“Advent” as defined by Webster’s Dictionary: “the period beginning four Sundays before Christmas and observed by some Christians as a season of prayer and fasting.”
Has Advent made a difference for you this year, or has it been the same hectic pace of Advents past? You know, decorating the house ‘just so’; making sure each person on your gift list receives just the right gift; baking each child’s favorite cookie; attending all the important social events; sending Christmas cards to people you only hear from once a year; planning the perfect Christmas dinner. . . need I say more?!
I, too, am easily caught up with the trappings of Christmas without giving much thought to spiritual preparation. However, this year I wanted Advent to be special, a time to meditate on the Scriptures that foretell Christ’s arrival and also those that tell of His birth.
I’m not even sure now that Isaiah 53 was suggested reading for December 2, but nevertheless, I found myself reading about The Suffering Servant, The Tender Shoot, Jesus Christ. The message of that chapter spoke as it never had before, and I journaled my thoughts as I read.
Isaiah 53 (The Suffering Servant)
What a picture, Father, of the Tender Shoot – Jesus Christ! It’s difficult to believe that he was not stately in form and that we would not be attracted to His looks.
Would I despise and forsake Him if He were to walk among us today? He was a man of sorrows who bore the weight of sin’s grief so deeply that men could not bear to look on His face. No one honored such a man as this.
He bore our sins and carried the weight of our sorrows. All the while He suffered, those who crucified Him thought the punishment inflicted by God was for His own sin.
He was pierced and crushed for our transgressions and iniquities. He was disgraced for us, and because He took the lashes, we are healed!
But the Lord God had a greater plan by placing all the iniquity of sinful man on Him, just like a lamb led to slaughter or sheep before the shearers. He did not cry out. Oh, how could He keep so silent while enduring such unjust punishment?!
In all the world, in all of time, there has never been such an unjust judgment and punishment. He was cut down in the prime of life, and it was considered a tragedy that He had no heirs. And why? To pay the price for our sin and to take the punishment that should have been ours.
Those who punished Him wanted Him buried with the wicked. Instead, He was given a place with a rich man. That was only fitting because He had never committed violence or spoken an untrue word.
Oh, Sovereign Lord, what a plan and purpose You had when The Tender Shoot – The Lamb – offered Himself as an offering for sin. He was humbly obedient as You crushed Him and caused Him unspeakable grief.
But because of His obedience, He will have descendants and His days will go on forever. The Lord will cause Him to prosper. Because He has endured such anguish of soul, the Tender Shoot has satisfied and settled the issue of sin. With His one act, He has justified man because He bore their iniquities as His own. The Servant will be rewarded for His work because “He poured out Himself to death, And was numbered with the transgressors; Yet, He Himself bore the sin of many, And interceded for the transgressors.”
Oh, Father, how can we not bow in worship during this Advent Season? We celebrate the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of the world, who takes away the sin of the world!
“For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did; sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin. . . ” Romans 8:3
If you have never received Christ, the Tender Shoot, the Suffering Servant, as your Savior, I urge you to do so today! God sent Him to take our place on the cross and to satisfy God’s wrath against our sin. His birth is just the beginning!! When He rose and ascended back to the Father, He secured eternal life for all who believe.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16