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Jesus is Steadfast

This coming Sunday we will light the third Advent candle on our Advent wreath as our anticipation grows for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Yet, I wonder, does it feel like Jesus is drawing closer and closer to His return? Or, to put it more bluntly: have we lost hope in that return? Have we forgotten that Jesus promised us a resurrection and His eternal presence? Have we been so swept up in life, in activity, in the frenzy of Silicon Valley that we’ve forgotten that God’s plan of salvation hasn’t yet reached its consummation .

Or maybe it seems like God has forgotten us . We’ve watched one too many cable news shows which have drilled into our brains just exactly how far this world has spiraled down and have been forced to conclude that there’s no way Jesus is coming back to redeem and restore this world . It’s too far gone, we say. It’s such a mess, we say. Why would God want anything to do with it?

Lest we continue to be swept away by these currents of life, forgetting that this season of Advent is all about waiting it hopeful expectation for the return of our Savior, Paul’s words from Romans 8 serve as a timely reminder for us. They bring us great comfort and even renew our hope in the promises of Jesus this Advent season. 

Even if we have temporarily forgotten Him and His promises, Jesus has not forgotten us or His promises to us. Even if it seems like sin is winning and Jesus is losing, Christ’s victory is certain. Paul is insistent on these points and insistent that Jesus remains steadfast in finishing what He started when He came to bring God’s rule and reign into this world. 

Here’s what Paul has to say to us as we reach the halfway point of Advent:

"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord, (Romans 8:35-39)."

Nothing...not ourselves, not this world, not our sin or the sin of others can separate us from the love of Christ. Nothing can hinder His plan of salvation. Christ’s promises are certain. Therefore, we can continue to wait in that hopeful expectation that characterizes this season of Advent and, indeed, our whole Christian life. For, “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again!” 

In Him,

Pastor Nick

Jesus is...Our Shepherd

Have you ever noticed that so many of the big names in the Bible were shepherds? Abraham was a shepherd. Moses was a shepherd. David, before he was king, was a shepherd. Before they were leaders of people, they were leaders of sheep. Indeed, David, before he went off to fight Goliath told King Saul that being a shepherd is was prepared him to face this most formidable foe.

Lest we think of shepherds as easy-going, gentle guides for their flock, David reminds us that being a shepherd was no simple feat. The job wasn’t a passive looking-after- the-flock type of gig. It was an active, warding-off-fierce- predators-to-save-the-sheep type of job. It was a job that required fortitude, determination, strength, and courage. Thus, the role of shepherd is an apt metaphor for the ideal spiritual leader of Israel. Even more so, it’s the perfect image of our God.

This Advent we are asking one question: Who is Jesus? As we saw on Sunday, Jesus is our king. Jesus is also our shepherd. Jesus descends from his royal, heavenly throne in order that we spiritually hungry and searching sheep might be fed by His Word. Jesus descends from his heavenly throne so that we wandering sheep might be brought safely back into God’s flock. Jesus descends from his heavenly throne so that we defenseless sheep might not be taken away by sin, death, or the devil.  

So who is Jesus? Jesus is our faithful shepherd.

In Christ,

Pastor Nick

Who is Jesus?

Since the dawn of time, about 60 billion people have walked on the face of Planet Earth. Of those 60 billion people, only a handful have made any real, lasting impression. There have been amazing artists, brilliant inventors, inspiring politicians, and insightful religious leaders. But in that handful of people, Of all those who have made lasting impacts on this world, one stands far above all of the others. His name is Jesus.

Despite the incredible impact that Jesus of Nazareth has had on this world, there continues to be some debate about who Jesus actually is. Some say Jesus is a therapist. Some say Jesus is a coach. Some say Jesus is a hippie or a spiritual guru. Others say that Jesus is a revolutionary.

During the season of Advent, I invite you to join us at St. Mark as we ask and answer this all-important question: “Who is Jesus?”. In order to answer this question, we’ll look not to popular opinion but to the Scriptures. Specifically we’ll see what Matthew, the Gospel writer, tells us about Jesus in his genealogy in Matthew 1:1-17.  

Each Sunday we’ll discover more about who Jesus is and dig even deeper into our Scripture readings on Wednesday nights!

Sundays in Advent | 8:45 Bible Study | 10am Worship

December 1 - Jesus is…the Son of David
December 8 - Jesus is…the Son of Abraham
December 15 - Jesus is…the Son of Solomon
December 22 - Jesus is…the Son of Mary

Wednesdays in Advent | 6pm Dinner | 7pm Worship
December 4 - Jesus is our Faithful Shepherd (Decorating of the Christmas Tree)
December 11 - Jesus is Steadfast
December 18 - Jesus is our Salvation

Christmas Eve | December 24 | 7pm

Christmas Day | December 25 | 10am

I hope to see you all soon!

In Christ,

 

Pastor Nick

A God with a Mother

...but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:25-27)

Throughout our lenten series “Behold the Man”, we have been focusing on the true humanity of Jesus. That is, we have focused on how God has become incarnate for us, seeing along the way that we have much in common with our Lord - that He is our Brother. Jesus hungered, Jesus prayed, Jesus was hurt and wounded, Jesus bled. Now we come to a fascinating passage in John’s Gospel that makes us step back once more and contemplate who this Jesus really is for He, like us, has a mother.

Jesus is a God with a Mother. A human mother. Jesus, God made man, was born of a woman. Thus Mary has come to be called the Theotokos, that is, the “God-bearer”. Said another way, Mary is the Mother of God.

Many in the past have said that this confession really has nothing to do with Mary, but everything to do with Jesus and who He is. Even in those initial stages of pregnancy, as Jesus is being formed in Mary’s womb, He is divine. As a newborn, as a toddler, even as a adolescent, Jesus is God.

And yes, even as Jesus hangs dying, as He makes provision for His mother and her care in John’s home, Jesus isn’t just a concerned Son. He is a God with a Mother. A Mother whom He loves. A Mother for whose sins He dies, just as He has died for our sins, too.

In Christ,

Pastor Nick

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