24 Days of Advent Scripture Devotionals

Day 14 – How Is He Then His Son?

Gustav Dore - Sermon on the Mount

Gustav Dore – Sermon on the Mount

Psalm 110

The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” – Psalm 110:1

The Messiah was called the Son of David because, as we have seen, God promised that a descendant of David would have an everlasting reign (2 Samuel 7). At the time of Jesus, this was readily understood because of the testimony of the prophets who confirmed this anticipation for a ruler to come from the line of David.

But why would David write, “The LORD said to my Lord” in this Psalm? That is exactly the question Jesus asked on one occasion:

Mark 12:35-37

Then Jesus answered and said, while He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ [Messiah] is the Son of David? For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:

‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’

Therefore David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; how is He then his Son?”

Good question. People readily believed that the Messiah would be a man, a physical descendant of David. But what Jesus was asking was whether they understood that the Messiah would also be the Son of God. You see, for the LORD (Yahweh) to say to “my Lord” (Adonai), “sit at my right hand” would mean that this Adonai would have the same authority and speak and act on his behalf.

Yahweh said, “you shall have no other God’s before me” (Exodus 20:3) and also said he would himself be Israel’s savior: “I, even I, am the Lord, and besides Me there is no savior.” (Isaiah 43:11); “I, the Lord, am your Savior, And your Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob” (Isaiah 49:25)

The Hebrew scriptures testify that the promised one, the Messiah, the Son of David would also be the LORD in the flesh: Immanuel – God With Us.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. – Isaiah 7:14

Hymn: Immanuel

Michael Card

A sign shall be given
A virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing
Undiminished deity
The glory of the nations
A light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace
His warm reality

Immanuel
Our God is with us
And if God is with us
Who could stand against us
Our God is with us
Immanuel

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come

So what will be your answer?
Will you hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His son
But gave him for us all
On earth there is no power
There is no depth or height
That could ever separate us
From the love of God in Christ

Day 13 – Nor Will You Allow Your Holy One to See Corruption

St Peter Preaching – Franz Anton Maulbertsch

Psalm 16:8-11

Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; my flesh also will rest in hope. For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption – Psalm 16:9-10

David was a king but he was also a prophet. This passage from Psalm 16 refers to the resurrection of the Holy One, the Messiah, and was quoted by the apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. Being filled with the Holy Spirit, he rose up and preached boldly to the Jews who had come from all over the world to Jerusalem. I’ll let Peter do the talking today:

Acts 2:22-39

“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. For David says concerning Him:

‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face,
For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.
Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
You have made known to me the ways of life;
You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

“Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

‘The Lord said to my Lord,
“Sit at My right hand,
Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

Hymn: In the First Light

In the first light of a new day no one knew he had arrived
Things continued as they had been while a newborn softly cried
But the heavens wrapped in wonder knew the meaning of his birth
In the weakness of a baby they knew God had come to earth

As his mother held him closely it was hard to understand
That her baby, not yet speaking, was the word of God to man
He would tell them of his kingdom but their hearts would not believe
They would hate him and in anger they would nail him to a tree

But the sadness would be broken as the song of life arose
And the firstborn of creation would ascend and take his throne
He had left it to redeem us but before his life began
He knew he’d come back, not as a baby, but as the Lord of every man

Hear the angels as they’re singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes again to earth
Hear the angels as they’re singing on the morning of his birth
But how much greater will our song be when he comes to rule the earth!

Day 12 – My Redeemer Lives

The Patient Job – Gerard Seghers

Job 19:25-27

For I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! – Job 19:25-27

The book of Job is included in the scriptures after the writings of Moses and the history of the kings of Israel. However, Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible since Job is believed to have lived around the time of Abraham.

I think it is amazing that even before the law was given, before any prophets lived, Job had faith in his Redeemer. He is speaking of the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, Job’s Redeemer. My Redeemer!

Now, isn’t it interesting as well that Job apparently believed in the resurrection from the dead and in eternal life. He also believed that God was his Redeemer. He said, “after my skin (flesh) is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God.” How could he, in his flesh, see God if his flesh had already been destroyed? He must be getting a new body?

