Advent | Day 6
Friday, December 2
- Psalm 16, 17, 22
- Amos 5.1-17
- Jude 1-16
- Matthew 22.1-14
How awful must we be, and how desperate our situation, if God has to come down in person to rescue us? And how much must God love us, to come in the person of Jesus to show the full measure of God’s love?
At Advent, we go back to the beginning of the Christian faith, back before creeds and councils, before seminaries and sermons, before denominations and dogmas. We come to Jesus himself. Like the early Christians to whom Peter wrote, we want it to be truly said of us, “Though you have not seen him, you love him” (I Peter 1.8).
During Advent, we come to see again that our church attendance and service to the poor and Bible study and worship is there to help us avoid a terrible fate: “Your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (II Cor. 11.3). How thankful we should be for Advent, which re-focuses our attention on Jesus himself.
We do not want to stray from Christ, but instead we long to learn to stand up for Jesus, just as Jude did when he boldly claimed in the midst of persecution that he was “a servant of Jesus Christ.” Jude tells his readers that we are “called . . . loved . . . and kept for Jesus Christ” (v. 1). What is better than being lost and hearing someone call us? What is more life-giving than knowing we are loved!? And what is more comforting than the assurance that we do not keep ourselves, but we are “kept for Christ Jesus”!
Sadly, there are “ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only sovereign and Lord” (v. 4). For wherever the gospel is preached, people are quick to twist God’s grace from being something that frees us to live for God’s holiness and justice into something that frees us from needing to live out God’s holiness and justice. During this season, we are invited to redirect our attention to “Jesus Christ, our only Sovereign and Lord” (v. 4). The churches opposing Adolf Hitler stated in the Barmen Declaration something we must reaffirm now in our lives and the life of our churches: “Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.” This is the good news for all who have ears to hear.
Vice President, Spiritual Development
You can access an online version of the 2011 Advent Guide (presented annually be Belmont’s School of Religion) at: http://issuu.com/office.communications/docs/2011_advent_guide#download