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The Righteous Reign of the Coming King
Photo by Flickr user Slideshow Bruce
[Editors' note: This Advent season, we will be running a series of reflections on the Bread Blog from members of New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. The lectionary readings for this post are Isaiah 9:1-7; Hebrews 12:18-29; and Matthew 21:23-32. Keep reading the Bread Blog for more Advent reflections each day.]
Three very different scenarios for this day. The passage from Isaiah originally served as an oracle for the coronation of a Judean king, possibly Hezekiah, and is describing events in a land eventually divided into three provinces by Assyrian kings on their way to the Mediterranean. The language includes an announcement of a divine birth that probably came from an Egyptian coronation ritual, but from our perspective can be read as the forecast of the birth of Jesus: "For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God. Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
In the Letter to the Hebrews, by an unknown author, the text urges the faithful to follow Christ’s example and live as he did. Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us give thanks, by which we offer to God an acceptable worship with reverence and awe, for indeed our God is a consuming fire. Not exactly a typical Sunday service.
Finally, in the passage from Matthews, following his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Jesus is asked by the chief priests in the Temple by what authority did he act and who gave him the authority, and responds by asking them whether John’s ministry was divine or merely human in its origin, to which the priests replied that they did not know, since the first answer would suggest they believed that Jesus was the Messiah and the second would anger those who believed in John being a messenger of God. Since the priests did not answer the question posed by Jesus on authority, Jesus said neither would he answer their question.
Prayer: Creator God, keep us mindful of the perseverance and messages of those who preceded us in our faith history.
Robert L. Doan is a member at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Visit their website at www.nyapc.org.
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