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. – 1 John 3:1-3

Song: I Know That My Redeemer Liveth

Two Different Interpretations From Handel’s Messiah.

Day 11 – He Shall Build a House for My Name

2 Samuel 7:1-17

King David – Peter Paul Rubens

When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. – 2 Samuel 7:12-14

King David had defeated his enemies all around, the Ark had been brought back to Jerusalem, and he had built himself a house with cedar from the King of Tyre.

2 Samuel 7 begins with these verses: Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the Lord had given him rest from all his enemies all around, that the king said to Nathan the prophet, “See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells inside tent curtains.” Then Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” (2 Samuel 7:1-2)

David had a wonderful idea about what HE wanted to do for the Lord. He would build him a house to dwell in. How can we blame him for wanting to do something big for God? God had been with him through such a long and difficult struggle and had kept his promise to David and blessed him. Most of us understand David’s sentiment: God has been so good to me; I want to do something for him!

Nathan seemed to think it was a pretty good idea until God decided to tell them both what he was thinking:

2 Samuel 7:4-17

But it happened that night that the word of the Lord came to Nathan, saying, “Go and tell My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord: “Would you build a house for Me to dwell in? For I have not dwelt in a house since the time that I brought the children of Israel up from Egypt, even to this day, but have moved about in a tent and in a tabernacle. Wherever I have moved about with all the children of Israel, have I ever spoken a word to anyone from the tribes of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd My people Israel, saying, ‘Why have you not built Me a house of cedar?’”’ Now therefore, thus shall you say to My servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: “I took you from the sheepfold, from following the sheep, to be ruler over My people, over Israel. And I have been with you wherever you have gone, and have cut off all your enemies from before you, and have made you a great name, like the name of the great men who are on the earth. Moreover I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, that they may dwell in a place of their own and move no more; nor shall the sons of wickedness oppress them anymore, as previously, since the time that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel, and have caused you to rest from all your enemies.

Also the Lord tells you that He will make you a house.

“When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.”

According to all these words and according to all this vision, so Nathan spoke to David.

David is being rebuked for thinking too small of the Lord. This occurred early in his career as king. At this point he is ready to kick back and settle in. He’s got his house. He’ll build a house for God. It’s all good.

Please allow me some liberty with this illustration: If we were reading the New Bronx Translation, it may have read something like this:

  • David: Yo, God. I think I’m gonna build you a house. Yeah.
  • Nathan: Sownz good ta me.
  • God: Yo, Nathan. Whadda you thinkin? Go tell that David from me, “You wanna build me a house? You wanna build ME a house? Look, You were nothin’, NOTHIN’ and I made you the king. Yeah, that’s right. And another thing. You think you’re gonna build me a house? Nah. I’m gonna build YOU a house. Yeah.”

God sees the end from the beginning. This prophetic word given to David, like other prophecies in the scriptures, has multiple facets: some near term and others longer term. The first part refers to Solomon, David’s “seed”, whose kingdom was established after David and who built the temple. We are on this side of history and we know that Solomon committed iniquity and that the kings, descendants of David, disobeyed the Lord and even followed after other gods. God did “chasten” the descendants of David with the rod of men as we see in the captivity and exile.

But parts of this promise from God were not yet fulfilled when the history books of the Kings of Israel were written (1 & 2 Kings, 1 & 2 Chronicles). The rest of this prophecy refers to the Messiah, Jesus, the Son of David who was also the Son of God. Through the Messiah, God would fulfill this promise: “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his Father, and he shall be My son.”

Solomon built the Lord a physical temple that was later destroyed. But God is building the house that he promised he would build for David, even through David’s own “seed”, Jesus Christ.

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. – 1 Peter 2:4-5

Hymn: In The Bleak Midwinter

What a beautiful, melancholy hymn. Note the words of the second verse and their relevance to today’s subject. Christina Rosetti wrote the lyrics in 1872 and they are sung to the tune “Cranham” by Gustav Holst.

