The Third week of Advent addresses the question: WHERE? What is the significance of “place” in the story of Jesus’ coming? The situation of his birth, the place of his ministry, the location of his death, resurrection and coming again. Finally, the “where” of our coming to know his salvation…
Matthew 2:1-8—It was a small town, with a rich history. It was the adopted home town of Ruth and David, who would be king (and Jesus). Small towns do not guarantee small people. The place of our birth does not prevent us from doing great things; it may be a “sleepy” agricultural outpost, or a run-down country village, God can still work in and through us!
Luke 2:8-20—Bethlehem was a country outpost. The shepherds watching their flocks went there to clean up and catch up on the latest gossip. It was a town of shepherds and farmers. But today there was something new. The angels were singing “Glory to God and peace on earth”, and announcing the birth of God’s Messiah. The unexpected news was met with wonder. They had to go and check it out!
John 1:43-51—”Nazareth, can anything good come from there?” These words, spoken by Nathanael, live in infamy. He had just been informed by Philip, whom Jesus had called to be his disciple, they had “found” the Messiah. Philip had disclosed that it was none other than Jesus from Nazareth. Nathanael’s words sound familiar to anyone who thinks they are not worthy to do GREAT things for God because they don’t come from the right people or place. But God… He is no respecter of nation or city. He is looking for AVAILABILITY! Are we available?
Matthew 27:33-49—”They came to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘the place of the skull’).” It is the place of death. Jesus went there willingly. It was here, he gave up his life for us! He tells us to take up our Cross and follow him. Have we come to our Golgotha, yet? Where is it?
Joshua 4:1-9—”What do these stones mean?” The children of Israel collected 12 stones, one for each tribe, from the middle of the Jordan River, and set them up as an “Ebenezer”, a place of remembering. They could look at that monument and remember God’s powerful deliverance. We need a place to point to and say, “There God saved me!” Where is your monument, your Ebenezer?
Acts 8:30-40—”Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?” The Ethiopian Eunuch had just given his life up to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was ready to announce his faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Here, in this place, is water. This is a GOOD PLACE to establish his new relationship with Jesus. Nothing would prevent him from taking this step. This is a good place!
Looking ahead: Sunday, December 22, the message is from Isaiah 9:2-7, and responds to the “HOW” question; the answer has to do with “The Plan of God”.