A Montrose Church Advent Devotional by Pastor Rick
Advent Day 21: Behold the Morning Star
Today's reading: Luke 13:31-35
King Herod wanted to kill Jesus, according to the Pharisees, but Jesus was undeterred. He told them, "Go and tell that fox, 'Behold I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day, I reach My goal" (v. 32). He had come on a divine mission and nothing would interfere with it, not even a king. So, He would continue His work, embracing people in their deep needs and bringing the healing and restoring grace of God to them. Then, when the time was ready, He would offer Himself up as the ultimate sacrifice for a hurting and broken world.
Even under the threat of Herod's power Jesus remembered the people He loved. It was almost a lament when, looking over the city of Jerusalem, He said, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, just as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not have it" (v. 34). His heart was filled with compassion and care for the city He loved so much, and His heart is filled with compassion and care for us today, too.
God's grace just keeps on coming, inviting us into His embrace. How will we respond? This is the question that comes to us. Advent calls us to respond with open arms to the God who loves us more than we could ever imagine. God doesn't force Himself on us, but He does keep on reaching out to us. God reaches out in the very love that moved Him into the human situation in the first place, in which He wrapped His divine arms around us in redemptive love.
Arise, the kingdom is at hand,
The King is drawing nigh;
Arise with joy, thou faithful band,
To meet the Lord most high!
Look up, ye souls, weighed down with care,
The Sovereign is not far;
Look up, faint hearts, from your despair,
Behold the Morning Star!
- Johann von Rist, 1651; translated into English, Catherin Winkworth, 1863
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