In the bleak mid-winter
Frosty wind made moan
Earth stood hard as iron
Water like a stone
Snow had fallen, snow on snow
Snow on snow
In the bleak mid-winter
Long ago

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign
In the bleak mid-winter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty
Jesus Christ

Enough for Him, whom cherubim
Worship night and day
A breast full of milk
And a manger full of hay
Enough for Him, whom angels
Fall down before
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air
But only His mother
In her maiden bliss
Worshipped the Beloved
With a kiss

What can I give Him
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb
If I were a wise man
I would do my part
Yet what I can I give Him
Give my heart

Day 10 – I Will Put My Words in His Mouth

Deuteronomy 18:18

Moses and the Ten Commandments – Marc Chagall

I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. – Deuteronomy 18:18

This prophecy from the book of Deuteronomy is recognized by the Jewish teachers to refer to the Messiah. But many do not believe that Yeshua (Jesus) is the Messiah and say that he is disqualified from fulfilling this prophecy because he said he was the Son of God.

Jesus came as a man (like Moses) and being a Jew was from “among their brethren”. Like Moses he was a prophet who brought the words of God to the people. He spoke and taught with authority as did Moses. He was the prophet that God promised to Moses and the people in Deuteronomy chapter 18.

Jesus said, “For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49 NKJV)

The Messiah was to be a prophet like Moses but he is so much more than Moses. He is the Son! The author of Hebrews writes, “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2 NKJV)

Since Jesus the Son was greater than the prophets, greater than the angels, “we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.” (Hebrews 2:1)

Hebrews 3:1-6

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was faithful in all His house. For this One has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as He who built the house has more honor than the house. For every house is built by someone, but He who built all things is God. And Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which would be spoken afterward, but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.

Song: Light of the World

Oh Jesus, son of God, so full of grace and truth
The Father’s saving word, so wonderful are You
The angels longed to see and prophets searched to find
The glory we have seen revealed

You shone upon the Earth but who will understand?
You came unto Your own but who will recognize?
Your birth was prophesied, for You were the Messiah
Who came and walked upon the Earth
Your glory we have seen, the one and only King
And now You’re living in our hearts

Light of the world, light of the world
Light of the world, You shine upon us

In You all things were made and nothing without You
In Heaven and on Earth all things are held in You
And yet You became flesh, living as one of us
Under the shadow of the cross
Where, through the blood You shed
You have made peace again
Peace for the world that God so loves

Day 9 – A Clue For the Magi

Numbers 24:17

Prophet Balaam and the Donkey – Rembrandt

You may have heard of Balaam. He’s the guy who had a conversation with his donkey. You can read about it in Numbers 22. Balaam was hired by Balak, an enemy of Israel, to curse the people of God. Balaam should have had the sense to immediately reject the offer but he entertained it and the Lord used him anyway to turn Balak’s plan upside down. Truth is truth, even if the mouthpiece is imperfect just as that donkey spoke to Balaam, Balaam in his rebellion spoke this prophecy about the Messiah:

I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter shall rise out of Israel” – Number 24:17

Here we have another prophecy about a scepter (ruler) coming out of Israel, but what about the Star coming out of Jacob? Prophecy is often poetic and we could take this to be a metaphor like other names for the Messiah such as the “Bright and Morning Star”, “Sun of Righteousness” or the “Dayspring”.

But one group of science geeks from Persia took this literally. We know them as the Magi or the Wise Men and they believed that astronomical events always had some significance. But why would the Persian star gazers have even had this prophecy from the Hebrew scriptures on their radar? Could there be anyone who may have introduced the Hebrew scriptures to the Persian magicians and astronomers?

It was probably Belteshazzar, also known as the prophet Daniel. As a young man, Daniel was taken captive by the Babylonians and instructed in all of their ways and customs. God used him to miraculously interpret the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar who made him the chief of his magicians and astronomers. I believe that the Torah (writings of Moses), wisdom books and other history books that we have in the Old Testament were brought to Babylon and became part of their library books. It is not documented, but I would guess that Daniel introduced this prophecy to the seers and that he knew that it spoke of the coming Messiah. Daniel himself wrote prophetically about the coming of the Son of Man (see Daniel chapters 7 and 9) and if anyone was paying attention to his prophecy of the seventy weeks they could have been able to estimate the time period when the Messiah would be born.

