Advent – Family: The Messiah Is a Descendant of Jacob

by Bethany

Advent Text: Gen. 35:11-12 (underlined below)

Promise Made | Rebekah was pregnant with twins – Esau and Jacob. Her discomfort, however, was worse than normal. As God said, “Two nations are in your womb … the older shall serve the younger” [1]. As they grew up, it became clear that Jacob was a deceiver. First, he manipulated Esau into handing over his birthright [2]. Then, he deceived his father Isaac into giving him Esau’s blessing: “Let peoples serve you and nations bow down to you” [3]. Jacob also had two dream-like encounters with God – the ladder [4] and the wrestling match [5] – where God promised to extend Abraham’s blessing through him and gave him a new name – Israel. Later, God said, “No longer shall your name be called Jacob, but Israel … be fruitful and multiply. A nation and a company of nations shall come from you” [6]. In the end, Jacob had twelve sons – the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Promise Kept | Hundreds of years later, God prophesied through Malachi about His having chosen Jacob over Esau: “‘I have loved you,’ says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have you loved us?’ ‘Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?’ declares the LORD. ‘Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated’ … Great is the LORD – even beyond the borders of Israel!” [7]. Yes, God chose Jacob over Esau – although they were brothers, although they were twins, and although Jacob was younger! In doing so, God showed that His love was free (not bought) and sovereign (not coerced) and unconditional (not earned). Then, after 400 years of prophetic silence, a descendant of Jacob was born – Jesus – and he told his twelve disciples to go and “make disciples of all nations” [8] – Israel and beyond.

Promise Meant | Today, we are the result of Jacob’s obedience to God’s command: “Be fruitful and multiply”, and the disciples’ obedience to Jesus’ command, “Make disciples of all nations.” And God loves us as He loved Jacob – freely, sovereignly and unconditionally: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” [9].

Prayer | Lord, You are in heaven, where you love us because you chose to love us. Thus, we humbly and joyfully proclaim, “Great is the LORD – even beyond the borders of Israel!” Teach us, therefore, to take up the commission of Jacob and the disciples – to be fruitful and multiply your kingdom by bringing the unconditional love and gospel of Jesus to our neighbors and the nations. Amen.

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What is the non-advent reading for today? 2 Kings 14 + 2 Chron. 2
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[1] Gen. 25:23 ESV  |  [2] See Gen. 25:29-34  |  [3] Gen. 27:28-29 ESV  |  [4] See Gen. 28:10-22.  |  [5] See Gen. 35:10-12  | [6] Gen. 35:10, 11-12 ESV  |  [7] Mal. 1:1-3 ESV  |  [8] Matt. 28:19 ESV  |  [9] Rom. 5:8 ESV. See also Rom. 9.
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2 Responses to “Advent – Family: The Messiah Is a Descendant of Jacob”

  1. Thanks, Bethany. This is a helpful post because I’ve been thinking about the Orthodox Advent wreath which first candle is the patriarchs. -Joy

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