Advent Day 23
Artwork by Mena Hutin Zavala
Hope and Love, Mixed Media
Isaiah 11:1-9 · Revelation 20:1-10
1 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
2 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall never be shaken.
3 How long will you assail a person,
will you batter your victim, all of you,
as you would a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
4 Their only plan is to bring down a person of prominence.
They take pleasure in falsehood;
they bless with their mouths,
but inwardly they curse.Selah
5 For God alone my soul waits in silence,
for my hope is from him.
6 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
7 On God rests my deliverance and my honor;
my mighty rock, my refuge is in God.
8 Trust in him at all times, O people;
pour out your heart before him;
God is a refuge for us.Selah
9 Those of low estate are but a breath,
those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no confidence in extortion,
and set no vain hopes on robbery;
if riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken;
twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12 and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.
For you repay to all
according to their work.
30 “I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek to do not my own will but the will of him who sent me.
31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies on my behalf, and I know that his testimony to me is true. 33 You sent messengers to John, and he testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept such human testimony, but I say these things so that you may be saved. 35 He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light. 36 But I have a testimony greater than John’s. The works that the Father has given me to complete, the very works that I am doing, testify on my behalf that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified on my behalf. You have never heard his voice or seen his form, 38 and you do not have his word abiding in you, because you do not believe him whom he has sent.
39 “You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that testify on my behalf. 40 Yet you refuse to come to me to have life. 41 I do not accept glory from human beings. 42 But I know that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; if another comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe when you accept glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the one who alone is God? 45 Do not think that I will accuse you before the Father; your accuser is Moses, on whom you have set your hope. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But if you do not believe what he wrote, how will you believe what I say?”
Glory. Love. Honor. Hope.
What do these words mean to you? Can we know what these words mean without Christ? I wrestle with this passage. As a person who believes in the sacred text and as someone who is in love with Jesus, how often do I show that in my actions? Do I live my life in such a way that my hope is entirely dependent of Christ? Without even intentionally doing so, we can turn people, things, and even ideas into idols. Maybe there is a pastor, parent, mentor, or a celebrity that you highly respect; you respect them so much that you take their words as gold and never question anything they say. And trust me, I get it, sometimes it does feel easier to go and listen to a quick 20 minute sermon or vent to someone rather than going to the direct source (prayer). But stay with me. How many times have these people in your life said something along the lines of: “Jesus is the only way”, “no one will love you more than Christ”, “prayer works, cast all your cares there”…But yet not truly believe them? Maybe you claim to, maybe you have mastered going through the motions but to take what they said to heart and let that change you- that is what Christ is looking for. What Jesus is experiencing in this passage with these witnesses and their devotion to Moses is definitely comparable to when we listen to people we look up to that teach us about Christ. When we are at a wall or a dry spot in our faith, do we fully believe what they are saying about Christ? God is never surprised by our emotions and shortcomings but keep pressing forward.
I can surely promise you, nothing is more rich, valuable, and fulfilling than going directly to Christ Himself. Seeking honor, glory, hope, and love that’s not grounded in your identity in Christ will constantly leave you empty.
God, I confess that at times my faith lacks. I struggle to see your goodness and faithfulness in my life every single day of every single moment. God, PLEASE help me; help me find rest in you, teach me to relax and sit in your embrace. Reveal yourself to me with your precious son and the Holy Spirit. Help my heart stay soft towards you, that I do not take what your Son did on the Cross for my sins for granted. I love you, my Abba Father. I will continue to strive towards growing my love, faith, and hope in you.