category: Advent

Advent Devotion: Day 28

Saturday, December 24

Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-15

I want you to take a moment and try to recall all the titles you have held during your life. For me, there are formal titles such as Mister, Reverend, Children and Youth Minister, Camp Counselor, College Minister, Professor, and even Interim Vice President. Other titles include my given name, Dad, Son, Husband, Brother, Uncle, Nephew, Grandson, etc.

Titles attributed to us mean something. They are meant to tell others a little bit about who we are, what we do, and why we do what we do.

Take a look at Isaiah 9 for a moment. We read this beautiful proclamation about the coming of the Messiah, the deliverer of Israel. It says that he will be called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” However, later in Isaiah 53, we read words attributed to him such as “despised,” “rejected,” “crushed,” “oppressed,” and “afflicted.”

How can both groups of words, from celebrating his arrival, to hurling insults and mistreating him, describe the same person? Can people’s opinions, views, and hopes they have of God change so drastically? Are we so misguided as to go from one extreme to the other? I can’t help but think of Jesus being celebrated and worshipped as he rides into Jerusalem, only to have some of those same people that were shouting “Hosanna!” turn and shout “Crucify him!” less than a week later. Yes, we are that wretched, lost, and blind.

Selfish, arrogant, perverse, double-minded, immoral, untruthful–these are words that describe the true nature of who I am . . . and who you are, apart from Christ. And that is the very reason why Jesus was betrayed, and mistreated, and rejected, and lied about, and abused, and abandoned, and killed.

The reason Jesus is called “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” is because in Titus 2, we are reminded that “he gave himself for us to redeem us.” That is how both groups of words can be said of him.

May you be reminded this Christmas season of the reason Christ came to earth. And my prayer is that you and I will attribute all the glory and honor and praise that is due him so that others may come to know this Great Light “that offers salvation to all people.”

Neal Payne
Interim VP for Christian Life and Service
Assoc. Minister to University for Student Ministries

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