Advent for Adults #7

December 7th …. 18 NIGHTS TIL CHRISTMAS


“Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”                    Luke 2:10,11


Some people point out that this child was really only the Jewish Messiah. After all, it’s mentioned several times that Jesus Christ is the heir to the throne of David, the Jewish king who ruled in Jerusalem 3000 years ago. So what are we Canadians—some of us immigrants from all over the world— doing celebrating the birthday of a future Hebrew king? After all, is Jesus Christ the King of the Jews or the King of the whole world?

Notice first of all that these tidings of great joy were for ALL people, not just the Jews. Eight days after the baby was born, Mary and Joseph brought the child into the Temple, where they met Simeon, who held the baby up  in his arms and joyfully prophesied “mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” [Luke 2:30-32]

What does it mean, “a light to lighten the Gentiles?”

The word Gentiles in the Bible is the Greek word ethnos — from which we get the word ethnic, by which we differentiate between our different origins.  Are you of African or West Indian descent? We all have different back grounds, we were all born in families from different nations. Right now the world is divided into many counties.  Depending on the source, there are from 189 to 196 independent countries in the world today.  It’s wonderful to have such diversity, but it also is the source of much conflict. The Bible warns that conflicts between nations will increase as we get closer to the end of this age.  Jesus prophesied that at the end of the present age of grace nation (ethnos) shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” [Matthew 24:7]

The Bible teaches that there was a specific beginning to History, and there will be a specific end. In fact, history is his story— the story of what God has been doing with the race of Adam for these past 6000 years.  We need to be reminded occasionally that we are all family. We all started out with the same parents— Adam and Eve. We need to remember that we all have the same needs— food, shelter, clothing, love, family, friendship, hope, purpose, and a future. What good is today without hope for tomorrow?

But our future is becoming more dystopic by the minute. A dystopia is the opposite of a utopia. Despite all the advancements of science and technology, the human race seems destined to paint itself into a corner.  Nations are turning against nations. Why?  Because we human beings are constantly fighting over resources and real estate. Why? Because these are finite, and it seems that the appetite of earthlings is infinite.  Despite the best of intentions, the world seems to be turning into a battle zone where survival of the fittest is the rule.

Right now, the nations of the world need a LIGHT. They need to know that there is a substantial reason for hope for the future. Jesus is that light.  Jesus is not just for the Jews—“the glory of thy people Israel”.  Of course he is the Messiah for the Jews. He will indeed shortly rescue Israel and set her as the chief joy of all the nations. “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: “  [Jeremiah  3:17]

But what all the nations of the world need to hear most of all , is that although the Jewish people are God’s Chosen People, the benefits and joys and promises God has made to them are not for them alone. We must remember that God has treated Israel like his only son. (In fact, there is a prophecy that applies both to Christ and to the nation of Israel— “Out of Egypt have I called my son”.  [Mathew 2:15] Moses was to say to Pharaoh: “And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn.”  [Exodus 4:22])

If Israel is his SON, who are we Gentiles?

If Israel is the heir, what are we Gentiles?

Here is the good news.

Through the birth of this baby in Bethlehem, we Gentiles are given the means to partake of the inheritance God has promised to the Jews.  The Bible teaches that  when we take Christ as Saviour, we become the adopted children of God. We are legally adopted into his family. “And if children,then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.”

      I do not expect you to grasp this all at once. But I must remind you that these blogs are called ADVENT FOR ADULTS for a reason — they will contain concepts that may be tough for even an adult to understand the first time ‘round.

For instance, read the following passage from  Ephesians carefully. Here God reaffirms Himself to the Jew, but  also cries out  to all the Gentiles, — this Child will be the joy of the whole world!

“Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh [physically born a Gentile, not a Jew]….that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: but now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; and that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: and came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.”   [Ephesians 2:12-19]

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her king!”