Tag Archives: Scripture

Advent Surprise???

In the Old Testament, God fore-told the advent of his son. Although many prophets wrote about events that mankind could watch for which would herald the birth and life of Messiah, Isaiah wrote more about Messiah than any other prophet. Isaiah prophesied during the latter half of the eighth century before the birth of Jesus, yet, his predictions about Jesus were amazingly accurate. Below are eight of Isaiah’s prophecies and how Jesus full-filled them in his life. Mathematically, the odds of an individual fulfilling eight prophecies are one in 100 trillion.

                Isaiah wrote that the coming Messiah would be born of a young virgin woman and Jesus would be called Immanuel which means “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9-6). Jesus was born from a virgin, Mary of Nazareth (Matthew 1:18-25; Luke 1:26-35). In ancient times, names had meaning. Calling a child Immanuel identified that in the child, God was with mankind (Luke 1:35).

                Both Isaiah and Malachi wrote that before Jesus began his public ministry, a messenger would announce its start (Isaiah 40:3; Malachi 3:1). Often, in the Bible a messenger was an angel; but, in this instance the messenger was John the Baptist. Two gospel writers, Matthew and John, recorded that prior to the start of Jesus’ public ministry, John the Baptist preached and baptized in the wilderness of Judea and on the east side of the Jordan River (Matthew 3:1-3; John 1:23-28).

                Isaiah prophesizd that the Spirit of God would rest upon Jesus (Isaiah 11:2). This prophecy was full-filled when Jesus was baptized by John (Matthew 3:16-17). The Spirit of God descended in the form of a dove and landed on Jesus. A voice from heaven declared that Jesus was God’s son. Isaiah wrote that the Spirit of the Sovereign Lord was on his son (Isaiah 61:1). Jesus himself identified that he full-filled this Isaiah-prophecy when he read Isaiah’s writing in the Nazareth synagogue (Luke 4:21).

                Isaiah wrote that the coming Messiah’s ministry would honor Galilee and cause its people to see a great light (Isaiah 9:1-2). The province of Galilee was an outback region of the Roman Empire, where little happened of any note in the first century. Yet, Galilee was the region where Jesus spent most of his life. Likely, in the 21st century westernized individuals only know of first century Galilee because Jesus taught there. Thus, Isaiah’s prophecy was accurate.

                According to Isaiah, the Messiah’s ministry would include miracles, such as giving sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, a fluent, clear tongue to individuals who stammered or were mute, and the lame individual would leap like a deer (Isaiah 32:3-4; Isaiah 35:5-6). Jesus cured the blind, deaf, dumb/mute, and the lame (Matthew 9:2-8; Matthew 9:28-32).

The eighth prophecy that Isaiah gave about the Messiah was that when he spoke listeners would hear, but, not understand what the Messiah said (Isaiah 6:9-10). Although Jesus didn’t begin his ministry speaking in parables (see Matthew chapters 5–7), after a time he taught almost exclusively in parables to full-fill prophecy, i.e., hard-hearted listeners wouldn’t understand him (Matthew 13:14-15; John 12:38-41).

                Reflection: Should Messiah’s birth and behaviors have been a surprise to the Jews?

Scripture, First Two Sundays of Advent 

Scripture readings for Advent are divided into two sections. On the first and second Sundays, Bible readings focus on the second coming of Jesus. The third and fourth Sundays center on the coming of the Christ child at Christmastide. Below are Scriptures read in some churches during the first and second Sundays of Advent:

Old Testament Reading – Malachi 3:1-4 NIV: “I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come,” says the LORD Almighty. But who can endure the day of his coming? Who can stand when he appears? For he will be like a refiner’s fire or a launderer’s soap. He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; he will purify the Levites and refine them like gold and silver. Then the LORD will have men who will bring offerings in righteousness, and the offerings of Judah and Jerusalem will be acceptable to the LORD, as in days gone by, as in former years.

Epistle Reading – 1 Thessalonians 3: 9-13 NIV: How can we thank God enough for you in return for all the joy we have in the presence of our God because of you? Night and day, we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith. Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and holy in the presence of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus comes with all his holy ones.

Gospel Reading – Luke 21:25-36 NIV: There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time, they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” He told them this parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees. That summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.” “Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.

Copyright 12/5/2020: Carolyn Adams Roth