3rd Week of Advent (11-17 Dec) – Forgive, Lead, Deliver
Sunday – Peace in God
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 53
Isaiah 53 presents the picture of the Messiah who will through Faith bring God’s people to God as the suffering servant. The Messiah is the one who will bring peace between God and God’s people “because he poured out himself to death, and was numbered with the transgressors; yet he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” In other words, the Messiah “…shall make many righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.” This week we look at how the Messiah makes possible this Peace in God through forgiveness, leading us from temptation and delivering us from evil.
Pastor’s Pondering: How are the images of Isaiah 53 prophesies of the Messiah on the cross and the answer to the Lord’s Prayer about Christians and sin?
Monday – Forgive Us Our Debt/Trespasses
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:67-69
As we see from the beginning of Zechariah’s song of praise, the Holy Spirit has revealed to him that this Savior would redeem God’s people. To be redeemed is to be forgiven of our sins and brought into God’s family as children of God. As we are taught to pray for God to forgive us our sins by Jesus, it is knowing that it is only through Jesus that we can be justly forgiven by a righteous God. Jesus instructed his disciples to pray this knowing that he would be the answer to this prayer for those who pray it.
Pastor’s Pondering: How does knowing that Christ died for our sins able to bring us peace as we pray for God’s forgiveness?
Tuesday – As We Forgive Our Debtors/Trespassers
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:70-75
As Zechariah then shares in his song how we “might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” it is to love as Christ loved us. It is to forgive our debtors as we have been forgiven. Jesus turns this on edge by having us ask God to forgive us as we have forgiven others. But, if we truly know through God’s forgiveness peace in God then, more and more, we should strive to know peace with others through sharing that same forgiveness. Through Faith in the Messiah then we should not only know peace in God but also peace with others as we share in forgiveness.
Pastor’s Pondering: What is the connection between God’s holiness and righteousness, forgiveness and peace?
Wednesday – Lead Us Not into Temptation
Scripture Reading: Luke 1:76-79
When Zechariah turns to prophesy about his child, it is about the one who will not only prepare the way for the Lord, but of one who will “give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” In other words, “Lead us not into temptation.” John the Baptist was going to bring people to the Messiah, Jesus the Christ, who through faith would enable them to walk in the light of peace in Christ and away from the darkness of separation from God. Christ gives us the gift of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word, and God’s people to help “lead us not into temptation.”
Pastor’s Pondering: What are the ways that we have for the Messiah to give light and guide our feet into the way of peace and lead us not into temptation?
Thursday – Deliver Us from Evil
Scripture Reading: John 1:1-5
As we turn to the Christmas story in the gospel of John it begins with how God delivers us from evil. God’s Word was from the beginning in the beginning and was the beginning. It brings light into the world broken by our sin that resulted in our darkness, our separation from God. But, this darkness, this separation, this evil did not overcome us and the world. The good news is that the Word, the Life, the Light, the Messiah delivers us from evil.
Pastor’s Pondering: What is the connection between peace and God’s Word giving life and delivering us from evil?
Friday – In our Minds
Scripture Reading: John 1:6-9
Just as John the Baptist was a “witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him” so we are to do the same with others that they may know in their minds when “the true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” People need to hear from us the Peace we can have through the Messiah who brings us Faith in God and the Hope that God brings into our daily lives in this broken world.
Pastor’s Pondering: How does our testifying to the witness of Christ in us help bring about delivering us from evil in our minds?
Saturday – In our Hearts
Scripture Reading: John 1:10-18
As we see we can be like John who testifies and witnesses about Jesus but it is only Jesus who truly changes the hearts of people to become children of God. We can only Know Christ, Grow in Christ, and Share Christ but it is only Christ who can truly deliver people from evil in our minds, in our hearts, and in our lives.
Pastor’s Pondering: What does this say about how true peace can only come through the Messiah, forgiveness, being led from temptation and delivered from evil?