Advent Sunday 3

Advent3I have really enjoyed this journey through the Sundays of Advent. I wrote the first article on the First Sunday of Advent and you can read it here. The previous Advent article was on the Second Sunday of Advent and you can read it here. I have learned a lot about the traditions of advent. I have thoroughly enjoyed walking through the Scriptures that point to the First and Second Advent of Jesus Christ.

I. Isaiah wrote of the First and Second Advent

Much of Isaiah’s writings deal with the First and Second Advent. In this passage, the first two verses deal with the First Advent and then the rest of the verses deal with the Second Advent of the Messiah.

1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD (Isaiah 61)

According to Isaiah, when the First Advent takes place, the Messiah will come and share the salvation of the Lord with the common people. I want to reflect on the names that Isaiah uses for God in this text. In the Old Testament Jewish culture, a name was synonymous with character. Each name of God represents an aspect of God’s character. The English word “Lord” is a translation of the Hebrew word “Adonai“. The Hebrew word “Adonai” means “Supreme Ruler, Master“. The coming Messiah is going to surrender to the leadership of Adonai in His life. When we study the life of Jesus Christ in the Gospels, we discover that Jesus fulfills this Messianic Prophecy written by Isaiah.

Therefore Jesus answered and was saying to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner. (John 5:19)

49 “For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.
50 “I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (John 12)

Jesus, during His earthly ministry, surrendered to Adonai. Jesus fulfilled the Messianic Prophecy laid out by Isaiah over six-hundred years before the birth of Christ. The second name used for God by Isaiah is “Jehovah“. Jehovah is translated into English as “God“. This describes God as the Self-Existing One. God exists in Himself. He does not depend on any outside sources. He does not need Isaiah in order to accomplish this task. He could do it all by Himself. He chooses to invite Isaiah to be a part of what He is doing. Isaiah will benefit from this calling, not Jehovah. The third name used for God by Isaiah is “Elohim”. It is also translated into English as God. This describes God as the All-Powerful Creator God. He created Isaiah. He created time, space, and matter. He spoke the universe into existence. The things that He has promised to do for humanity via the Messiah are not difficult for Him. When the Messiah comes, He will minister according to the road map laid out by Isaiah in the first two verses of chapter sixty-one. At the First Advent, the Messiah would minister to people who are utterly destitute when it comes to spiritual things, to people who are held captive by their sin nature, to people who are spiritually blind, without understanding, and to people who are oppressed by the consequences of their sinful lifestyle. That is every single human being who has ever existed, apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Take a look at what is written about Jesus when He visited His hometown synagogue.



20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.

22 And all were speaking well of Him, and wondering at the gracious words which were falling from His lips; and they were saying, “Is this not Joseph’s son?” (Luke 4)

This is Isaiah’s Messianic Prophecy that the Jews were very familiar with from their synagogue attendance. Jesus does not read all of the text. He only reads verse one and half of verse two. Why? Jesus does this because the part that He reads deals with the Messiah’s First Advent to the earth and the part that Jesus did not read deals with the Messiah’s Second Advent to this earth. Since Jesus is the fulfillment of the First Advent, there was no need to read the rest of verse two. That was future for them and is still future for us. That means that the rest of Isaiah sixty-one deals with the Second Advent.

II. Mary spoke of the First Advent

This reading from the Gospel of Luke chapter one, is what is known as Mary’s song of praise. She composes this song after learning that she will give birth to the Messiah. Mary praises God based on her knowledge and understanding of the character of God.

46 And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord,
47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. (Luke 1)

Mary refers to God as the Lord. The word of “Lord” in the Greek language is “kurios“. This word means “supreme ruler or master“. Mary has a relationship with God because she has bowed her knee to Him as the Lord of her life. This is the same thing that happened to Abraham in the book of Genesis. Abraham connected with God because God revealed Himself to Abraham as Lord. Abraham bowed his knee to God as his Lord. Mary, being a student of the Word of God, responds to God the same way that Abraham did. Not only does Mary acknowledge God as Lord, she also acknowledges Him as Savior (Rescuer). I am reminded of Abraham once again. He came to know God as Lord and then He came to know God as Savior. Mary’s life and relationship with God is a mirror image of Abraham’s relationship with God. Again, Mary is very familiar with the teachings of the Old Testament so I know that she is aware of Abraham and his walk with God. Mary also praises God based on His actions. As I mentioned earlier, Mary is a student of the Word of God. Not only does she know the character of God, she also knows how God has interacted in human history, based on the teachings of the Old Testament.

49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.
51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart.
52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble.
53 “HE HAS FILLED THE HUNGRY WITH GOOD THINGS; And sent away the rich empty-handed.
54 “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy,
55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.” (Luke 1)

Mary quotes from Psalm 103 and Psalm 107 in this section of her song of praise to the Lord. Mary is intimately familiar with the way that the Lord worked in and through His people, the Jews, specifically referencing Abraham. She knows of the promises of the Lord to Abraham and to his descendants, the Jews. Mary praises God because by bringing the Messiah into the world through her, God is keeping His eternal promises to Abraham and his descendants. Finally, Mary praises God for what He has done for her. Many people want to praise God based on what He can DO for them. Mary also praises God for what He has done for her but, that is not her main motivation for praise.

