The Final Rescue

Guest Post by Wesley Mills, Pastor of Mosaic Knox

“And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.”

Revelation 21:23

We know about the circumstances around God’s coming and how unassuming and surprising they were. Jesus is born to a teenage woman, in a small town, with no fanfare or knightly crowning. There’s no flash or bang to his entrance.

But the surprise of God’s arrival is only the beginning steps of his even more surprising mission. The Israelites were waiting for a King to set them free from the tyranny and rule of Rome. And Jesus’s mission was not first and foremost about the rescue from the evil, external circumstances, but the rescue from evil, internal brokenness.

In 2020, we are not unlike the early Jewish disciples. Most of us desire to be rescued from the world, from our current cultural moment, from a global pandemic, from violence in the streets, from the brokenness of the world. These are normal and natural things that we long to see gone – for violence to cease, for sickness to end, for peace to rule.

These longings us to look outside and wonder, “when will the chaos out there end?” Thankfully, the Psalms, the Prophets and even Jesus himself gives a space to process, lament and ache for God to make all things right in our world, as He said He would. But lest we miss it, this is also a season for us to look inwardly and ask ourselves the same question, “when will the chaos in here end?”

While we feel the frustrations and the aches of sin around us, we also feel the frustrations and aches of sin within us. Advent is good news for those who do not know what to do with all the turmoil happening on the inside. And so we wait – with the rest of creation – with anticipation, longing and hope for the second Advent of the King. And though sorrowful, we rejoice. And though pressed, we look forward. And though struggling, we endure. And feeling like it’s time to quit, we rest in the One who didn’t quit, but saw it through, for our sake. He is rescuing us not only from the darkness around us, but the darkness within us; and one day all darkness will be banished. And the Son will be our sun, and the Lamb will be our light. And not only will all the sin outside us be put to death, but all sin within us too.

Further Reading: <a href="http://&lt;!– wp:paragraph –> <p>Further Reading:</p&gt; Romans 8:18-30

Reflection: Reflecting back on the year, how have your sins and struggles been exposed? What do you need to bring before the Lord that you have wrestled with through much of 2020?

Hope in the Winter

“You made summer and winter.”

Psalm 74:17

This is the time of year that the chill of wintry weather is felt. Snow, frost, ice, and the icy air run through our homes and into our bones. This season also brings about a winter in the soul. Cold chills of unmet expectations, loss, disappointment, illness, poverty, burdens, and 100 other cares can leave us feeling coldness of the heart. Yet, even in the midst of these winters of the soul, we can take great comfort in the Psalmist’s words, “You made summer and winter.” The old preacher, Charles Spurgeon put it this way:

“Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it be upon thee just now it will be very painful to thee: but there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it.”

The Lord is sovereign, even during the winter. Consider the wisdom and goodness of winter. The frost kills insects intent on destroying crops. The wintry air eradicates disease in forests. The frozen ground breaks up clots and slowly restores nutrients to produce Springtime growth. In the same ways, seasons of winter can have a tremendous effect on us for the good. Principally, winter makes us yearn for the warmth and glow of the fire.

Is your soul in a wintry season? If so, draw near to your Heavenly Father in a time of trouble. Let His refining fire both remove that which would harm us, and comfort us with His perfect joy and peace. Take comfort that this season is under His charge and for your good. He makes the winter, but He also makes the Springtime and Summer. It is the Winter that makes those seasons so special in our lives.

His covenant promises never fail. Springtime is coming.

Further Reading: Psalm 46

Reflection: Think back on a time where God used hardship for good in your life. Where might He me doing that now?

More than a giver of gifts

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility.

Ephesians 2:13-14

Sometimes Jesus gets treated like He’s Santa Claus. If we’re good boys and girls, and stay off the naughty list, we’ll get gifts. The better we are, the better the gifts. There is a false, religious version of Jesus, the celestial benefactor with a bag full of blessings and gifts to offer the best, brightest, and most pious among us. No, maybe you don’t see Jesus quite to this caricature, but is it possible that you see Jesus primarily as the giver of rewards and blessings?

