Advent Day 13

THE READINGS

Isaiah 7:10-25 · 2 Thessalonians 2:13-3:5

Psalm 31
1 In you, O Lord, I seek refuge;
   do not let me ever be put to shame;
   in your righteousness deliver me. 
2 Incline your ear to me;
   rescue me speedily.
Be a rock of refuge for me,
   a strong fortress to save me. 
3 You are indeed my rock and my fortress;
   for your name’s sake lead me and guide me, 
4 take me out of the net that is hidden for me,
   for you are my refuge. 
5 Into your hand I commit my spirit;
   you have redeemed me, O Lord, faithful God. 
6 You hate those who pay regard to worthless idols,
   but I trust in the Lord. 
7 I will exult and rejoice in your steadfast love,
   because you have seen my affliction;
   you have taken heed of my adversities, 
8 and have not delivered me into the hand of the enemy;
   you have set my feet in a broad place. 
9 Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am in distress;
   my eye wastes away from grief,
   my soul and body also. 
10 For my life is spent with sorrow,
   and my years with sighing;
my strength fails because of my misery,
   and my bones waste away. 
11 I am the scorn of all my adversaries,
   a horror to my neighbors,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
   those who see me in the street flee from me. 
12 I have passed out of mind like one who is dead;
   I have become like a broken vessel. 
13 For I hear the whispering of many—
   terror all around!—
as they scheme together against me,
   as they plot to take my life. 
14 But I trust in you, O Lord;
   I say, ‘You are my God.’ 
15 My times are in your hand;
   deliver me from the hand of my enemies and persecutors. 
16 Let your face shine upon your servant;
   save me in your steadfast love. 
17 Do not let me be put to shame, O Lord,
   for I call on you;
let the wicked be put to shame;
   let them go dumbfounded to Sheol. 
18 Let the lying lips be stilled
   that speak insolently against the righteous
   with pride and contempt. 
19 O how abundant is your goodness
   that you have laid up for those who fear you,
and accomplished for those who take refuge in you,
   in the sight of everyone! 
20 In the shelter of your presence you hide them
   from human plots;
you hold them safe under your shelter
   from contentious tongues. 
21 Blessed be the Lord,
   for he has wondrously shown his steadfast love to me
   when I was beset as a city under siege. 
22 I had said in my alarm,
   ‘I am driven far from your sight.’
But you heard my supplications
   when I cried out to you for help. 
23 Love the Lord, all you his saints.
   The Lord preserves the faithful,
   but abundantly repays the one who acts haughtily. 
24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
   all you who wait for the Lord.


Luke 22:14-30

14 When the hour came, he took his place at the table, and the apostles with him. 15 He said to them, ‘I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I tell you, I will not eat it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.’ 17 Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he said, ‘Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ 19 Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ 2 0And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood. 21 But see, the one who betrays me is with me, and his hand is on the table. 22 For the Son of Man is going as it has been determined, but woe to that one by whom he is betrayed!’ 23 Then they began to ask one another which one of them it could be who would do this.

24 A dispute also arose among them as to which one of them was to be regarded as the greatest. 25 But he said to them, ‘The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those in authority over them are called benefactors. 26 But not so with you; rather the greatest among you must become like the youngest, and the leader like one who serves. 27 For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one at the table? But I am among you as one who serves.

28 ‘You are those who have stood by me in my trials; 29 and I confer on you, just as my Father has conferred on me, a kingdom, 30 so that you may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

MEDITATION

I am among you as one who serves, Jesus says to his disciples on the very night of his betrayal and arrest. Here we see Jesus serving his disciples bread and wine, pointing to his ultimate act of service for them and for the whole world which he is about to complete.

Here Jesus articulates and shows again what it means for him to be the long-awaited Messiah, the one who would enact a “new covenant” in which the people of God would faithfully follow God because his law would be written on their hearts.

Part of what it means to be this faithful people is to know that everything we have comes from God. Just as we receive the bread and wine—Christ’s body and blood—from the table each week, we remember that Christ is among us as one who serves. Our life together as God’s people, our new life in Christ, is birthed out of Jesus’ death. Not only does this orient us toward the source of our life, but this truth directs us outward, to be servants to one another and to our neighbors.

If Advent is a season of expectation, we are expecting the fullness of the kingdom of the God who serves and calls to serve.

If Advent is a season of preparation, we are preparing ourselves for that future kingdom as well as for living in the kingdom here and now.

In the liturgy, we confess that we have sinned against God in “thought, word and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone.” Advent is a season of repentance, because much like Jesus’ disciples, we often find it easier to spend our energies arguing about who is the greatest among us rather than who is the least. Many of us attempt to exert our greatness over others by speaking harsh words and doing unkind deeds. Yet I’m sure most of us can think of many words we should have spoken and deeds we should have done.

- Alex Tiethoff

PRAYER

Ask God to continue reorienting you toward himself, toward the reality that our entire life comes from him.

Reflect on the people to whom and the places to which God has called you to serve. Reflect on situations and people that you have influence and authority over. Reflect on how God is leading you and preparing you for kingdom life, a life of service. Repent of what you need to repent, and pray the Prayer of Confession.

Jon Ziegler