“There was a time when the earth and everyone on it ached for the promised Savior. He would be the fulfillment of every promise, the incarnation of the Almighty God, the kingdom of heaven walking on earth. Every human heart longed for His arrival – His advent – whether or not they knew it by name. Even now, every heart aches for His return, for the Son of God to appear and make all things new.” – Amanda Williams
LIZZY VICK, HOPE OF ISRAEL
Let’s talk about ancient Israel.
Exiled from the land promised to them because they sought fulfilment and security in the wrong places. They were banished from their homeland, enslaved and oppressed by the new government they had come under, weary and unsettled.
Imagine someone appearing on this scene, amid oppression, and announcing a new promise, that a Savior would come and restore them. That a Messiah, the anointed one, the descendant of David would come and set all things to right again, and the government would be on His shoulders and He would rule with peace and justice forever.
Would you believe it? Could you find a way to hope for that promise to be fulfilled? How did they keep the hope?
I think it was through remembering and reminding. It was through often remembering the Word of the Lord. By remembering regularly that the same God who split the sea and led Israel out of slavery in Egypt, would do it again. It was through father reminding son, mother reminding daughter, prophet reminding a people. The Way Maker was making a way.
A people enslaved, oppressed, kicked out of their country and slighted by injustices being heralded with news that a perfect King was coming to establish His Kingdom and everlasting reign and catch this: they were made for this kingdom.
Oh, how they must have longed for this King. How they must have longed for a Messiah. And how they longed for hundreds of years before the prophecies would be fulfilled and a babe would be born in Bethlehem, the Savior of the world. They waited and hoped and remembered because they knew, deep in their bones, that they were made for a better Kingdom and this Kingdom was coming.
I can hardly fathom this as I think about how impatient I get after waiting for something a few months much less hundreds of years, generation after generation.
We too are awaiting the fulfillment of God’s promises. Let me tell you, there is hope in the waiting. For we also are made for a better Kingdom. The King has come, He reigns and He’s coming back.
Tertullian held the belief that Psalm 72 and Isaiah 60 were fulfilled upon the Magi’s visit.
CHARITY, THE FINAL HOPE
May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba
present him gifts.
May all kings bow down to him
and all nations serve him.
The Magi were most likely astrological advisors and kings from Persia (modern day Iran). They were the top in their field, well studied and experts in science and astrology. Diligent in their hope to find the babe-King they surveyed the rebuilt and restored Jerusalem and took their knowledge to King Herod. They disturbed all of Jerusalem. Wonder with me if Simeon in Jerusalem gave the news? I’m sure there was talk, to whom we do not know. But tell of Jesus, tell of hope fulfilled, yes he would!
Yes, I held him. In these weathered hands I held the hope of the kingdom and he lives in Bethlehem.
As men of influence and power these kings worshiped and welcomed the new reign to come. Their gifts and humility foretold in the year of Isaiah. The word of the prophet, kings coming to thy light, fulfilled.
You may have seen the movie Inception there is a dream within a dream within a dream. In a similar way in the prophecy’s fulfillment lay another prophecy. The gifts given are recorded to be remembered. It surprises me with so little we know about the wise men from the east that we know of their gifts. They must hold significance.
You may have heard of the symbolism of these gifts but let’s recall again. Gold because Christ is King, Frankincense because Christ is our Priest, and Myrrh because Christ would face death.
Christ, the Lamb of God offers his own blood by way of his death (myrrh) in his priestly role (frankincense) and hangs upon the cross with a sign King of the Jews (gold).
Read closely the record. Jesus secured the final hope of all the world, the abolishment of death and death’s power. However, first he had to battle it.
John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have the authority to lay it down and the authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.
Jesus has the authority and the power. And this King will see death destroyed. His enemies are to be put under him during his reign. This advent season know HE reigns now having conquered death.
1 Corinthians 15:25-27 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.”
LIZZY’S 2ND PART
The season of Advent is certainly one of looking back and remembering Jesus’ coming and how that changed the course of history. It is certainly a time of remembering how Jesus’ coming effects our lives today and what it means for us as a people. But it is also, without a doubt, a season to look forward and to remind each other, with great hope and expectation, of the return of our Savior who will set all things to right once and for all.
We remember and we remind.
So, too, in the Lord’s Supper.
For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 1 Corinthians 11:26
As we celebrate the Lord coming in all authority, He provides a way for us to celebrate in sweet intimacy by partaking in the bread and cup of communion. We reflect on all He’s done, we repent and confess our sins, thanking him for the forgiveness available now, and we do this while we look forward announcing this good news “until he comes.”
In this season of gifts, Jesus gives us the gift of communion to remember him and remind each other to keep hoping.
And, as the Magi gave Jesus gifts, Jesus gives us yet another gift.
The gifts the Magi gave Jesus announced the trajectory of his life: King, Priest, Sacrificial Lamb of God. In a similar way, Jesus gives us the gift of His Holy Spirit who announces the trajectory of our lives. He gives us the Holy Spirit as a deposit guaranteeing what is to come: full restoration in a new heaven and a new earth, citizens of heaven, where God’s dwelling place will finally be with man.
As Israel longed, the Spirit within us also longs for this coming reality. “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12
Take heart, have hope, be of good cheer, for Jesus is coming back and He will make all things new.