While Jesus does give good gifts, what if there is more? What if Jesus wasn’t just the giver of gifts, but THE gift Himself?  What if we could see Jesus, not just as the one who rewards His children, but as THE reward. What if we experienced Jesus as the Prince of Peace, who offers Himself to us?

The Psalmist Asaph wrote, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26) Asaph is telling us that God doesn’t just offer us a side of strength to go with our daily bread, but that He is the strength.

Jesus offers us a better vision than “your best life” or “favor” found in getting the job you want, the relationship you desire, or the new, bigger and better house. All of those things eventually fade. They lose their luster. They are good things, but not ultimately satisfying or joy sustaining. The offer of the Gospel is that by faith, we get Jesus, and discover that Jesus is more than enough. Union with Jesus is the best gift. Jesus, Emmanuel – is our greatest reward. Jesus is more than just the giver of good gifts – He is the gift! 

This is liberating. It frees you and me to live like Moses, who “choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.” (Hebrews 11:25-26)

What was his reward? The writer of Hebrews explains in the next few verses:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.  (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The reward is Jesus!

Further Reading: Colossians 1

Reflection: Take 5 minutes to breathe in deeply and simply savor that Jesus loves you. He cares for you. He wants to be with you. Enjoy the gift of Jesus this season.

Rescue from Fear

13 But the angel said to him: “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, because your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will name him John.Luke 1:13

30 Then the angel told her: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.Luke 1:30

20 But after he had considered these things, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your wife, because what has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.Matthew 1:20

We live in a world plagued by fear. Fear is a commodity used like currency in our current social climate. Almost every political ad, consumer message, and newscast is saturated with fear, dread, and worry. In unprecedented numbers, children and teenagers are afflicted with anxiety.

History, as is often said, repeats itself. And 2,000 years ago, like now, fear of what would come next was on everyone’s mind. Israel experienced significant social unrest. Zechariah, Mary, Joseph, and many others lived under the pressure of a tyrannical government, cultural darkness, financial pressure, and difficult living conditions.

Yet, when God sent word of the pending Incarnation to Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph – each announcement was accompanied by the same encouragement: “Do not be afraid.”

Zechariah: He’s been chosen to go into the Holy of Holies, a solemn and weighty privilege that would only come once in a lifetime, if at all. He was shaken when he saw the angel of the Lord. In an instant, thoughts of terror must have raced through his mind. “What have I done?” he must have fretted. But the angel was there to tell him what his God had done. God had heard his prayer and was giving the aged Zechariah and Elizabeth the child they had longed for.

Mary: She was “troubled.” The word troubled in the original Greek text is diatarasso, meaning “confused or perplexed.” Of course she was. How could a virgin be with child? But the angel was there to proclaim that the impossible is possible with God.

Joesph: It’s hard not to be sympathetic to Joesph’s fear. He had learned his betrothed wife was pregnant but knew he wasn’t the father. The social ramifications for this were severe, especially for Mary. But Joseph didn’t need to be afraid. God was working His plan to introduce not only Joseph and Mary’s Savior, but the Savior for all people to the world.

“But…” – a grammatical conjunction used to signal a contrast is coming. Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph are afraid, but no longer need to be because God is at work. Each of the three was being given the same principle lesson: God is bringing about His purposes and can be completely trusted.

Two thousand years later, the message is the same for us. Do fear, dread and confusion run through your heart and mind? Do not be afraid. The faithful God of the ages is at work and will bring His purposes to fruition in you. Fear need not reign in your heart today because the Christ child was born as a King, a King who would triumph and rule over fear.

The season of Advent is a reminder that God came near to drive out fear. (1 John 4:18) When you face worry and fear, keep in mind that the antidote is the birth of Jesus Christ!