“For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. (Luke 1:48)

Mary humbly accepts what the Lord has done for her. She does not view God like many today view Him. Today, many people tend to view God the same way that they view a genie in a bottle, saying things like, “I will worship and praise God as long as He is good to me“. The minute that He does something that they do not like, they turn their backs on Him and shake their fists in His face. Mary was not like this. She praises God based on who He is and what He has done. He is worthy of her praise without having to do anything for her. The things that He does for her are just a benefit. If they were taken away, she would continue to praise Him because He deserves it. As to the First Advent, Mary reveals the attitude that the First Advent should create in us. We, as human beings, should rejoice at the news of the First Advent of the Messiah because He will usher in the mercy of God to all of us. Mercy means not getting what you actually deserve. As sinful human beings, we deserve the judgment of God because of our rebellion. The First Advent is God extending an olive branch of peace to us, His enemies. That is mercy in action. Mary rejoiced over the fact that the Messiah would bring the mercy of God to her and to all of humanity. She was humbled by the good news of the mercy of God. We should be humbled as well. Mary manifested her humility by calling herself a bond-servant. Do you see yourself as a bond-servant of God because of the First Advent? Have you made peace with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ?

III. The Apostle Paul on how to live in view of the Second Advent

The Apostle Paul did not recognize the First Advent. His life was changed on the road to Damascas when he encountered the resurrected Jesus. That is when Paul connected the dots and bowed his knee to Jesus Christ as the Messiah. The Apostle Paul was taught directly by Jesus Christ and Jesus taught him about the Second Advent. Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica, giving some practical tips on how to live knowing that we are in the time between the First and Second Advent.

16 Rejoice always;
17 pray without ceasing;
18 in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19 Do not quench the Spirit;
20 do not despise prophetic utterances.
21 But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
22 abstain from every form of evil.
23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
24 Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass. (I Thessalonians 5)

As we live in between the First and Second Advent, we are to rejoice. The Apostle Paul echos the words of Mary. We have the opportunity to experience the mercy of God while God holds off the Second Advent and the judgment that it will bring. Mary was grateful to God for what He had done and for what He was going to do. The Apostle Paul reminds us to be grateful that we live in the time of mercy in between the First and Second Advent. Until the Second Advent occurs, there will be many false teachings about the Second Advent. The Apostle Paul knew this almost two thousand years ago. He reminded the believers in Thessalonica to examine everything carefully and hold fast to that which is good (the Word of God). While we live in this time period between the First and Second Advent, we have the opportunity to be sanctified completely. The word sanctified is a translation of the Koine Greek word, “hagios” and it means to be set apart, different. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are to be different from the people who do not follow Jesus. This difference is seen in our intellectual life, our spiritual life, and our physical bodies. What does this look like in reality? I do not want to get too technical in the Greek but, these 3 words (body, soul, spirit) have a specific meaning in the Koine Greek language.

  • The Body (Greek, “soma”)
  • The Soul (Greek, “psyche”)
  • The Spirit (Greek ” Pneuma”)

Soma is the physical body. Psyche is the mind/intellect. It is what gives us our reasoning skills and sense of awareness. Without the psyche, the human body is dead. The word dead, in a Biblical sense, means to be separated. When the soul is separated from the body, this is what we call death. Pneuma is our spiritual side. This is what allows us to connect with our Creator, who is also Spirit. All three aspects of our humanity are to be sanctified as we await the Second Advent. Each day is a new opportunity to become more and more like Jesus Christ in our attitudes, actions, and words.

IV. John spoke of the First Advent

John the Baptist was an interesting character. First of all, he was named by God. Usually parents choose the name of a child yet, in this case, God chooses the John’s name. This child is going to bring joy and gladness, not only to his parents, but also to the people of Israel. This child is going to be filled with the Holy Spirit from the time that he is in the womb. This child will bring joy and gladness by preparing the people for the coming of the Messiah and by preparing the way for the Messiah. This child will also preach a message that will point people to the Messiah and the Messiah will turn the people back to the Lord. The Gospel writer, Saint John, gives us a little information about John the Baptist.

6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.
7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.
8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.
9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.
11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.
12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,
13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1)

John the Baptist came on the scene to announce the First Advent of the Messiah. He was to be a witness and testify about the First Advent. The First Advent is to lead us to faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah. There are two opposite responses to the First Advent. The first response to the arrival of Jesus Christ on this earth is rejection of Him as the Messiah. This happened in the First Century and it continues to happen today. The second response is accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior by faith. John the Baptist points to the First Advent and tells the people to place their faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. As we look back upon the First Advent, we are encouraged to place our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When we do place our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we become children of God. We are adopted into the family of God. 

I want to ask you, my dear friend, have you been adopted into the family of God? Have you placed your faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior based on His First Advent? Are you being sanctified body, soul, and spirit each day as you await the Second Advent? How are you becoming more like Jesus Christ in your attitude, actions, and words? Are you a humble student of the Word of God the way that Mary was? Do you see yourself as a bond-servant of the Lord? Do you realize what an honor it is living during this time when we can experience the mercy of God through Christ?

May the Lord help us examine how we live each and every day as we await the Second Advent!

2 comments on “Advent Sunday 3

  1. Pingback: Advent Sunday 4 | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

  2. Pingback: ‘Tis the Season for hope and salvation | Erik and Elena Brewer's Weblog

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