Fourth Sunday of Advent
December 18, 2016
- First reading
- Second reading
Romans 1:1-7 | New Living Translation (NLT)
This letter is from Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, chosen by God to be an apostle and sent out to preach his Good News. God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.
And you are included among those Gentiles who have been called to belong to Jesus Christ. I am writing to all of you in Rome who are loved by God and are called to be his own holy people.
May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace.
This is the last week of Advent and the last week on our journey toward Christmas. I have been preaching a series called “Star Wars.” Over these last few weeks we have been focusing on that Jesus is coming…we have primarily looked at his second coming – we learned that we should prepare – that his coming brings joy – and this week we look at the events that led up to his arrival.
We often think of Jesus coming to Bethlehem as primarily a Jewish event. After all Israel was the one promised a new king. Jesus is a king in the line of David. Paul reminds us here in the introduction of his letter to the church at Rome that Jesus is the promised King – Jesus is who he said he was. We are reminded by Paul that this Good News was promised by the prophets. I love this next line: The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.
On this week – the week before we celebrate Christ coming to earth as Emmanuel – God with us – we are reminded that Jesus Christ is the promised one – the one prophesied by the scriptures. This is Good News and Paul tells us that even we Gentiles have been authorized to tell of this Good News to people everywhere. Tell them what God has done for us – so that they will believe – so that they will bring glory to His name.
I love the last line of our scripture today – May God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ give you grace and peace. That is my prayer today for you. This week is a crazy week. I’ve seen it as we have gone to the Olean Wal-mart. I am not looking forward to grocery shopping this Monday. It’s going to be a madhouse in there. There doesn’t look like there is any grace and peace going on there – and yet that is what God wants for us – through the coming of Jesus Christ – to be God with us – who died for us – who rose again and who is coming again – these are the things – this is the Good News that gives us grace and peace.