10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.Luke 2:10-11

Further Reading: Psalm 23:1-4; Psalm 27:1-3; Psalm 56:3.

Reflection: What are you fearful or anxious about? Take some time to reflect on the Scripture promises above and trust God with what you are facing today.

When It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas

Guest Author: Atlee McSpadden, Fellowship Pellissippi Kids Director

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. – Isaiah 9:2

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility. – Ephesians 2:14

Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will bring joy to all people. – Luke 2:10

Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. – Jude 1:21

“It just doesn’t feel like Christmas.” I think I have heard these words at least once a day from friends and family since the day after Thanksgiving, when the holiday season began. At first, I was quick to agree. It was easy to reply with “yeah, this year has been the worst.” Friends and family alike have lost their jobs, lost their homes, experienced death of a loved one, been quarantined to their home for months on end, and we had to adjust to a way of life unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime. In March, when we all told ourselves we could “make it through” four to six weeks, but couldn’t wait to get back to “normal.” We were looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Now, 40 weeks later, the official length of a full-term pregnancy, we are staring down the beginning of a new year where nothing looks that different. We are all held captive in some way; whether it be loss, fear, grief, addiction, shame, or Covid-19.

These things make winter seem especially dark this year. Christmas lights don’t quite glisten the way they have in my memory. I won’t be gathering around a huge tree singing carols with my neighbors or opening my home for my annual Christmas party. Every time I leave my home, I calculate the risk I am taking not just for myself, but for my family. I have to stop and ask myself, “Are these things what make it feel like Christmas?”

The more I think about Christmas and what Christmas is “supposed to” feel like, the more I realize my own false reality of what Christmas is about. Admittedly, I had traded a rescue operation for a birthday party. My love of buying gifts, hosting parties, and celebrating every moment I can took over the truth that Christ entered this world in an extremely dark and oppressive time in history. Mary and Joseph had to report for a census under an oppressive government (Luke 2) and Herod commanded every male child under the age of two be killed.

I am not saying it is wrong to celebrate with a birthday party, but rather I want to make sure I understand why I am celebrating. More than a birthday party, we are celebrating that God loves us so much that He sent His one and only son to rescue us from eternity without Him (John 3:16) and to bring hope to His people who saw none.

When it just doesn’t feel like Christmas, join me in remembering.

Because of Jesus Christ we have:
HOPE: the people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light (Isaiah 9:2)
PEACE: He shall be peace (Ephesians 2:14)
JOY: Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will bring joy to all people (Luke 2:10)
LOVE: Keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. (Jude 1:21) When we remember this, it begins to feel like Christmas and suddenly the Christmas lights shine a little bit brighter.

Reflection: In what ways has Jesus been a rescuer for you this year? What ideas about Christmas do you need to surrender to remember the true meaning of celebration?

Rescue for the Non-heroic

Guest Author: Jennifer Pinkner, Wife, mother, business owner, artist and non-hero.

15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For everything was created by him, in heaven and on earth, the visible and the invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and by him all things hold together. 18 He is also the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile
everything to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated and hostile in your minds as expressed in your evil actions. 22 But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him— 23 if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. – Colossians 1:15-23

If you watch enough movies and read enough books and peruse Instagram a few times, you begin to feel a certain expectation. You begin to question what your grand purpose is. What your story is supposed to say to the world. There’s even a space called “social media” designed for you to play your story all day long. “You can be the hero!” the not-so-subtle message declares. Yet, you may question if you are interesting enough, have done enough, have crusaded for the righteous cause enough. People may poke you a bit about it, too … “why are you not using your platform for XYZ?” After all, the message is clear, you are supposed to be a hero, at home, in the office, and on the internet.

But it is all a lie. You and I aren’t meant to be heroes. The weight of hero expectation is suffocating, especially in the Christmas season. Especially in a pandemic where we have such little control over what is happening all around us.

