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Advent Devotional 2021 – December 8th

PRAYER

Take a moment to become still, aware of God’s presence, and then pray:

Almighty and merciful Father, thank You for so loving the world that You gave Your only begotten Son to become one with us so that we might forever share in Your life and love. Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of Your Holy Spirit so that we might hear and obey what You say to us. Amen

REFLECTION

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone, for kings and all who are in high positions, so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity. This is right and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God; there is also one mediator between God and humankind, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself a ransom for all – this was attested at the right time.
1 Timothy 2:1-6

It was the Sunday before Christmas and the first grade Sunday schoolers were to re-enact the birth of Jesus. Their teacher, an eager Mrs. Nolan, wanted them to stage the entire scene themselves, coming up with their own script. They had three Marys, two Josephs, one shepherd, six wise men, and a boy who wanted to be the donkey. Another boy wanted to be the attending doctor delivering the newborn Jesus. Mrs. Nolan excitedly agreed.

When it came time in the re-enactment, the little doctor went behind the manger, picked up the doll and carefully wrapped it in a blanket. Then, with a big smile, he turned to the three Marys and two Josephs saying, “Congratulations, it’s a God!”

The little boy probably had a better grasp of the Incarnation than people his senior. The birth of Jesus was the amazing reality of God taking on humanity without losing any of His deity, thus making Himself the mediator between God and humanity, between infinity and the finite.

In today’s scripture the word “mediator” translates the Greek mesités, coming from mésos, meaning “in the middle”. This means that a mediator, or mesités, is a go-between, an intermediary, an arbiter, and agent of something good. A mediator stands at the middle position between two estranged parties. His business is to intervene and bring them into harmony.

The Gospel of Christmas is the astonishing good news that Jesus is the mediator sent by God to reconcile God and a sinful, broken humanity. As fully God and fully human, Jesus can represent the interests of both parties. He is fully God for us, and fully human for us. St. Athanasius said that Jesus “ministered the things of God to men and as the true man, ministered the things of man to God.” (Saint Athanasius, Against the Arians) We see in Scripture that Jesus is mediator not so much in something He does, but in who He is. It is by His very essence, His nature as God and human, that Jesus reconciles the two.

Today’s scripture is careful to emphasize the humanity of Jesus: “Christ Jesus, himself human.” Without the humanity of Jesus, the bridge is down. Against the first century false teaching of Docetism denying Jesus’ humanity (2 John 7), Jesus’ humanity is insisted on to show His qualification as mediator and savior.

Jesus could not represent us as humans without being one, but equally could not represent God unless He was divine. As the mediator Jesus comes into the world on behalf of God, and to God on behalf of us. “Because Jesus has taken our humanity upon Himself and become our brother, He can represent us to God and God to us. Thus, He can and does act for us and on our behalf. Under our burden and in our stead He offers up that righteousness which humanity could not present and makes that confession which humanity could not have originated.” (Daniel Thimmel, “Christ in Our Place in the Theology of John McLeod Campbell”, from Christ in Our Place, edited by Trevor Hart, Daniel Thimmel)

God sent “Christ Jesus, himself human” to be the one mediator between God and all humans. This is reflected in today’s scripture in that God “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Thus, on that first Christmas God dispatched herald angels with the message: “I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2: 10-11). And it is for the salvation of others we pray, knowing that Jesus is the only mediator and hearing God’s command: “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone.”

WORSHIP

Think back over the past 24 hours and note when you experienced a “high” and a “low”. Share with God how the humanity of Jesus might speak to you in what you experienced.

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