Summary: Advent is waiting with faith. How has waiting for the Messiah looked in the past? How does it look to us now? What gift can we bring to the Lord in this time of Advent? Is He waiting for you?
Matthew 1:1-17 (please look this up in your Bible)
Where is the first hint of a Messiah found it the Bible?
Right after the first sin is committed and the Lord is pronouncing judgment on the serpent:
Genesis 3:15 NIV
“And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will crush your head, and you will strike His heel.”
Our God is certainly the God of advanced notice, isn’t He?
So, let’s go ahead and read today’s Scripture – Matthew 1:1-17
Now, you might be thinking that that is certainly an unusual passage for the first Sunday of Advent.
What is Advent all about?
The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is preparation to celebrate the birth of Jesus the Christ in His First Advent.
What did all of those names in the genealogy of Jesus have in common?
If they were good Jews and know the Old Testament they were waiting for the arrival of the Messiah!
Now look again at the genealogy.
Especially think about the time of King David and King Solomon when Israel was at its pinnacle of power. Were they looking for a Messiah? Were they looking for someone to redeem Israel?
Probably not. In a time of prosperity we tend to forget about such things.
When we’re physically cared for we tend to take spirituality for granted.
Many people pray during a heart attack who seldom or never prayed before.
In Revelation 3:17 we see Jesus speaking to the church in Laodicea when He says,
“You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”
Now, look at the kings after Josiah. Josiah was the last righteous king over any part of Israel. (Judah had been a part of Israel.)
After Josiah all of Israel is crushed in exile.
Do you wonder if Jeconiah and Shealtiel and Zerubbabel and Abihud and Eliakim and Azor and Zadok and Akim and Elihud and Eleazar and Matthan and Jacob and Joseph had all been looking for the Messiah, the Redeemer of Israel to appear and rescue them? I am sure some of them were …
But He did not come. So, they waited and waited and waited …
This is what the Advent season is all about, waiting … anticipation …hope …
"Wait for the LORD; be strong and courageous. Wait for the LORD."
“Now without faith it is impossible to please God, for the one who draws near to Him must believe that He exists and rewards those who seek Him.”
Waiting and Faith Go Hand-In-Hand
We hate to wait, don’t we???
What's the longest you've had to wait for something?
I imagine almost everyone has a memory of Christmas Eve as a child; squeezing your eyes shut, trying with all your might to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. For those of you with orthodox parents, you knew that even opening one present before Christmas morning was akin to high heresy.
Our family was very different. We would open our presents on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas Eve we would pile into the car and head the four or five miles to Grandma Char’s and Gramp’s house where we would open more presents.
Waiting is still difficult.
We live in a fast paced society.
If it takes more than a couple of minutes to get our burgers at McDonalds we start to get irritated.
We don’t have to wait for the post office to deliver a letter anymore, we’ve tog email and if that’s not fast enough we can text and even, horror of horrors, call someone and speak directly to them!
Yet God finds ways of making us wait.
Just like the Advent season. We await the arrival of Jesus birthday!
Waiting and faith go hand-in-hand. Waiting AND faith = anticipation!
When Pastor Karenlee was coming home from visiting her cousin in California I had faith that she would get on the plane and that the plane would arrive in Rochester so that I could go and retrieve her and bring her home.
The waiting was hard but the faith that she would arrive made the waiting bearable.
Faith without waiting would have meant many lonely days of sitting in an airport by myself.
Waiting without the faith that she would ever arrive would have led to hopelessness and depression.
Sometimes we must wait! The Lord’s timing is perfect.
Just like a pregnancy, the Lord has created in the body of a woman the correct time to deliver the baby.
Imagine a young newly married couple who find out that the wife is pregnant and she breaks the news to the husband. The husband gets so excited that he says, “OK. Start pushing! Let’s have this baby!”