Today’s reading is two very short Advent insights put together. The theme is simple, seeing the straight-line connection between the miraculous birth of Christ and his sacrificial death. The Incarnation of God’s Son at Bethlehem proves that Jesus is God in human flesh, the One who is unstained by sin, yet fully able to stand in the place of sinful man. The crucifixion and resurrection of God’s Son proves that he is the true Savior and Lord, the One who removes our sin and reconciles us to the Father.
- Matthew 1:21-22; 27:54
- Watch for the Light, 107-108
- Arnold asks a direct question that is worth consideration today and every day, “Are [you] willing to go his way, from the stable to the cross?” (107) What would you be reluctant to give up or endure as part of your call to follow in the way of Jesus?
- When was the last time you willingly sacrificed a personal desire or endured a hardship because of your commitment to follow Jesus?
- Foreseeing the cross ahead of the Lord, Simeon prophesied that even though Mary was favored by God and experienced the joy of mothering Jesus, that a sword would pierce her soul as well (Luke 2:35). What promises from Scripture and experiences of God’s faithfulness do you call to mind for strength and encouragement when your journey in the way of Jesus becomes painful?
Begin your time of prayer today by echoing the confession of the verses in Matthew 1 and 27 listed above. Who is Jesus according to God’s own word? Ask the Lord to fortify your faith, that you may remember with joy all the promises God has already fulfilled from the stable to the cross. Then commit yourself in a fresh way to follow wherever Jesus may lead you.