December 14th Advent Devotional

Humanity’s Greatest Gift

Murray Phillips

Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Today’s reading from Isaiah reflects an image that is totally opposite of what we expect in this time of anticipating Jesus’ birth.

Nevertheless, it is this very image, one of the “suffering servant” that is so important for us to understand the significance of Jesus’ birth and life in the flesh.  Isaiah 53:12 say: “yet he bore the sins of many and made intercession for transgressors” (NRSV).  Simply put: Without Jesus’ giving of his life for humanity, we would continue to be “lost” and disconnected from God without any hope for reconciliation of a broken relationship.

Our modern world is one where we can easily feel more like the “suffering servant” in a sense that so much pain and anguish seems more prevalent than one of “joy” “peace” “love” and “hope” that Advent and Christmas promote.  Yet we need to realize that through Jesus’ suffering, we are ultimately victorious.  Those aspects of a fallen world which causes us sadness are removed and we are reminded in Isaiah 53:5: “Upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.” Likewise, we are reminded at the culmination of this age at the return of the servant as written in Revelation 21:4: “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning, crying, and pain will be no more for the first things have passed away.”

Therefore, let us embrace the “suffering servant” and appreciate and love Jesus more as Lord and Savior!

Lord, thank you for being the greatest gift for humanity!  May we humble ourselves to appreciate all aspects of your life, from birth, to outreach, to death, as well as resurrection and your ultimate return. In Jesus name, we pray.” Amen.

Murray Phillips is pastor of the North Lincoln Parish (PCUSA) in Whiteside, MO as well as an institution chaplain for the  MO Department of Corrections and the U.S. Army Reserves.


©2019 by individual authors and Facebook Narrative Lectionary Group.  This work is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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