Meditations for the Second Week of Advent

Note: Here are the meditations for the second week of Advent.  You can find the first week’s meditations here.

Second Sunday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 5, 11
  • John 5:19-40
  • Rev. 20, 21:1-8 (optional)

Prayer for the Second Week of Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:  Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Photo Credit: Markus Grossalber via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Markus Grossalber via Compfight cc

Advent Tree:  Catechism Review

Use this Sunday to review the Advent Catechism:

Advent Catechism:

  1. Why is Jesus the Light of the World?  Because He brings us out of the dark and into the Light of His Kingdom.
  2. Why is Jesus the Serpent-Crusher?  Because He crushed the head of Satan by dying on the Cross.
  3. Why is Jesus the Ark of Salvation?  Because He saves us from the storm of God’s judgment.
  4. Why is Jesus the Promise of Abram?  Because He blesses all the families of the earth.
  5. Why is Jesus the Lamb of Isaac?  Because He died in our place.
  6. Why is Jesus the Ladder of Jacob?  Because He takes care of us always, even when we sleep.
  7. Why is Jesus the Coat of Joseph?  Because He was torn and bloodied in our place.

 Second Monday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 17-18
  • Mark 4:21-end
  • 1 Peter 1:1-21 (optional)

Prayer for the Second Week of Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:  Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Advent Tree:  Jesus is the New Moses

Scripture:  Exodus 20:1-20; 32:7-16; Gal. 3:13-14

When Jacob learned that Joseph was alive and a ruler in Egypt, he moved his entire family there.  His family prospered there for many years, until pharaoh turned all of them into slaves.  They suffered greatly, but God raised up a special leader named Moses.  Through Moses, God delivered His people from Egypt and brought them to Mount Sinai in the desert.

At Mount Sinai, God declared that Jacob’s family—now called Israel—would be His special people, and He would be their God.  Once again God showed incredible grace to those who didn’t deserve it.  On the top of Mount Sinai, God gave Moses a set of special commands called the Ten Commandments.  These commands showed the Israelites how they were to live as God’s people (Ex. 20:1-17), especially how they were to act toward God and toward their neighbor.

But Israel quickly learned that they couldn’t obey God’s commands.  Shortly after God gave Israel the Ten Commandments, Israel broke them by worshiping a golden calf instead of the True God.  Angered by their sin, God was going to bring severe judgment on Israel, but Moses prayed that God would show mercy instead.  He prayed that God would remember his promise to give Abraham a family so numerous it couldn’t be counted.  God relented and spared Israel.  Though they certainly didn’t deserve God’s grace or mercy, He gave it to them anyway.

Many years later, Jesus preached a great sermon about the Law of Moses (Mt. 5-7).  Jesus explained what obedience to the Law required.  Obeying the Law completely is impossible for any of us because of our sinful hearts.  In the letter to the Galatians, Paul calls this the ‘curse of the law’ (Gal. 3:13)—the Law shows us that we live under the curse of sin and cannot possibly obey God unless he first changes our hearts.

But Paul also explains that Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the Law through his death.  By dying for our sins, Jesus made it possible for us to receive ‘the blessing of Abraham…the promised Spirit through faith’ (Gal. 3:14).

Without Jesus, we are like the Israelites when they worshiped the calf.  But just as Moses’ prayer delivered Israel from judgment, so Jesus’ death saves us from judgment.  When we have faith in Jesus, He places the Holy Spirit in us, who teaches us how to obey God’s commands.

Jesus is the New Moses, because He teaches us God’s commands and makes us able to obey them.

Advent Tree Ornament:  the Ten Commandments

Inscription:  “The New Moses”

Advent Catechism:

  1. Why is Jesus the Light of the World?  Because He brings us out of the dark and into the Light of His Kingdom.
  2. Why is Jesus the Serpent-Crusher?  Because He crushed the head of Satan by dying on the Cross.
  3. Why is Jesus the Ark of Salvation?  Because He saves us from the storm of God’s judgment.
  4. Why is Jesus the Promise of Abram?  Because He blesses all the families of the earth.
  5. Why is Jesus the Lamb of Isaac?  Because He died in our place.
  6. Why is Jesus the Ladder of Jacob?  Because He takes care of us always, even when we sleep.
  7. Why is Jesus the Coat of Joseph?  Because He was torn and bloodied in our place.
  8. Why is Jesus the New Moses?  Because He teaches us God’s commands and makes us able to obey them.