We don’t know exactly when Jesus was born but many scholars believe it was between 4 and 2 BC. There is evidence of astronomical conjunctions in 2 and 1 BC between the planets Jupiter and Venus and the star Regulus that would have been viewed as signs of a royal birth. The planet Jupiter “rose” in the East during September of 2 BC as seen from Persia and during the following months “traveled” across the sky to the West where there was a second conjunction with Regulus towards the direction of Judea. This very well could have been a sign to the Magi that they were to travel west to Jerusalem. Conjunctions between Venus, Jupiter and Regulus are common but it was a rarity that they would occur multiple times during the span of several months.

The gentile astronomers from the East were watching and were rewarded with being able to see with their own eyes, the star in the sky as well as the “Star” in the manger. Isn’t it interesting that most of the people of Israel were clueless in regards to the timing of Jesus’ birth but the Magi were watching and then obediently sought to worship the newborn King.

Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him. – Matthew 2:2

Hymn: There’s a Song in the Air

There’s a song in the air!
There’s a star in the sky!
There’s a mother’s deep prayer
and a baby’s low cry!
And the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

There’s a tumult of joy
o’er the wonderful birth,
for the virgin’s sweet boy
is the Lord of the earth.
Ay! the star rains its fire
while the beautiful sing,
for the manger of Bethlehem
cradles a King!

In the light of that star
lie the ages impearled;
and that song from afar
has swept over the world.
Every hearth is aflame,
and the beautiful sing
in the homes of the nations
that Jesus is King!

We rejoice in the light,
and we echo the song
that comes down through the night
from the heavenly throng.
Ay! we shout to the lovely
evangel they bring,
and we greet in his cradle
our Savior and King!

Note: I used to make fun of old Slim Whitman’s greatest hits commercials when I was growing up. Here is my payback. LOL

Day 8 – Submit to the Remedy

Moses and the Brazen Serpent – Sébastien Bourdon

Numbers 21:8-9

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a pole; and it shall be that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, shall live.” So Moses made a bronze serpent, and put it on a pole; and so it was, if a serpent had bitten anyone, when he looked at the bronze serpent, he lived. – Numbers 21:8-9

In just a few short verses in the book of Numbers we read how the people spoke out to Moses against God, “Why have you brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? For there is no food and no water, and our soul loathes this worthless bread.” (Numbers 21:5)

Manna, the miraculous bread from heaven had now become “worthless bread” and the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people and those who were bitten died. God told Moses to make a serpent and put it up on a pole. Anyone who simply looked at the serpent would live even if they had been bitten.

I wonder how many perished because they would rather die than humble themselves and look at the foolish serpent up on a pole. It makes me think of my own stubborn heart when I have refused to admit my own fault. Or those of us who are parents may have had those times when we have required our child to apologize to a sibling and have waited for hours for those simple words, “I’m sorry” to be uttered.

What a strange story with eternal implications. The remedy was easily understood and did not require any particular skill: just look at the serpent on the pole. But the act of looking did require that each person admit their fault and submit to the remedy no matter how foolish it seemed. Sadly, with the cure freely given and right in front of them, many died in their stubbon pride.

On one occasion, Nicodemus, a teacher of the law and one very familiar with this story, came to ask Jesus about eternal life. Jesus, told him something that seemed foolish: you must be born again. He then told him how like that serpent that Moses put on a pole, the Son of Man must be lifted up and that “whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” So many people have heard those famous words from John 3:16 but few do what is required: admit their sin and submit to the remedy.

John 3:14-17

And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

The apostle Paul wrote the believers in Corinth the following words which are just as true today as they were in the 1st century…

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. – 1 Corinthians 1:18

Hymn: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

Emily Elliot wrote these words in 1864 and they were set to the tune “Margaret” in 1876. I love the way the verses tell the matter of fact story of Jesus’ life while the refrain is a personal plea for the Savior to make his home in my heart. There was no room at the inn but there is “room in my heart for Thee.”

