Advent – A King in the Line of David

Advent Reading: Rev. 11:15 (underlined below)

Promise Made | God promised Abraham that He would bless the world through him [1]. God then extended that covenant to Abraham’s son Isaac, then Isaac’s son Jacob, and then Jacob’s son Judah [2]. Nine generations later, in Judah’s line, Jesse of Bethlehem had eight sons, including David. Although David was the youngest, God chose to extend the covenant to him: “I will make for you a great name … I will raise up your offspring after you … and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” [3].

Promise Kept | On the one hand, God kept that promise to David by making his son, Solomon, into a great king. On the other hand, however, the throne of Solomon did not endure forever – he died and, upon his death, civil war broke out and his throne was split into two kingdoms (Israel and Judah). Yet, a thousand years later, an angel announced to a virgin, “You will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David … and of his kingdom there will be no end” [4].

Promise Meant | God called forth Jesus through the line of David because He wanted to show that Jesus was the ultimate and final king. When God promised the kingdom of Israel to David, He had a far greater kingdom in view for his descendant. Jesus is not just king over Israel; he is king over all. As Handel’s Messiah celebrates (quoting John’s Revelation): “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever” [5].

Prayer | Lord, As “the founder and perfecter of our faith”, Jesus joyfully “endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” [6]. Today, he reigns over all people – those of Israel and beyond – and we have an advocate in him before the Father [7]. Therefore, let us “with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace” [8]. Amen.

What is the non-advent reading for today? 2 Kg. 16 and 2 Chron. 28.
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[1] See 843 Acres, The Messiah Would Have a Particular Lineage (Part 1: A Family), 2 December 2010.  |  [2]   If I don’t know the name of my great grandfather, then how do the gospel writers know the names of the over 65 generations from which Jesus came … or, let’s be honest, is it all fabricated? I asked this question to a scholarly Messianic Jew two years ago. His response was profound. First, he told me that every Jew recorded their genealogy in the Temple so that they could trace their ancestral line back to King David and beyond. Second, he pointed out that, since the Romans destroyed the temple – and its genealogical records within – in 70 AD, no one thereafter could prove their family origin to the specificity that the Messianic prophecies required. Therefore, the last generation that had access to such proof of lineage was the generation of the gospel writers – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Third, by destroying the temple and its records, God was ushering in a new way to become his people – no longer through the recorded ancestral line of Israel, but rather through the line of faith in Jesus Christ himself.  |  [3]  2 Samuel 7:9, 12-13 ESV  |    [4]  Luke 1:31-33 ESV. See also Romans 1:3; Matthew 22:45; Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:25. Note also: The genealogy of Matthew and the genealogy of Luke differ. For some interesting thoughts as to why, see Who Was Jesus’ Grandfather? by John Piper (18 November 1997).  |  [5] Revelation 11:15 ESV. See also James’ argument before the Jerusalem Council, in which he argued that God’s plan was to “rebuild the tabernacle of David” in order that “the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who are called by My name” (Acts 17, quoting Amos 15:14-18).  |  [6]  Hebrews 12:2 ESV  |  [7]  1 John 2:1-2  |  [8]  Hebrews 4:16

Advent – He Would Have a Price

Advent Reading: Rom. 15:8-9 (underlined below)

Promise Made | After the exiles returned to Jerusalem, God sent two prophets – Haggai (to encourage them to rebuild the temple) and Zechariah (to encourage them to prepare for entering the temple through repentance and renewal). Yet, the exiles were discouraged because squatters who had settled in their land were opposing them. Thus, God called Zechariah to rekindle their hope in the Messiah [1] – prophesying that he would be betrayed by a friend for thirty pieces of silver that would be cast on the temple floor and given to a potter: “The Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter’ – the lordly price at which I was priced by them. So I took the thirty pieces of silver and threw them into the house of the Lord, to the potter” [2].

Promise Kept | Judas handed Jesus over to the chief priests for the negotiated sum of thirty pieces of silver [3]. Yet, when he saw Jesus being prepared for death, “he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed … But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.’ So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place for strangers” [4].

Promise Meant | Jesus was priced at thirty pieces of silver because, under Jewish law, that was the price of a slave [5]. Jesus was a slave [6]. To whom? Israel. As Paul wrote, “Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy” [7]. Jesus was a servant of Israel to satisfy the law for them and, thereby, show mercy to the Gentiles as well – for no one could satisfy the law except Christ alone [8].

Prayer | Lord, You are Lord and King over all. Yet, Jesus became a slave to serve us by living a sinless life and then offering himself as a sacrifice [9]. Help us, therefore, to offer ourselves as living sacrifices as we serve one another in the light of your life and love. Amen.


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What is the non-advent reading for today? 2 Kg. 15:32-38 + 2 Chron. 27 + Mic. 1:1-16
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[1] See Zech. 14:9.  |  [2] Zech. 11:12-13 ESV  |  [3] Matt. 26:15 ESV  |  [4] Matt. 27:3-7 ESV
[5] See Ex. 21:32  |  [6] See Is. 53; Mk 9:25; 10:45; Acts 3:13.  |  [7] Rom. 15:8-9 ESV
[8] See Rom. 3:9-20Ecc. 7:20.  |  [9] See Phil. 2:1-11.

the purpose of this blog

This blog aims to show how various personalities and minds approach the Word and, through it, come to know God. Therefore, each posting on this blog will be anchored to a particular verse or a passage of the Bible and how that verse or passage has impacted the author’s life or thinking. In addition, there will be many authors from various cities all over the country, so that a diversity of writing styles and life approaches can be represented. Through this, we hope that you will be inspired to “play” in the Word and find joy in coming to know God through it. [Note: If you would like to be a contributing author, please send a writing sample of no more than 350 words.]

Stay tuned: daily postings will begin in September.

the meaning of 843 acres

843 acres is the size of Central Park – an area that constitutes less than 6% of the entire island of Manhattan. Despite its small bite out of the Big Apple, however, the Park has a huge impact on the lives of New Yorkers. As soon as the winter weather gives even the slightest spring smile, New Yorkers crowd the Park – to run the loop, get painted faces, stroll with baby carriages, toss footballs, and have picnics. After spending winters trapped inside matchbox apartments and having no private backyards in which to play, New Yorkers come alive every spring in the vast expanse of Central Park.

img_09634[caption: the Bethesda Water Fountain on the 72nd street traverse in Central Park]

Similarly, the Word is life-restoring for Christians. Confronted with uncertain and confusing circumstances in our lives, we get trapped inside small-minded thinking. The Word, however, sets us free. Despite its small size, the Bible’s impact on our lives far exceeds that of any other book on our shelves. In it, we can run about in joy, explore meaningful truths, and delight in God’s promises. Although our circumstances can seem claustrophobic, the Word breathes new life into those who abide in it.

Thus, as the Park is to the City, so the Word is to Life.