By Jacob Toman
During advent this year we will be studying the many audiences that were awaiting the coming of the messiah. We’ll discover ancient signs and prophecies of this savior that these audiences would have known about. And we may even find that the way we await to celebrate Christmas may in fact be similar to how some of the first advent audiences awaited Jesus.
- What comes to mind when you hear Advent?
- Do you or your family have traditions you celebrate during the build up to Christmas?
- If someone were to visit you from 2000 years ago, how would you explain what Christmas means to you?
- What are some of the signs the first audiences would have been looking for?
6 Then the Lord sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died. 7 The people came to Moses and said, “We sinned when we spoke against the Lord and against you. Pray that the Lord will take the snakes away from us.” So Moses prayed for the people.
8 The Lord said to Moses, “Make a snake and put it up on a pole; anyone who is bitten can look at it and live.” 9 So Moses made a bronze snake and put it up on a pole. Then when anyone was bitten by a snake and looked at the bronze snake, they lived.
14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.
We learn from Numbers that the Messiah would ______ his people. Jesus takes this upon himself in John 3 saying that he has come to ______ those who believe.
14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.
30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
34 “How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?” 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.
We learn from Isaiah the birth of the messiah will be a __________ one that is mysterious and from God. Mary’s testimony and _________ is confirmed by her friends, family, and fiance.
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
We learn from Micah that the Messiah will come from a small clan, that is ancient, and be born in __________. In Matthew we see this confirmed that the Magi and Herod were focused on the birth of this child who was born in ___________.
We have seen that the Messiah would come to save, the birth of the Messiah would be miraculous, and the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. For further reading, see Luke 1:5-80.