 Second Tuesday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 19
  • Mark 5:1-20
  • 1 Peter 1:22-2:10 (optional)

Prayer for the Second Week of Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:  Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Advent Tree:  Jesus is the New Joshua

Scripture:  Joshua 1:1-9; 11:21-22; Col. 1:15-20

After Moses dies, God appoints Joshua as the new leader of Israel.  The first command God gives Joshua is to take Israel across the Jordan River and into the Promised Land (Josh. 1:1-5).  There Joshua will lead them into battle against the Canaanites, a wicked people whom God will judge by giving them into Israel’s hands.

God also tells Joshua to remember the commands He gave to Moses and to be careful to obey them (Josh. 1:7-9).  Later in the Promised Land, Joshua and the Israelites have remarkable victories over the Canaanites.  But when they fail to follow God’s commands, the Canaanites defeat them.  When they live like God’s people should live, they are successful in battle.  When they start living like the Canaanites by loving wealth more than obedience, God disciplines them by giving victory to the Canaanites.

Joshua was careful to do everything that God had commanded him to do (Josh. 11:15).  And so Joshua led Israel into battle and they conquered the Promised Land (Josh. 11:23).  Though there were still tribes of Canaanites to be defeated in the land, Joshua’s victories had been so successful that ‘the land had rest from war’ (Josh. 11:23).  After years of war, Israel settled in the place God had given them, and peace came to the Land.

Jesus has a lot in common with Joshua.  Jesus was also careful to remember and obey all of God’s commands.  He didn’t fight against Canaanites, but against sin and death through his teaching and miracles.  And when Jesus died on the cross, He crushed Satan’s head and broke the power of sin and death.

After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to his disciples and told them that He had been given ‘all authority in heaven and on earth’ (Matt. 28:18).  Joshua conquered the Promised Land, but Jesus conquered both heaven and earth through His resurrection.  He then sent his disciples out into the world to ‘make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’ (Matt. 28:19-20).  Jesus had conquered the whole world, and then He sent his disciples to declare his kingship to all people.

In the letter to the Colossians, Paul explains that though Jesus has ascended into heaven, He is still actively working to make His kingship known in all the world.  He is reconciling all things in heaven and earth to himself, and ‘making peace by the blood of his cross’ (Col. 1:20).  And He calls us to follow Him into battle by declaring the peace of His gospel to the whole world.

Jesus is the New Joshua because He is our Captain, who leads us in battle and brings peace to the Land.

Advent Tree Ornament:  crown and olive branch

Inscription:  “The New Joshua”

Advent Catechism:

  1. Why is Jesus the Light of the World?  Because He brings us out of the dark and into the Light of His Kingdom.
  2. Why is Jesus the Serpent-Crusher?  Because He crushed the head of Satan by dying on the Cross.
  3. Why is Jesus the Ark of Salvation?  Because He saves us from the storm of God’s judgment.
  4. Why is Jesus the Promise of Abram?  Because He blesses all the families of the earth.
  5. Why is Jesus the Lamb of Isaac?  Because He died in our place.
  6. Why is Jesus the Ladder of Jacob?  Because He takes care of us always, even when we sleep.
  7. Why is Jesus the Coat of Joseph?  Because He was torn and bloodied in our place.
  8. Why is Jesus the New Moses?  Because He teaches us God’s commands and makes us able to obey them.
  9. Why is Jesus the New Joshua?  Because He is our Captain, who leads us in battle and brings peace to the Land.

Second Wednesday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 21:1-12; 22:1-14
  • Mark 5:21-end
  • 1 Peter 2:11-3:7 (optional)

Prayer for the First Week of Advent:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Advent Tree:  Jesus is the New Boaz

Scripture:  Ruth 1:14-18; 2:4-18; 4:13-16

Meditation:

Once there was a woman named Ruth, who married an Israelite, one of God’s people.  She was happy for a time, but one day her husband suddenly died.  Ruth found herself without anyone to provide food and protection for her.