Take a really deep soul cleansing breath, and hear this loud and clear: We were never meant to be the heroes of the story. However, when you have an underlying expectation that you should be, that brings shame and narcissism. We often spend copious amounts of time dreaming and thinking we are meant to be.

The irony about people who we view as “iconic” or “heroic,” is they are rarely thinking of themselves, or how the optics of a situation is going to play out in history. These “heroes” are usually thinking about the good of others.

What is even more troubling about our hero expectation is the true source behind it.  The “hero” expectation within me is sin. It is pride. I put myself in the place of the real Hero, the One who is made for unending Glory. Many of us need a “soul chiropractor” to pop our souls back into alignment so that we might have our self-focus be replaced with a focus on the True Eternal Hero who has infinite wisdom, knowledge, glory, kindness, justice, patience, purpose, grace, love, mercy, righteousness. Those are His shoes to fill, and He does it quite beautifully.

The reality that He has entrusted you in this time and space with certain gifts and skills to steward as part of His big story is humbling. Advent reminds us that Jesus rescues the non-heroes. What freedom to remember that we are not the author or the orchestrator. We are not the hero. So, today, let us remember the One who is “the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.”

Further Reading: Hebrews 2

Reflection: Where do you need to shed your cape, or your aspirations of being the hero? How has Jesus rescued you?

The Terms of Rescue

Guest Author: Michael Douglas, Husband, Father and local Physician.

Come, thou long expected Jesus,
born to set thy people free;
from our fears and sins release us,
let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
hope of all the earth thou art;
dear desire of every nation,
joy of every longing heart.

Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a King,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal spirit
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine all sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus (Charles Wesley, 1744)

This Advent hymn has always been one of my favorites.  It is a hymn of longing, of pleading with God to come. I would argue, more than ever, this hymn is even more timely in 2020. We again come to God and ask Him to prepare our hearts so we can “prepare him room” – room to move and work in our lives. It is easy to move past the preparation, to the event. No one needs any help being too busy to rush through and miss the Advent season to prep, cook, decorate, get the ‘right’ thing, clean, party, sleep…

Maybe this year could be different, though. Maybe, with the push for end-of-year quotas, buying gifts, and a pandemic to boot, maybe our hearts will be drawn even more to the wonder of Christmas. A right focus will cause the right preparation.

But do we really believe the promise is true, that Jesus came to rescue us? Do we really believe… that He will? Since Adam and Eve were driven from the garden all those years ago, mankind has been asking ourselves, “Who is the Rescuer?” We argue with ourselves and self-doubt creeps in. “But you don’t understand what I’ve done. I’ve made a mess of my life.” 

Yes, you have, but in the words of Jesus Himself: “Come and see.” Come and see that over and over again, God comes and enters into the messes we have made and restores His people. He restores hope. After the flood, the destruction of the whole earth, God promises his people that he will preserve them (Genesis 6). With no way around God’s command to sacrifice his son Isaac, the son He gave them in their old age by a miraculous conception, God provides a ram and Isaac is spared (Genesis 22). Joseph’s  brothers are shown mercy and favor despite nearly killing him and selling him into slavery. In the face of certain destruction, Rahab the prostitute, by faith, trusts God and she and her family are saved from the destruction of their city (Joshua 2). Despite the Israelites rebellion and desire for kings to rule over them, God provides his people deliverance from captivity.  And there are literally billions more – people you will never meet on this side of eternity, names you wouldn’t recognize if they were told to you – who by faith trusted God and His promises to save them.

We are captives all. We are in bondage to our shortcomings in our jobs, in our finances, in our parenting. We are held captive by addictions, by weights that slow us down (Hebrews 12:1), and of course to our own sin. Which is what makes Advent so vital. Christmas Day – that glorious (albeit) quiet night in a borrowed cave behind a full inn – when the King came to us. Emmanuel, God with us!  Advent should be a time to push back from telling God what it is we want. Like the Israelites asking God for a king, we want the rescue on our terms, but we need the rescue God offers. We need the peace He brings.

