Third Sunday in Advent   16 December 2018 A.D.

  Third Sunday in Advent   16 December 2018 A.D. 

 

Psalm   85           First Lesson  Malachi. 3:1-5 & ch 4      Second Lesson   Luke 1:1-25      

 

 

                                   O Lord Jesus Christ, who at thy first coming didst send

                                    thy messenger to prepare thy way before thee; Grant

                                    that the ministers and stewards of thy mysteries may

                                    likewise so prepare and make ready thy way, by turning

                                    the hearts of the disobedient to the wisdom of the just,

                                    that at thy second coming to judge we may be found an

                                    acceptable people in thy sight, who livest and reignest 

                                    with the Father and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, 

                                     world without end.                      Amen.

 

                                     Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away

                                     the works of darkness, and put upon us the armor of light

                                     now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus

                                     Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day,

                                      when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge

                                      both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal,

                                      through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost,

                                      now and ever.                             Amen.

                                         “The Word was Fulfilled”

 

 As we reflect on these passages of the Word of God that we have heard selected for this the third Sunday in Advent.. we should think fulfilment.    The Word was fulfilled in the birth of Jesus those long years ago, time and again we have been pointed to this event in history through the many prophecies in the Old Testament; now it is done.  

 One of the interesting things that happened during this first coming, the birth of Christ; some people were aware of the event, others went about their day to day lives without any clue to the happenings.  The Holy Spirit illumined at least six people that year or so before that the birth of  John the baptizer was announce, and he cousin Jesus Christ birth was announced . Let’s check the record.   After John was born, “...And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,

“ Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people,

 And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David;

 As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began:

 That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us;

 To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant;

 The oath which he sware to our father Abraham,

 That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways;

 To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,

Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us,

To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

  After Mary has been told that she was going to be a mother of the Messiah, she would burst into a song of praise.  The famous Magnificat: MY soul doth magnify the Lord,  and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded  the lowliness of his handmaiden.

    For behold, from henceforth  all generations shall call me blessed.

    For he that is mighty hath magnified me;  and holy is his Name.

    And his mercy is on them that fear him  throughout all generations.

    He hath showed strength with his arm;  he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seat,  and hath exalted the humble and meek.

    He hath filled the hungry with good things;  and the rich he hath sent empty away.

    He remembering his mercy hath holpen his servant Israel;  as he promised to our forefathers, Abraham and his seed, for ever.

 

   Then later, when Jesus was taken to the temple in Jerusalem to be presented to the priest as was the custom for a first born male. A very elderly man approach Mary and Joseph as they were taking baby Jesus to the temple. Let’s go to the record and see what happened:

 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ.  And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, LORD, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace,  according to thy word.  For mine eyes have seen  thy salvation,  Which thou hast prepared  before the face of all people; To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,  and to be the glory of thy people Israel.

 

And then there was Anna, an elderly widow who has dedicated her life to prayer and service at the temple since the time of her husband’s death. And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

  In each one of these events we find the work of the Holy Spirit in showing the fulfillment of prophesies from the Old Testament. 

     Look at the last couple of verses of Ps. 85, vs 8 - 13     

8 I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints: but let them not turn again to folly.

9 Surely his salvation is nigh them that fear him; that glory may dwell in our land.

10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other.

11 Truth shall spring out of the earth; and righteousness shall look down from heaven.

12 Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase.

13 Righteousness shall go before him; and shall set us in the way of his steps.

 Notice the key phrases,   peace and salvation; Love and faithfulness; Righteousness and peace Faithfulness and righteousness 

 And then an interesting promise;   “Yea, the Lord shall give that which is good; 

                                                                   and our land shall yield her increase.

                                                            Righteousness shall go before  

                                                               him and shall set us in the way of his steps.”

 

In this verse as well as in Malachi both refer to John the baptizer, the cousin of Jesus.  Else where we can read passages that speak of preparing the way of the Lord.

 Ironically, a group of pagans well East of Bethlehem will pour over all types of sacred script to see what might be revealed in an astronomical happening.  I speak of the Magi.  They had been watching the heavens as they generally did when they noticed a new light, a new star, so they try to figure out what it means and are able to surmise that it was announcing the birth of a king.    Interestingly enough, God didn’t always use His word, there were signs and wonders, “...the Heavens declared the Glory of God...” as the 19th psalm begins.   

 But the people of the book, the Hebrews should not have been ignorant, unless someone wasn’t teaching them!

   We can see that there were people in Jesus early life who did understand who he was, they did understand why he was here.  But you also notice that the Spirit of God was upon them, they didn’t do this on their own.   They did need the illumination of the Holy Spirit to allow them to see what was before them.

So how do we reveal Christ to others ?   In today’s world there are many silent and non-invasive ways to let others know that Jesus Christ is in control of your life.  You can live a life to the best of your ability or you can ask God to use you to the best of the talents that He gave you; the latter would be by far the better way.  This being that Christ living through us is far more powerful than anything we can do, in thought, word, or deed.    We can share God’s love with others without having to beat anyone over the head with a Bible.  We can show others that God is in us by example, by trying to be the person that God would have us to be, and most especially asking God to forgive us and renew us DAILY in the likeness of His Son, Jesus Christ.

It isn’t easy.  There are plenty of things, events, people, and others issues that can make us angry, discouraged, depressed, or just down right unchristlike.  It is so much easier to give in to our self and not try to behave or be Christ like.   We must pray daily for a renewed spirit of faithfulness and a renewed sense of our total inability to do it ourselves, we need His help to do the job.

Let us pray: 

 

Father God please help us to relate and understand your Word and to translate it in this season of hyper busyness, let us try to pause and reflect on the great Gift that You sent us, the perfect, once and for all sacrifice for our sins, the only begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord and Redeemer.  We ask that you be with all those who are lonely, afraid, cold, hungry, and without salvation, bringing them the Light of the World, most especially at this time of the year.

Help us to be the bearers of Good News, to be a small light in the great darkness that surrounds us, to make us salt and light to the world.     These things we ask in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.                           Amen