The mother of her husband, a woman named Naomi, also had no protector or provider, since she was living with Ruth.  Naomi decided to return to the land of Judah, where God had blessed His people with an abundance of food.  Ruth insisted on going with Naomi, saying, ‘Your people shall be my people, and your God my God’ (Ruth 1:16).

When Naomi and Ruth arrived in Judah, they began picking up leftover grain in the harvested fields.  They were in a dangerous state, with no way to find food and no one to protect them.  They were completely dependent on the kindness of the owner of the field, a man named Boaz.

When Boaz saw that Ruth was poor and unprotected, he provided for her by allowing her to harvest the better grain.  He also made sure she was safe from any danger from others.  After a while, Boaz actually married Ruth.  By marrying Ruth, Boaz redeemed Ruth; he rescued her.  Now she had a strong protector and faithful provider.

We are just like Ruth, poor and unprotected because of our sin.  And Jesus is just like Boaz, rescuing us from our sin by becoming our Strong Protector and Faithful Provider.  Christmas celebrates the arrival of the Redeemer, the One who rescues and protects His people.

Jesus is the New Boaz, because He rescues and protects us.

Advent Tree Ornament:  barley

Inscription:  “The New Boaz”

Advent Catechism:

  1. Why is Jesus the Light of the World?  Because He brings us out of the dark and into the Light of His Kingdom.
  2. Why is Jesus the Serpent-Crusher?  Because He crushed the head of Satan by dying on the Cross.
  3. Why is Jesus the Ark of Salvation?  Because He saves us from the storm of God’s judgment.
  4. Why is Jesus the Promise of Abram?  Because He blesses all the families of the earth.
  5. Why is Jesus the Lamb of Isaac?  Because He died in our place.
  6. Why is Jesus the Ladder of Jacob?  Because He takes care of us always, even when we sleep.
  7. Why is Jesus the Coat of Joseph?  Because He was torn and bloodied in our place.
  8. Why is Jesus the New Moses?  Because He teaches us God’s commands and makes us able to obey them.
  9. Why is Jesus the New Joshua?  Because He is our Captain, who leads us in battle and brings peace to the Land.
  10. Why is Jesus the New Boaz?  Because He rescues and protects us.

Second Thursday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 24; 28:1-13
  • Mark 6:1-13
  • 1 Peter 3:8-4:6 (optional)

Prayer for the First Week of Advent:

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Advent Tree:  Jesus is the New David

Scripture:  1 Samuel 16:11-13; 17:31-54; 2 Samuel 7:12-16

Meditation:

Yesterday we talked about Ruth and her husband Boaz.  Boaz’s great-grandson was a boy named David, a very important character in the Old Testament.  David was the youngest son in his family.  His job was to watch the sheep, to keep them together in one place and to protect them from wild animals.  David often had to kill a lion or bear that threatened his father’s sheep.

Having practiced killing wild animals and protecting helpless creatures prepared David for facing even bigger enemies.  One day an army came against David’s people, the Israelites.  This army had a Giant named Goliath, and so no one wanted to fight them; everyone was afraid.  But when David heard of the giant, he offered to fight him.  David was confident that His God, who had saved him from lions and bears, would deliver him from Goliath as well.

And David was right.  He killed the giant with one rock from his slingshot, the same weapon David used to kill the lions and bears that threatened his sheep.  Then, David cut off the giant’s head.

David’s experience at protecting sheep taught him how to protect his people.  Before long, God made David the king of Israel.  As king, David became the Protector of God’s People.  Many years after David died, one of his descendants was born in a manger in Bethlehem.  Jesus, whose birth we celebrate on Christmas, was the one whom God promised to David, the Forever King who would be  Shepherd-Protector of God’s People.

Just as David protected God’s people from all Giants and Lions and Bears, so Jesus protects His people from all their enemies.  He is the Serpent-Crusher, who crushes the head of Satan.  He is also the Giant-Killer, who lays low those who threaten His sheep.

Jesus is the New David, because He is a Shepherd-King, who kills the Giants that threaten His people.

