24 Days of Advent Scripture Devotionals

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 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!”