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 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!”

Day 1 – Messiah Gives a Bible Study

The Road to Emmaus – Robert Zund

Luke 24:27

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:27 NKJV)

When I was a kid my grandparents had a painting in their home of the Messiah walking with the two men on the Road to Emmaus. I remember hearing the story about how the resurrected Jesus met the travelers and discussed with them the latest news from Jerusalem. What I don’t seem to have grasped at the time was that Jesus rebuked the two for not knowing what the Old Testament scriptures taught: that Messiah would suffer, be executed and would rise again.

He said to them, “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?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:26-27 NKJV)

I wonder what it would have been like to be a part of that Bible study with Jesus himself, explaining from the scriptures all of the prophesies concerning himself and that all that had come to pass had been part of the plan. I can’t wait to hear it from him with my own ears!

Today’s passage from the Gospel of Luke sets the stage for the next 24 days of advent. Each day we will look at one key verse of scripture along with related passages that may have been a part of the Messiah’s Bible study concerning himself. We’ll begin with some scriptures from the Torah, written by Moses (the first five books of the Old Testament). Then we will also look at scriptures from the prophets, including Samuel, Isaiah, Jeremiah and David who in addition to being a prophet was also a king.

Luke 24:13-35 NKJV

Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.

And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”

Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?”

And He said to them, “What things?”

So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”

Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.

Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.

And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.


Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Charles Wesley wrote the words to this Advent hymn in 1745. It is usually sung to the tune of Hyfyrdol, a Welsh tune composed by Rowland Pritchard. The tune is used in several other Christian hymns.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Joy to those who long to see thee,
Dayspring from on high, appear;
Come, thou promised Rod of Jesse,
Of thy birth we long to hear!
O’er the hills the angels singing
News, glad tidings of a birth;
“Go to him, your praises bringing;
Christ the Lord has come to earth.”

Come to earth to taste our sadness,
He whose glories knew no end;
By his life he brings us gladness,
Our Redeemer, Shepherd, Friend.
Leaving riches without number,
Born within a cattle stall;
This the everlasting wonder,
Christ was born the Lord of all.

Born thy people to deliver,
Born a child and yet a King,
Born to reign in us forever,
Now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By thine all sufficient merit,
Raise us to thy glorious throne.