Advent Tree Ornament:  a slingshot

Inscription:  “The New David”

Advent Catechism:

  1. Why is Jesus the Light of the World?  Because He brings us out of the dark and into the Light of His Kingdom.
  2. Why is Jesus the Serpent-Crusher?  Because He crushed the head of Satan by dying on the Cross.
  3. Why is Jesus the Ark of Salvation?  Because He saves us from the storm of God’s judgment.
  4. Why is Jesus the Promise of Abram?  Because He blesses all the families of the earth.
  5. Why is Jesus the Lamb of Isaac?  Because He died in our place.
  6. Why is Jesus the Ladder of Jacob?  Because He takes care of us always, even when we sleep.
  7. Why is Jesus the Coat of Joseph?  Because He was torn and bloodied in our place.
  8. Why is Jesus the New Moses?  Because He teaches us God’s commands and makes us able to obey them.
  9. Why is Jesus the New Joshua?  Because He is our Captain, who leads us in battle and brings peace to the Land.
  10. Why is Jesus the New Boaz?  Because He rescues and protects us.
  11. Why is Jesus the New David?  Because He also is a Shepherd-King, who kills the Giants that threaten His people.

 Second Friday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 28:14-29:14
  • Mark 6:14-29
  • 1 Peter 4:7-end (optional)

Prayer for the First Week of Advent:

“Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.”

Advent Tree:  Jesus is the New Solomon

Scripture:  1 Kings 4:20-34; Galatians 3:7-14

Meditation:

After David defeated many Giants who threatened his people, peace grew in the land.  When David died, his son Solomon became king.  God blessed Solomon as king in many ways.

First of all, God had multiplied His people until they were ‘as many as the sand by the sea’ (1 Kings 4:20).  Secondly, Solomon ruled over all the land that God had promised to Abraham that his descendants would one day inherit.  Thirdly, God blessed the land so that it abounded with fat livestock and sleek game and full harvests.

These three blessings were a fulfillment in many ways of the promises God had made to Abraham.  God had been faithful, but He blessed Solomon and His people in an even greater way.  God gave Solomon ‘wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore, so that Solomon’s wisdom surpassed the wisdom of all the people of the east and all the wisdom of Egypt.  For he was wiser than all other men…’ (1 Kings 4:29-31).

Solomon was wise about many things, and so he led his people very well.  He led them so well, in fact, that many kings and queens from nearby nations came to him to hear his wisdom.  In this way, God fulfilled another promise to Abraham:  that He would bless all the families of the earth through Abraham’s descendants.

But this blessing did not last.  Solomon did not remain faithful to God as his father David did.  He soon began worshiping false gods and disobeying God’s commands.  Solomon’s blessing of all the earth turned into a curse as Israel fell deep into sin.

The blessing that God had given through Solomon would not come again until Jesus was born.  Solomon was wise, but Jesus was far wiser.  Solomon ruled over the land of Israel, but Jesus became king of the entire world (Mt. 28:18).  Solomon ruled over innumerable people, but Jesus became king of a multitude of multitudes (Rev. 7:9-12).

And most importantly, through Jesus God brought a permanent blessing to all the families of the earth:  the Holy Spirit—the blessing of Abraham (Gal. 3:14).

We celebrate Christmas with gifts, because we have received the greatest of all possible gifts.   Jesus is the New Solomon because He is the Wise King who blesses all the families of the earth.

Advent Tree Ornament:  a book of wisdom

Inscription:  “The New Solomon”

Advent Catechism:

  1. Why is Jesus the Light of the World?  Because He brings us out of the dark and into the Light of His Kingdom.
  2. Why is Jesus the Serpent-Crusher?  Because He crushed the head of Satan by dying on the Cross.
  3. Why is Jesus the Ark of Salvation?  Because He saves us from the storm of God’s judgment.
  4. Why is Jesus the Promise of Abram?  Because He blesses all the families of the earth.
  5. Why is Jesus the Lamb of Isaac?  Because He died in our place.
  6. Why is Jesus the Ladder of Jacob?  Because He takes care of us always, even when we sleep.
  7. Why is Jesus the Coat of Joseph?  Because He was torn and bloodied in our place.
  8. Why is Jesus the New Moses?  Because He teaches us God’s commands and makes us able to obey them.
  9. Why is Jesus the New Joshua?  Because He is our Captain, who leads us in battle and brings peace to the Land.
  10. Why is Jesus the New Boaz?  Because He rescues and protects us.
  11. Why is Jesus the New David?  Because He also is a Shepherd-King, who kills the Giants that threaten His people.
  12. Why is Jesus the New Solomon?  Because He is the Wise King who blesses all the families of the earth.

