2022 Advent Devotional – Immanuel, God is With Us is Now Available on Kindle

Advent Devotional 2021 – December 16th

PRAYER

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

O Emmanuel, God-with-us, You know intimately the trouble and heartache of our world and of our lives. Breathe the quiet calm of Your Spirit over us, and ready our hearts to listen. Silence every voice but Your voice so that we might hear words of life and love. Amen

REFLECTION

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered; and having been made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.
Hebrews 5:7-9

As my Dutch wife Rita and I look at our growing prayer list, she will often quote the Dutch proverb about every house having its cross. Her words remind me that suffering is no respecter of persons: rich and poor, wise and foolish, saint and sinner. Neither you nor I are exempt from suffering.

The Barna Group is a polling firm that once conducted a nationwide survey of American adults, asking: “If you could ask God only one question and you knew he would answer, what would you ask?” The number one response of the people polled was: “Why is there pain and suffering in the world?” (Lee Strobel, The Case for Faith) It is a question I have often asked this past year while watching the news from Afghanistan to the latest COVID variant.

We can be helped by today’s scripture about our Savior and His suffering. Here we learn, “Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered.” We might have thought that the Son of God would not need to learn anything, especially obedience through what He suffers. Yet, learning was an essential part of Jesus’ assumed humanity. Learning obedience through suffering was no more remarkable than the boy Jesus growing in wisdom and in divine and human favor.

Jesus’ exalted position, the Second Person of the Godhead, did not exempt Him from learning through suffering. It was with “reverent submission” that Jesus learned obedience through rejection, sorrow, and pain. As the perfect man He learned obedience by experience.

The words “what he suffered” in today’s scripture refer not only to the agony of the cross but also to the daily struggles and heartaches Jesus endured throughout His whole life. From the time He was a little boy Jesus learned what it meant to be obedient without once being disobedient. The eternal Son of God did this for us, so that He might be our Savior and “the source of eternal salvation for all who obey Him”, even in suffering. He “was made perfect” in learning how to give mercy and grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 5:9).

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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