Further Reading: Romans 15:13

Reflection: Where have you made a mess of things? That is exactly where God wants to enter into your life. With truth, grace and hope. Will you allow Him in to restore what is broken this season?

Rescue Begins in the Dark

21 They will wander through the land, dejected and hungry. When they are famished, they will become enraged, and, looking upward, will curse their king and their God. 22 They will look toward the earth and see only distress, darkness, and the gloom of affliction, and they will be driven into thick darkness.Isaiah 8:21-22

Just about every child grows up with the same gripping fear – fear of the dark. Darkness ushers in fear of so many unknowns. What is in the closet? Is a monster under my bed? Am I all alone?

But as it turns out, this fear isn’t just relegated to kids. As kids grow into adults, many things change, but fear of the darkness remains. The only difference being – as a child we are fearful of the darkness without, but as adults we are terrified of the darkness within.

If we’re honest, the darkness within terrifies us. The ugly darkness of selfishness, jealousy, deception, pride, secret sin, insecurity, and regret haunts us. We’ll do just about anything in our power to avoid looking at the monster within. We’ll watch hours of TV or work late to avoid our discomfort with the darkness. We’ll drink and eat to numb the pain. We will fill our schedules with distractions and guard our true selves against being discovered with towering walls of pretense.

After all, what would happen if we looked within? God forbid anyone else catch a glimpse.

If the truth were told, we are even afraid of the light, because light exposes what is hidden in the darkness. But much like naïve children, we do not realize there is a greater force against the darkness at our beckon. Much like a parent who with their very presence makes the power of darkness flee, the presence of Jesus and His grace makes our own darkness dissipate. If you are walking in darkness, there is hope in the dawning of light.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; a light has dawned on those living in the land of darkness.” – Isaiah 9:2

The Apostle of John described the Advent of the Messiah like this:

“The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world…That light shines in the darkness, and yet the darkness did not overcome it.” – John 1:9 & 5

This light was not merely a metaphor. Jesus came to break the hold of darkness on the lives of His people. Jesus came as the light to heal brokenness. Jesus came as the light to expose injustice and sin. Jesus came as the light to overcome your darkness too.

The bright light of the Gospel – that Jesus came to your rescue – to take on your darkness and die in your place – is more powerful than anything shadow within you. The Cross has made a way for you to be free from your fear. Jesus came near to you, so that you could be near to Him. You don’t have to be afraid of the darkness within. The light of grace has shone upon you and made you free from sin and guilt. Even more so, the light has made you new.

Further Reading: John 1:1-18.

Reflection: Where do you need to let the light in this Advent season? Would you be willing to trust Jesus with what you are most afraid of? He already knew you, and still chose to love you. What more do you need than that kind of perfect love.

Rescuing Hope

In the days of King Herod of Judea, there was a priest of Abijah’s division named Zechariah. His wife was from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. Both were righteous in God’s sight, living without blame according to all the commands and requirements of the Lord. But they had no children because Elizabeth could not conceive, and both of them were well along in years.
Luke 1:5-7

Our author, Luke, establishes the historical context for us with the words, In the days of King Herod of Judea.” Imagine years from now, historians writing, “It was the year 2020.” Those words will likely elicit some level of emotion. Many, if not most of us, look at 2020 as the year we faced unprecedented disruption to our lives and sense of normalcy. Recently, I asked my 91-year-old grandmother, “Granny Bonnie, in your life, have you ever seen anything like this past year?” She replied simply, “Never in my life have I experienced anything like this.”

The days of King Herod were dark and difficult days for people like Zechariah and Elizabeth. For nearly 70 years the Roman Empire had exerted its oppressive power over Judea and the surrounding area. The large tax burdens associated with empire-building had left an estimated 95% of God’s people in poverty. Decades of tyrannical rule had left many hopeless.

