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 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 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