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown
When Thou camest to earth for me
But in Bethlehem’s home was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for Thee

Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang
Proclaiming Thy royal degree
But of lowly birth didst Thou come to earth
And in great humility
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for Thee

The foxes found rest, and the birds their nest
In the shade of the forest tree
But Thy couch was the sod, O Thou Son of God
In the deserts of Galilee
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for Thee

Thou camest, O Lord, with the living Word
That should set Thy people free
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn
They bore Thee to Calvary
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus
There is room in my heart for Thee

When the heavens shall ring, and her choirs sing
At Thy coming to victory
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room
There is room at My side for thee”
My heart shall rejoice, Lord Jesus
When Thou comest and callest for me

Day 7 – Mercy!

Leviticus 16:15-16

Then he shall kill the goat of the sin offering, which is for the people, bring its blood inside the veil, do with that blood as he did with the blood of the bull, and sprinkle it on the mercy seat and before the mercy seat. So he shall make atonement for the Holy Place, because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions, for all their sins; and so he shall do for the tabernacle of meeting which remains among them in the midst of their uncleanness. – Leviticus 16:15-16

In Leviticus chapter 16, we read how the Lord spoke to Moses and gave him specific instructions for how the high priest should offer the sacrifice of atonement. “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat.” (Leviticus 16:2)

The mercy seat, kapporeth in Hebrew, is the top lid of the Ark of the Covenant on which the blood of the sacrifice of atonement was sprinkled by the high priest. There were three items inside the ark, the stone tablets inscribed with the ten commandments, Aaron’s almond rod which had budded and a gold jar of manna. There is significance in the fact that the mercy seat covered the law; as the blood of atonement was sprinkled, sin was covered and the people forgiven. This was done, once a year, every year to forgive the sins committed that year.

In the Septuagint (LXX), the Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures, the word hilasterion was used to translate kapporeth, or mercy seat. Hilasterion, is used in Hebrews 9:4-5 in describing “the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant; and above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat (hilasterion).”

Hilasterion is also used to mean the sacrifice of atonement in the letter to the Romans and is translated as the English word propitiation.

Romans 3:21-26

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Jesus is our propitiation. He is the mercy seat that covers our sin. We read in the book of Hebrews that Jesus is our High Priest who offered his own blood as the sacrifice for our sins.

Hebrews 9:22-28

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.

Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens should be purified with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; not that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another— He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

The apostle John also tells us that God loved us so much that he gave us his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Thank you Jesus!

In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. – 1 John 4:10

Hymn: What Child is This?

In 1865 William Dix wrote these words sung to the tune of the 16th Century melody “Greensleeves”. You seldom hear the verse that says “Nail, spear shall pierce him through, the Cross be borne for me, for you.” We should always remember that the baby born in a manger grew up to be a man who went to the cross for me and for you.

What child is this, who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing
Haste, haste to bring Him laud
The babe, the son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading
Nails, spear shall pierce him through
The Cross be borne for me, for you
Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh
The babe, the son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him!
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!
Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! joy! for Christ is born,
The babe, the son of Mary!

Day 6 – Bread From Heaven

Exodus 16:14-15

Manna From Heaven – Stained Glass – Priory Church, Great Malvern

And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. – Exodus 16:14-15

God has a sense of humor. The people in the wilderness were grumbling about not having any food to eat and he miraculously provided food that was like white round drops of dew on the grass and tasted like honey wafers. “Manna” sounds very spiritual but it actually means, “What is this stuff?” The people lived on “What is it” for 40 years until they entered the promised land.

In John chapter 6 we read the account of how the multitudes flocked to see Jesus after he fed the five thousand. Jesus had a prime opportunity to capitalize on his new rise in popularity; everybody was talking about it and coming to see the next miracle with the hopes of getting some free food!

However, the Son of Man does not take polls.

Jesus gave the following discourse as he rebuked the people for their spiritual blindness and offered them what would really satisfy: himself.