But the hardships weren’t just societal, they were also deeply personal. Despite the discouraging circumstances that surrounded them, Zechariah and Elizabeth were “…righteous in God’s sight, living without blame…”(Luke 1:6) Yet, their faithfulness had not exempted them from suffering. Elizabeth was unable to have children, the pinnacle accomplishment for a woman in that culture and time. This dream unfulfilled was so disappointing, Elizabeth self-described herself as a “disgrace” (Luke 1:25) Unfortunately, some bad ideologies have no expiration date. Zechariah and Elizabeth may have wondered, “What have we done or not done to cause this?” There was a misguided idea that Elizabeth’s condition signaled a loss of favor with God. Even though it isn’t true, people believe it.

But for Zechariah and Elizabeth, it wasn’t just about dreams and longings, it was also about the loss of social security. Without children in the 1st century, there was no way to provide or care for yourself in your senior years. Sons and daughters would provide through labor and care what their parents no longer could when they were old. It would be like having no social security or retirement plan today.

Maybe you can relate to Elizabeth. Have you experienced disappointment in your career? Have important relationships grown cold? Has a dream long faded away?

Where can we find hope in troubled times?

The story of Zechariah and Elizabeth reminds us that God not only makes promises to His children, but He perfectly keeps them. What God promises, He will perform, only He will do it in His time and sometimes in very surprising ways.

It was in their old age, when all hope of children was lost, that God sends an angel to tell Zechariah, “Do not be afraid … because your prayer has been heard.” God was providing them with a son, and not just any son. Their son would prepare the way for the Messiah. Elizabeth’s reflection on this miracle is poignant: “The Lord has done this for me. He has looked with favor in these days to take away my disgrace among the people.” (Luke 1:25) God showed up in Elizabeth’s life and rescued her from hopelessness. You can trust that He will show up in your life as well.

Further Reading: Psalm 33:20-22.

Reflection: Where do you feel helpless and hopeless? Offer those concerns to your Heavenly Father today, trusting in His goodness and timing.

A Rescue Story from the Beginning

Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. So the Lord God called out to the man and said to him, “Where are you?”

10 And he said, “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked, so I hid.”Genesis 3:8-10

Over the next few weeks we’re going to reflect on the Christmas as the ultimate rescue story in history. However, it is a rescue story that began long before Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem. 

What if I told you the Christmas rescue story began in Genesis? God began moving near mankind from the very beginning.

In Genesis, God who by nature is Spirit, reveals Himself in physical form as He relates Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. The Garden was a place of beauty and shalom. Everything was perfect. Purpose and harmony flourished. It was a world that we dream of and write fairy tales about. Unfortunately, it did not last. Everything came crashing down. Serenity gave way to shame. Beauty turned into ashes. Peace was fractured. The enemy had notched a victory, and sin came rushing into creation. Adam and Eve became keenly aware that things had changed. Instead of feeling like friends of God, they felt like enemies. So, they ran and hid.

What’s so extraordinary about the passage above is that God took the initiative in reaching out to sinful humanity. The Perfect One made the first move. Adam and Eve’s sin had brought on feelings of guilt and shame for the first time. Behind some inadequate tree, wearing inadequate coverings, they hear the voice of God calling out to them saying, “Where are you?”

Long ago, a pattern emerges. Humans sin and hide, then God seeks them. The greatest expression of this pattern is Jesus Christ, who “has come to seek and to save the lost.” (Luke 19:10)

God came looking for Adam and Eve so that they might face their sin, and so that He might tell them the first Gospel, “He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)  In layman’s terms, [Jesus] will strike [Satan’s] head, and [Satan] will strike [Jesus’s] heel. This is good news for you. Through Jesus, we will defeat sin – because Jesus has sacrificed himself on Earth.

God initiated a rescue protocol for sinners in the person of Jesus Christ. God is pursuing you. He made the first move towards you; will you move toward Him this Advent season?

Further Reading: Ephesians 2:13, Isaiah 55:6

Reflection: How has God been pursuing you recently? How have you responded to that pursuit?