Why do we study the Bible? It is a book of many stories, some very beautiful, others long and hard to understand. Also, the events occurred in centuries past in other countries. However, today's Epistle reading declares all of it was written for our instruction. What is the point of the instruction? Hope.
Hope, the great theme of the Advent season. There are many stories, but the same theme and unique message. The message is Christ. All of the Bible gives testimony to Jesus Christ. And the antiquity of the stories assures that the Word of God never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; and the written Word as well.
Many people say, okay, there are many interpretations of the Bible and no one can be sure what is the truth. But, this declaration itself is the great lie of the Devil, who was a liar from the beginning. His style does not change. He asked of Eve, too, in the Garden, did God really say that?
The Bible contains everything we need to know for our salvation and its teaching is clear and sure. Prove it for yourself. That is the point of Bible study.
Again, all of the Bible gives testimony to Jesus Christ. We meet the true Christ in the pages of Holy Scripture. Many people have a picture of Christ that matches their own desires: Christ the teacher and spiritual guide, or Christ the social reformer or revolutionary, or something else. But, the true Christ is revealed in the Scriptures. There is no other.
In the Old Testament, God the Father called one nation to live apart from the rest, the people of Israel. He separated them and prepared them to be the people among whom the Messiah, the Savior, would be born.
And this messianic hope included the worship of the God of Israel by gentiles as well as Jews through the working of the Savior. So the birth of Christ, the true Savior of God, was a fulfillment of all the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament. Through Christ, the gentiles are now part of the people of God. We are all sons of Abraham now.
Christmas is not simply a celebration of Christ's birth, but all of His life of perfect obedience, His humiliation, His suffering on the cross, all of His first coming up through His exaltation in the Resurrection. His appearances after the Resurrection until His Ascension were a preview of His second coming in glory.
Therefore, as the Israelitas anticipated the fulfillment of their hope, that is, the promise of a Messiah, a Liberator from the slavery of sin, we New Testament believers await the fulfillment of our hope in Jesus Christ, too. Our hope is complete santification and the final victory over sin and death.
In this way, Jesus has fulfilled the prophey to unite Jews and Gentiles in the worship of Jehovah. With one great voice, we praise and bless the Lord. Amen.
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