A Montrose Church Advent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Advent Day 14: A God-Given Name
Today's reading: Luke 1:57-66
N.T. Wright once said,
If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what it means to be human, look at Jesus. If you want to know what love is, look at Jesus. If you want to know what grief is, look at Jesus. And go on looking until you're not just a spectator, but you're actually part of the drama which has him as the central character. - A Z Quotes
In Advent we get this look at Jesus, and this look comes within the context of a remarkable story written, narrated, and directed by God. There are a lot of players in the story, not the least of which are Zacharias, Elizabeth, and their son, who should have been called Zacharias but, instead, because of God's call, was named, "John" (Luke 1: 60, 63).
The baby should not have been born at all because Elizabeth was barren. But, God is gracious, and gave them a son they named, John, which means Jehovah has been gracious. This unlikely son would grow up to become the one we know as John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. This baby was given a new name, as so often happens in the ways of God. Throughout his adult life John would point us to Jesus.
In Advent we keep looking to Jesus. We are reminded time and time again that in Jesus, as John would later say, "all flesh will see the salvation of God" (Luke 3:6). The God who breaks into history, breaks into our lives and brings to pass in us the implications of being in a saving relationship with God. He is the God who gives new names, the God who changes the trajectory of lives, and the God who continually pours out His love on His creation. He is the God of new beginnings.
Maybe in Advent we should sing songs that ever remind us of the incredible faithfulness of God. He is the God who keeps on pouring out His grace in life transforming ways.
O God, our Help in ages past,
our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
and our eternal home!
- Isaac Watts, 1719