Read together: (Hymn “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus” #338 LSB) Come, Thou long expected Jesus, Born to set Thy people free; From our fears and sins release us; Let us find our rest in Thee. Israel’s strength and consolation, Hope of all the earth Thou art, Dear desire of ev’ry nation, Joy of ev’ry longing heart..
Theme verse: Isaiah 25:1 You have done marvelous things, things planned long ago.
Why should we expect a Savior? In Genesis 3 we read the account of Eve and Adam failing to live up to the expectations of God. God expected perfection from them. Adam and Eve failed to listen and obey God. They ate from the tree from which God had forbidden them to eat. They broke the perfect relationship between man and God. But Adam and Eve were God’s beloved creation. In Genesis 3:15 God promised them a savior to rescue them from their sins and fears of living in a broken world. God promised them to be “released from their fears and their sins”. Re-read Genesis 3:15: What is going to happen to the serpent? (Answer: his head will be crushed – he will die) Evil will be stopped. This is the first of promises God gives to his people. What happens to the man? (Answer: the serpent will bite his heel.) Ask : What happens when you are bit by a poisonous snake. (Answer: You die. The Savior was going to die, but would not stay dead for the evil had been crushed.) For your consideration: Whether we consciously thing about it or not, we live in a world of “expectations”. It is hard to “live up” to some expectations. We loose strength and courage to try. We loose our “hope”. Ask: What are some expectations in your life that are hard on you? Maybe it is your parents’ expectations, your teachers’ expectations, your friends, or even yourself? What do you expect from yourself? Sometimes expectations can be a very positive influence in your life. What expectations do you have for your future? Adam and Eve expected a Savior. They expected to return to the world with God, as God promised. This promised was given to their children to share from one generation to another. In Genesis 4 Eve gave birth to a son, Cain. Her response to this birth was “With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man.” According to Martin Luther Eve believed that her son was the fulfillment of the promise of a Savior. As we read later in Genesis 4 Cain was NOT the promised Messiah. He became a murderer. If not this son, how would one recognize the promised Savior? What can I expect my Savior to be?
Birth of the Savior Foretold Read: Isaiah 7:14, 9:6; Luke 1:26-56 The prophets of the Old Testament spoke of the coming “Day of the Lord”/the Coming of the Savior which would be wonderful and horrible, great and dreadful. On the good side, God’s people would be delivered from their slavery in Babylon, Assyria, and even in Israel. On the bad side God would execute his judgment of the people who were worshiping false gods and who had wandered from his ways. Ultimately the prophecy points to the birth and death of the Messiah* and His triumphant second coming all the same day of the Lord. On this day of the Lord, God punished Jesus for the sins of the people and through Jesus delivered them from their sins. This week we will focus on what God told his people to expect of the Messiah at that time and what can we expect today and in the future. * (Footnote: The word “messiah” means the “anointed one”/the chosen one. The word “messiah” was used of an expected deliverer of the Jewish nation.)
Exploring God’s Word Option: Give each student paper and a pencil. Have them write down 5 very general things about themselves. As you read each paper to the class have the students guess who is being described. Can you guess who is paper represents? (Hopefully there is a little confusion because of the generality of the statements.) Say: The more specific and the more information we can give about a person, the easier it will be to recognize the person. Many things are written in the Old Testament that point to the Promised Savior. Christ’s birth and life were announced long before Mary, the mother of our Savior, was even born. In fact, prophets* told many details about His birth hundreds of years before. (From 6,000 to 450 BC) Over 300 prophecies were made, so the Israelites would expect and recognize Jesus when He came. If someone told you 300 facts about someone you never met, do you think you would recognize him? * (Definition of a Prophet: Deuteronomy 18:18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers: I will put my _________________ in his __________________, and he will _______________them everything I ___________________________ him.)
Let’s explore God’s Word, the Holy Scriptures, to discover the facts that point us to the Messiah. As a class complete the fill in the blanks below.
Bible Passage Expectation of the Messiah Genesis 3:15 Born of a woman Isaiah 7:14 Born of a ______________________________ Isaiah 7:14 Both God and man Psalm 2:7 _________________ of God Genesis 22:18 Son of Abraham Genesis 21:12 Son of _______________________________ Numbers 24:17 Son of _______________________________ Genesis 49:10 From the tribe of Judah Isaiah 11:1 Son of ____________________________ Jeremiah 23:5 Son of David Micah 5:2 Born in ___________________________________ Psalm 72:10 Shall be presented with _____________________ from kings Jeremiah 31:15 Threatened by Herod Deuteronomy 18:18 He shall be a ____________________________________ Psalm 110:4 He shall be a Priest Isaiah 33:22 He shall be a _____________________________________ Psalm 2:6 He shall be a King Malachi 3:1 He shall be preceded by a Messenger Isaiah 9:1 He shall teach first in Galilee Isaiah 35:5, 6 He shall perform ___________________________________
God did NOT want His people confused about HIS PROMISED SAVIOR. He was very specific in His prophecies that would point to Jesus. Many FALSE prophets tried to claim the title of “messiah” but in scouring the scriptures, there would be some prophecies that would not apply to this false prophet. BUT, Mary, and Joseph knew he was the long expected Messiah. Both knew she was a virgin when the baby was conceived. King Herod knew the prophecy of the Savior being born in Bethlehem. This baby born to Mary had to die to keep Herod on his throne. (Jeremiah 31:15). The magi from the East came to bow down and worship Jesus, the Christ Child. They brought him gifts. (Psalm 72:10) They knew he was the Messiah. Later Simeon and Anna at the temple in Jerusalem glorified God in seeing this promised child. God told His people what to expect and those that listened, met the promised Messiah. What can you expect from this promised Savior? Let the students struggle with this question before leading them to John 3:16. We can and should expect the Grace of God. We can and should expect to be made perfect. We can and should expect everlasting life. Why? Read John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” God gave the Words of prophecy so that we may expect to be re-created perfect in His sight just as Adam and Eve were first made perfect. All
Closing Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have promised that we can expect your unexpected love through your Son, Jesus Christ. You created us and you have redeemed us from our sins and our selfish ways through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Lord, we thank you and praise you for this great and eternal gift. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen
Option: Lutheran Link Advent What is Advent? The word “advent” is from the Latin word for “coming” and as such, describes the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ into the flesh. (Isaiah 7:14…and will call him Immanuel which means “God with us”. Advent is the beginning of the Christian calendar and begins four Sundays before Christmas. The color of Advent (found on the Altar and on the pulpit cloths) is blue – the color of hope. We can expect and receive the “hope” of eternal life. In Advent the readings in worship specially focus on Christ’s “coming”, but Christ’s coming manifest itself among us in three ways ---past, present, and future. The Old Testament readings highlight Christ’s coming in the past focus prophecies of his incarnation (incarnation – taking on flesh in the form of a human being) at Bethlehem. The readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the future focus on his “second coming” on the Last Day at the end of time. And the readings which highlight Christ’s coming in the present focus on his ministry among us through Word and Sacrament today.