on the Advent of Hope

on the Advent of Hope November 29, 2020

Many blessings to you and yours this Thanksgiving and Christmas season!  The first Sunday of Advent is traditionally a celebration of hope.

Matthew 1.20-21 | Hope Revealed

But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1.20-21 (ESV)

When all hope is lost, the very thing that Joseph fears becomes his greatest joy, a hope revealed.

Matt 1.22-23 | Hope Fulfilled

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” Matt 1.22-23

A prophecy is fulfilled (see also Isaiah 7.14).  The word came from Isaiah’s mouth, but the oracle came from Heaven.  Because of Passages like Isaiah 7, there are plenty of people forecasting and expecting the reign of the Messiah when Jesus is born.

The name Immanuel may not refer to the name as much as it does to what the Lord is doing.  It’s common for Hebrew names to refer to more than a person.  Immanuel is God with us, and a new generation will arise who knows this to be true.

The angel’s announcement is an announcement that God is with us, a hope fulfilled, a hope of the ages.

Matt 1.24 | Hope as a Catalyst for Obedience

When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife. Matt 1.24

The angel seems to be saying to Joseph, All I require is your obedience.  I’ve got everything else.

Hope is a catalyst for obedience, as we see for Joseph.  When I think about Joseph’s response to Mary’s untimely pregnancy, I think he still wants to honor her.  I think there’s part of him that wants to believe her, so the message from the angel seals the deal for him.  I also think he cares for her deeply, so he is looking for an excuse to marry her.  That’s my opinion.

Nevertheless, do you see how quick it takes Joseph to get back to Mary?

I believe verse 24 speaks for itself.  Is true hope a catalyst for our obedience?

Matt 1.21 | Hope of Salvation

She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins. Matt 1.21

Jesus is the Greek name for the Hebrew name Joshua.  The names mean savior, Yahweh saves, or Yahweh is salvation.

After 400 years Joshua leads the people of Israel from the deadly wilderness into the Promised Land.  Their ancestors have lived in this land, but they have only hoped.  For 400 years every generation has only hoped to be saved from Egypt’s grasp, and to re-enter the Promised Land.

Jesus is the hope of salvation and a new abundant life.  We may not be returning to Eden, but we can allow Jesus to lead us into our Promised Land, to get us back on track.

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Long Lake Friends Church

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