John 6:26-40

Jesus answered them and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not labor for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”

Then they said to Him, “What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?”

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.”

Therefore they said to Him, “What sign will You perform then, that we may see it and believe You? What work will You do? Our fathers ate the manna in the desert; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, Moses did not give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”

Then they said to Him, “Lord, give us this bread always.”

And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

The people who heard these words dreamed of seeing or tasting the “What is it”. I believe that God has a sense of humor because he miraculously provided this “stuff” that the people ate for 40 years knowing that like any of us they would grow tired of the daily routine and the lack of variety. It makes me think of Keith Green’s old song, “So You Want to Go Back to Egypt” where the people are complaining, “Manna again? Manna-burgers, Ba-Manna Bread, Manna-cotti?”

God provided for them and kept them alive but played a little joke on them by giving them stuff that would not completely satisfy. Isn’t that like everything that we try to fill ourselves with in this life that is not from the Source of Life? We have an opportunity to write the punchline to God’s joke: we can believe in Him whom he sent and laugh along or we can be miserable and eat our spoiling manna.

I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. – John 6:35 NKJV

Hungry

This worship song by Kathryn Scott is not a Christmas song but it speaks of a hunger for Jesus and that He alone can satisfy.

Hungry, I come to You
For I know You satisfy
I am empty but I know
Your love does not run dry

So I wait for You, So I wait for You

I’m falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for

Broken, I run to You
For Your arms are open wide
I am weary but I know
Your love does not run dry

So I wait for You, So I wait for You

I’m falling on my knees
Offering all of me
Jesus, You’re all this heart is living for

Day 5 – An Everlasting Remembrance

Exodus 12:12-14

For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the Lord. Now the blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you are. And when I see the blood, I will pass over you; and the plague shall not be on you to destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance. – Exodus 12:12-14

We read of the Passover in Exodus chapter 12 when the Lord commanded his people to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and put its blood on the two doorposts and the lintel of their homes. The Lord struck the entire land of Egypt and killed every firstborn male but he passed over the homes that were covered with the blood.

This night was a defining moment for the Jewish people. The Lord commanded in Exodus 12:1, “This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you.” With this first feast the Jewish religious calendar was instituted beginning with Passover and the people were commanded to keep the feast as an everlasting remembrance.

The night before he was to be crucified, Jesus celebrated the Passover with his closest friends. He gave them an example of his servant heart by washing their dirty feet. They enjoyed the meal together. Then Jesus did something that they would not understand until much later. He took the bread and said, “this is my body that is broken for you” and took the wine and said, “this is my blood that is shed for you.” He said “do this in remembrance of me.”

We have heard this called the institution of the Lord’s Supper, also known as Communion. But let’s not miss what Jesus was really doing here. He did more than just start something new; he took what had already been given (the Passover) and fulfilled it! He said in Matthew 5:17, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”

The elements of the Passover: the lamb, the blood, the Lord passing over and sparing the people from death, the yearly remembrance all served to prepare us for the coming of the Messiah who would say (my paraphrase), “In the same way that this lamb’s body was broken and it’s blood shed to spare you from death, my body will be be broken and my blood shed for you.” He then told them to keep doing this in remembrance of him. He was not telling them to stop celebrating the Passover but that from now on their celebration would be about the fulfilling of the Passover.

Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. – 1 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV

Song: Holy Lamb of God

A virgin cried when You were born
Tears of joy and tears of pain
As Heaven’s angels watched in wonder
How could You, the Ancient One
In the frame of man be bound
Lying there with feet and hands
Fully God and fully Man

Who could see and who could know
You had left Your Kingdom’s Throne
Baby crying in a manger?
You had come to give Your life
As a holy sacrifice
Nails would pierce your feet and hands
For every heart and every man

Holy Lamb of God, how we love You
Shepherd of our hearts, how we praise You
We were blind and lost, but You came to rescue us
And we thank You, Holy Lamb of God

Now You are the risen One
All You came to do You’ve done
On this Christmas, we remember
How Love came down to set us free
From our sin and from our fear
Lord of all we bow our hearts
To the wonder that You are