For centuries Israel had expected the Messiah to come, but what did they expect the Messiah to do? At the time of Jesus’ birth, Israel was looking for a military leader to set them free from the oppression of Rome. They were looking for a physical kingdom, but Jesus came to establish a spiritual kingdom first. One day He will establish His kingdom here physically on earth, but not until the last days. I love the words of today’s hymn, “from our fears and sins release us, let us find our rest in Thee.” This is the unexpected, yet real reason He came! God’s redemption plan offers salvation and deliverance from a much greater enemy than Rome.
Christ offers us true rest. Because of what He has done for us, we can cease striving, resting from our works and resting in HIS WORK! We can be free from the fear of death and the inner turmoil of guilt.
Emmanuel is the hope of all the earth and the joy of every longing heart. Is your heart longing for something today? I go through this sometimes, I have this inner longing. Some days it manifests itself when I go and stand in front of the refrigerator or pantry. Other times it comes out as discontentment and I want to buy something new. There have also been moments when I feel frustrated or impatient over situations in my life that were already difficult but now seem to be compounded by COVID and the turmoil of this world. When I recognize these feelings, I am reminded that what I am actually experiencing is a longing in my heart for the only One who can truly satisfy, Jesus Christ! I have to quickly die to myself and run back to the cross, embracing the One who hung there for me. He has redeemed me from myself and the darkness of this age! One glorious day, He will return and set all things right.
He was “born a Child and yet a King.” He was “born to reign in us forever.” His kingdom is full of grace. As we surrender to Him moment by moment, we can experience His rule in our hearts by the power of His eternal Spirit who lives within us and enables us. One day He will raise us to His glorious throne, not by any merit of ourselves but only by His ALL SUFFICIENT merit!
The hopeless state of this world seems eerily similar to the hopeless state Jesus found it in when He came. As we reflect on His first Advent, let us not forget that we are looking toward His second Advent! I have heard it said in reference to Christ’s second coming that this world is “seething.” The dictionary definition of “seething” is boiling or foaming as if boiling; crowded and full of restless activity; in a state of extreme agitation. I have never seen a time such as this. Doesn’t that definition perfectly describe our world today? Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 NASB1995).
He is coming. Look up! Your redemption draweth nigh!!
1. Do you ever experience a longing in your heart?
2. How does this longing manifest itself in your daily life?
3. Read Ephesians 1:22-23. What does Jesus fill in these verses?
4. Read Psalm 62. What statements does David make about God? What statements does he make about himself?
5. How do the Scriptures you read today encourage you to find your rest and satisfaction in God alone? Take some time to worship Him now. Thank Him for all He has done through His first Advent and that we know He is coming again.