Second Sunday of Advent – December 10, 2017

Texts for the Day

The Messiah

“The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.”

These are the opening words of the Gospel of Mark, from which we will be reading all year.  This verse introduces the two titles for Jesus that will appear throughout this Gospel, Christ and Son of God.  This week, we will examine the first of these titles, Christ.  This Greek word can also be translated Messiah.

What is the Messiah?  Literally, the term means “Anointed One,” referring to the practice of anointing kings with oil.  Read 2 Samuel 7:1-17.  In this passage, promises are made that the kingdom and dynasty of David will last forever.  And yet we know from history that the kingdom came to an end with the destruction of the first temple in 586 BC.

So how can it be that God still keeps God’s promises?  The subsequent history of Israel has investigated this question.  The reading from Isaiah 40 this week is one such exploration.  By introducing his account with the word Messiah, Mark is making the claim that this promise is going to fulfilled in Jesus.  As we read Mark through the year, see if you can identify where Mark is showing this to be the case.

Questions for reflection:

  • You are not an Israelite in ancient Palestine, but the hope for an Anointed One is a nearly universal feeling. For what in your life are you waiting for a Messiah?
  • Does God keep God’s promises? What do you think of the words in 2 Peter, “The Lord is not slow about his promise, as some think of slowness, but is patient with you, not wanting any to perish, but all to come to repentance.”
  • In light of your answer, how do you see God’s promises revealed in Jesus?

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