Second Saturday in Advent

Meditation and Prayer

For Meditation:

  • Isaiah 29:15-end; 30:1-18
  • Mark 6:30-end
  • 1 Peter 5 (optional)

Prayer for the Second Week of Advent:

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation:  Grant us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Advent Tree:  Jesus is the Branch of Jesse

Scripture:  Isaiah 11:1-5; John 1:14

Meditation:

Unlike his father, Solomon did not remain faithful to God.  He began worshiping false gods and disobeying God’s commands.  Soon all of Israel was following Solomon’s example of disobedience.  After Solomon’s death, Israel’s sin only increased.  Israel was filled with wickedness and cruelty.  God’s people rejected Him as King.

But not everyone.  There were some faithful Israelites who longed for God to come and restore His rule over Israel.  They prayed with heavy hearts, and wept bitterly for Israel.  God answered their prayers by sending prophets, special men selected by God to warn the Israelites.

The prophets brought many warnings from God, but they also brought great promises of a coming King who would be greater than David.  The prophets used many word-pictures to describe this coming King.  One of these words pictures, spoken by the great prophet Isaiah, included David’s father, Jesse.

Isaiah described Jesse as the dead stump of a mighty tree that had been cut down.  While Jesse’s sons and grandsons remained faithful to God, the tree flourished and bore fruit.  But when they fell into sin and wickedness, the tree was cut down.  When Isaiah speaks this promise, all that remains of the mighty tree of Jesse is a stump.

But, Isaiah says, from the roots of this dead stump will grow a new branch, full of life and bearing fruit.  This new branch is the coming King, whom Isaiah says will be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Like David and Solomon (before he fell), this Branch of Jesse will rule with faithfulness and righteousness.  He will bring justice to His kingdom, punishing the wicked and delivering the meek.  He will be a powerful king because ‘His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord’ (Is. 11:3).

The mighty Branch of Jesse appeared in Israel at Christmas, born in a stable and laid in a manger.  Jesus, the Word-made-flesh, was later baptized by John the Baptist.  When He came out of the water, the Holy Spirit descended on Him, just as Isaiah had promised.

Jesus is the Branch of Jesse because He rules with justice and faithfulness in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Advent Tree Ornament:  a stump with a leafing branch growing from the roots

Inscription:  “The Branch of Jesse”

Advent Catechism:

  1. Why is Jesus the Light of the World?  Because He brings us out of the dark and into the Light of His Kingdom.
  2. Why is Jesus the Serpent-Crusher?  Because He crushed the head of Satan by dying on the Cross.
  3. Why is Jesus the Ark of Salvation?  Because He saves us from the storm of God’s judgment.
  4. Why is Jesus the Promise of Abram?  Because He blesses all the families of the earth.
  5. Why is Jesus the Lamb of Isaac?  Because He died in our place.
  6. Why is Jesus the Ladder of Jacob?  Because He takes care of us always, even when we sleep.
  7. Why is Jesus the Coat of Joseph?  Because He was torn and bloodied in our place.
  8. Why is Jesus the New Moses?  Because He teaches us God’s commands and makes us able to obey them.
  9. Why is Jesus the New Joshua?  Because He is our Captain, who leads us in battle and brings peace to the Land.
  10. Why is Jesus the New Boaz?  Because He rescues and protects us.
  11. Why is Jesus the New David?  Because He also is a Shepherd-King, who kills the Giants that threaten His people.
  12. Why is Jesus the New Solomon?  Because He is the Wise King who blesses all the families of the earth.
  13. Why is Jesus the Branch of Jesse?  Because He rules with justice and faithfulness in the power of the Holy Spirit.