his death when he was being interrogated.

Mark 14:61-62

Again the high priest asked Him, saying to Him, “Are You the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”

Jesus said, “I am. And you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! – Revelation 22:20

Song: For Unto Us a Child is Born

Handel’s Messiah was a primary inspiration for me to write these devotionals based on the prophesies of Messiah’s coming. The entire oratorio (3 hours of music!) is based on scripture about Jesus The Messiah.

Song: Surely He Hath Born Our Griefs

This is one of my favorite parts of Messiah taken from Isaiah 53.

Day 15 – The Dayspring From On High

Forest Sunrise - Albert Bierstadt

Forest Sunrise – Albert Bierstadt

Isaiah 9:2

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. – Isaiah 9:2

Have you ever stayed up all night to await the sunrise? Once the darkest part of the night arrives it seems that moment will never come. You may decide to sleep and then miss the beauty.

A sunrise takes time. The darkness slowly becomes less dark. Then the blueish hues start to appear and then purple and pink. The sky becomes much brighter with added colors and reflections still before the sun has actually risen. And then suddenly, there it is. Most of the time you miss the appearance but then you can’t miss that bright gleam of the red, rising sun.

The Messiah is prophesied to be a light, a great light; and he came like the sunrise. For Israel, the time was dark and had been for a long time. People were waiting for the Messiah but very few were watching closely for the signs; most missed his appearance. He came softly, quietly, humbly and without any fanfare.

On the mountain, when God revealed himself to Moses, he told him “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live” (Exodus 33:20) and Paul describes the Holy One as “dwelling in unapproachable light, whom no man has seen or can see” (1 Timothy 6:16). But the writer of Hebrews 1 describes the Son of God as “the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person”.

No sinner can ever stand in the presence of a Holy God and live. And yet the Son set aside that glory and humbled himself and was born in the flesh, a human being whom we could see, hear and touch. He came to us just as that sunrise, approachable and allowing us to see his beauty, welcoming us to look and listen.

The last prophecy we have in scripture before the birth of Jesus was given by Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who had been unable to speak until he spoke the words “His name is John” and then prophesied about his son and about Jesus, the Messiah, the Dayspring (rising sun).

Luke 1:76-79

“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest;
For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
To give knowledge of salvation to His people
By the remission of their sins,

Through the tender mercy of our God,
With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death,
To guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Malachi 4:2

But to you who fear My name
The Sun of Righteousness shall arise
With healing in His wings;

Hymn: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

What an amazing Christmas carol this is! Charles Wesley wrote these beautiful words in 1739 and we sing them to a tune by Felix Mendelsohhn, arranged by William H. Cummings.

Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King,
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
Risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
Born that we no more may die,
Born to raise us from the earth,
Born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the new born King!”