Old Testament: Isaiah (2:1-5)
The word that Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem. In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. O house of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord!
- In the 4th century the Feast of Jesus’ birth was held January 6.
- The Romans moved the celebration to December 25 to coincide with “The Feast of the Sun God.”
- This later became the feast of Christmas.
- In the Middle Ages Advent was 40 days long following the tradition of Lent — very penitential.
- Also called St. Martin’s Lent.
- In the 20th century Advent was turned into a simpler, joyous time. (blue vs. purple)
- The original focus of Advent was the 2nd coming of Jesus as well as his birth. (dual focus)
- Assyria was becoming the dominant power of the day.
- The focus was on God as the God of all nations.
- The nations are coming to Jerusalem — OK Israel, join them!
- The verses are very similar to ones found in Micah.
The Response: Psalm 122
1 I was glad when they said to me, *
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
2 Now our feet are standing *
within your gates, O Jerusalem.
3 Jerusalem is built as a city *
that is at unity with itself;
4 To which the tribes go up,
the tribes of the Lord, *
the assembly of Israel,
to praise the Name of the Lord.
5 For there are the thrones of judgment, *
the thrones of the house of David.
6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: *
“May they prosper who love you.
7 Peace be within your walls *
and quietness within your towers.
8 For my brethren and companions’ sake, *
I pray for your prosperity.
9 Because of the house of the Lord our God, *
I will seek to do you good.”
- Song of assent sung while making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
- There are three distinct sections: 1,2; 3-5; 6-9.
- 1) Journey; 2) Description of the city; 3) Prayer for Jerusalem.
- The name Jerusalem was mentioned in all three sections.
- There was a sense of joy in coming to the temple in Jerusalem.
The Epistle: Romans (13:11-14)
You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honorably as in the day, not in reveling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
- Special reading for Advent.
- This is one of Paul’s authentic letters – looking for salvation when Jesus returns.
- It focuses on the future and how we need to live now.
- Jesus is coming “soon,” but not immediately.
The Gospel: Matthew (24:36-44)
[Jesus said to his disciples,] “About that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. For as the days of Noah were, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and they knew nothing until the flood came and swept them all away, so too will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two will be in the field; one will be taken and one will be left. Two women will be grinding meal together; one will be taken and one will be left. Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But understand this: if the owner of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
- Be prepared, but in the meantime preach the Gospel.
- The people were speculating when Jesus would actually return.
- “Docetus” – belief that Jesus just appears to be human but is actually God.
- They did not like the verse where it was admitted that Jesus did not know something.
- The King James version of the Bible skips over the phrase about Jesus not knowing.
- The word “taken” can also be interpreted as “received.”