Revised Common Lectionary – Year B: First Sunday of Advent
Jesus Christ is God’s Answer to our prayer.
We confess our sins to God - ‘We sinned... All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags’. We look to God for forgiveness - ‘Do not remember our sins for ever’ (Isaiah 64:5-6, 9). We know that God hears and answers our prayer. Jesus Christ is God’s Answer to our prayer. He has ‘come down’ from heaven to earth. ‘The Son of the Most High’ has been ‘born’ into our world. Jesus Christ is God’s way of saying ‘Here am I! Here am I!’ He is ‘God with us’ (Isaiah 64:1; 65:1; Luke 1:32, 35; Matthew 1:23). ‘The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin’. Let us ‘confess our sins’. ‘The blood of Jesus, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin’- Let us come to God with faith, believing that He ‘will forgive our sins’. (1 John 1:7, 9). Let us rejoice in Jesus, our Saviour!
We pray for salvation. God gives His Answer – Jesus Christ, our Saviour.
‘Restore us, O God, make Your face shine upon us, that we may be saved’ (Psalm 80:3). This prayer for salvation is repeated with a growing sense of God’s greatness - ‘O God Almighty’ (Psalm 80:7), ‘O Lord God Almighty’ (Psalm 80:19). To those who are asking the question of salvation - ‘What must I do to be saved?’ - , God gives His answer - ‘Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved’ (Acts 16:30-31). What does the Lord say to those who look to Christ for salvation? - ‘The Lord will bless you and watch over you. The Lord will smile on you and be kind to you. The Lord will look on you with favour and give you peace’ (Numbers 6:24-26). Let us worship Him: ‘Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! Through Christ, God has blessed us with every spiritual blessing that heaven has to offer’ (Ephesians 1:3).
Christ is our full salvation. Let us rejoice and be glad in Him.
Paul preached the Gospel, ‘not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power’ (1 Corinthians 1:17; 2:4). He preached ‘Christ crucified’ with a determination ‘to know nothing except Jesus Christ crucified’ (1 Corinthians 1:23; 2:2). This is the message of our salvation - ‘Christ crucified... Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God’ (1 Corinthians 1:23-24). All the glory belongs to God. We have no right to steal away any of the glory for ourselves: ‘Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord’ (1 Corinthians 1:26-31). Our faith is ‘not based on human wisdom but on God’s power’(2:5). ‘Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace’ (Mission Praise, 712). Christ is our full salvation. ‘Let us rejoice and be glad’ in Him’ (1 Corinthians 1:30; Psalm 118:24).
With Christ as our Saviour, we are a people of hope.
We are not to be a people whose ‘faith’ is locked in the past! We are to be a people of hope. We look to the future. We ‘see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory’ (Mark 13:26). There may be ‘wars and rumours of wars’ (Mark 13:7). When Christ returns, only one thing will matter: ‘he who endures to the end will be saved’ (Mark 13:13). ‘This day - the noise of battle’: Look beyond all that to ‘the victor’s song’(Church Hymnary, 481). In human conflict, there is so much of self - ‘We are the people’. When Christ returns, nothing will matter but this: ‘When the roll is called up yonder, I'll be there’ (Mission Praise,759). We hear of ‘wars and rumours of wars’. Do we say, ‘This is part of our history. It’s always been this way’? We must remember: Preaching Christ's Gospel is far more important than ‘defending’ our ways (10)!