Week of Promise

Week of Promise
December 7th
Luke 2:25-35

From the beginning, God’s promise has been that the serpent would bruise our heel, but would have his head crushed. This promise is tested all through the story as God’s people are struck by the serpents venomous bite, yet the promise continues. The flood destroys all people on the earth, but there is a chosen family in Noah accompanied by a promise to never again destroy the earth by a flood. A promise was made to Abram that he would be the father of many nations through a son even though he and his wife were well past child-bearing age. Joseph was sold as a slave to Egypt and it looked as though the serpent’s bite would be the end of the promise. Yet he was kept safe and became the means of salvation for all his brothers’ and father’s households. Israel becomes enslaved to Egypt for 400 years. Again the serpent’s bite cripples God’s mission. Yet through Moses, the promise is kept alive as God delivers his people into the promised land. At every attempt of the serpent to ruin the mission of God, the promise triumphs and makes a way. Then one day, in Bethlehem, a promise of eternal significance was born in a stable. Jesus is more than just another promised son, He is THE promise to which all the other promises foreshadow. He would lead his people to a greater promised land. He would provide for them a greater sacrifice. He would, on the cross, finally and forever crush the head of the serpent, taking away the sting and fear of death forever and giving His people hope.

Sometimes it seems as though we do nothing but wait for things in life to improve, and it is very difficult to not simply give in to despair. We feel the poison of doubt from the serpent's bite slowly take over our mind and heart, convincing us that things will never improve. But this is not true, for Jesus is God with us! The great Promise of God was Himself. Old Simeon in our main passage knew that this baby Jesus was the One who would finally crush the head of the serpent and rescue us all from despair and death. As you face difficulty this holiday season, maybe for the thousandth time, do not let your heart despair as if God has not promised. He is faithful and loves you, for the Promise has already arrived and guarantees a return with glory for those who trust in Him.

Pastoral Prayer
Faithful God and Father. You never fail and never fall short of any of your promises. I thank You that Your promise to crush the serpent’s head has been accomplished at the cross, though we wait for its finalization with confident hope. I pray for my brothers and sisters of Mission Church to experience Your great rest because of Your faithfulness. We all know this season goes way too fast, but help us to appreciate the moments You provide. Grant us eyes to see Your gracious reminders that by the blood of Jesus, we share in His victory and therefore have nothing to fear of the serpent’s bite. And for those who are suffering the pains and temptations of doubts this Christmas, bring them Your unconquerable peace and irrepressible joy. Comfort those who are hurting with this truth: Great is Your faithfulness! As well, Lord, let us be Your people who bring hope and comfort to others. We are continually amazed that You are God with us... and we want You to be God with them as well. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Questions to ponder together
What are some things that have caused you to doubt the faithfulness of God?

How does the arrival of Jesus on Christmas bring encouragement in your times of doubt?

How can you respond to disappointment in a way that demonstrates your trust in the Promise of God?

Activities with family and/or Gospel Community
Pray for one another regarding the times of disappointment; that we would find the promise of God fulfilled in Jesus and wait patiently for all else.

List and celebrate with others the good things God has brought your way this year.

Meditation verses

Monday 2Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but all should reach repentance

Tuesday 2Corinthians 1:20 For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.

Wednesday Hebrews 6:17-18 So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us.

Thursday Isaiah 25:9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Friday Psalm 27:5, For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock. Saturday 2Corinthians 4:16 So we do not lose heart. Though out outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed day by day.

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