Advent: Week 2
Jesus’ Birth, The First Advent
The theme of the second week of Advent is “peace”.
As a side note, verse 21 of Luke 2 tell us that, as instructed, they called his name “Jesus”. Jesus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Yehoshua and the Aramaic Yeshua (Joshua) that means, “Yahweh saves” or “the Lord saves”.
Jesus is the saving work of the Father to come and make peace between fallen man and holy and Triune God.
Also, when we come to any topic of Scripture or season of the year that is celebrated because of the work of Father in history its vital to place the topic or season in the proper setting and not isolate it from the whole.
For example, Christmas. If we simply focus on the birth of a baby in a manger without understanding who the baby is and why he came then its just another event and excuse to do something, who knows what or who cares what.
But when we come to the Advent season we must remember that the Christ took on flesh and was born of a virgin (in order to take on flesh without inheriting corruption from Adam) in order to take on the rebellion of his fallen creatures and die at the hands of the Father (remember, Jesus means “Yahweh saves”) in just punishment for the creature’s sin in order to grant adoption as sons to all the creatures who would repent and believe.
Jesus came and brought peace not simply by being born but by taking on flesh as the eternal Son of God, living the perfect life and dying for sin.
Jesus came to die for the purpose of making peace.
Our passage is a classic Christmas passage, but take note of verse 14:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”
In keeping with the theme of “peace” for this week of Advent lets take a look at the word “peace”.
The word “peace” has some implications. Peace implies that there was / is an absence of peace that makes peace desirable. Peace implies that there was disturbance. Peace can imply that there was war.
The word “peace” shows up 340 times in the ESV’s translation of Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek.
“Peace” shows up more times in Leviticus than any other book of the Bible.
29 of the 31 times “peace” is mentioned in Leviticus are in regard to the people’s “peace offerings” to the Lord.
The “peace offering” was a reminder to the people of the communion made between the people and the Lord because of the Lord’s covenant with them and the “peace offering” was a reaffirmation of this covenant between the Lord and his people.
Well, lets answer three questions this morning: 1. what is covenant and 2. why was covenant needed? 3. what did covenant accomplish?
1. What is covenant?
“A bond in blood that is sovereignly administered.” – O. Palmer Robertson
A bond / relationship created through death that made peace between two parties and brought them together to be one.
“A life and death relationship with God on his terms.” – Driscoll
A relationship that brought life due to being initiated by God and without which there would be no relationship and death that is completely dependant on God for the terms. The reason the terms are on God alone is that he alone can keep the terms.
“An unchangeable, divinely imposed legal agreement between God and man that stipulates the conditions of their relationship.” – Grudem
Father made multiple covenants with man in redemptive history and each building on the other in order to reveal himself to them, write the story of redemptive history, be merciful to and save his people and expand the scope of his revealing and redemptive mission:
1. Adamic Covenant
2. Noahic Covenant
3. Abrahamic Covenant
4. Mosaic Covenant
5. Davidic Covenant
6. New Covenant (Jesus and his Church)
The purpose of these covenants was to address the problem of humanity.
What problem? The fall.
Our parents sinned and brought death and destruction on us all.
The covenants are the story of Father’s uncaused, gracious and generous love.
Father is under no obligation to rescue humans and the world from their state of sin, but he chooses to do so and takes the initiative to do it.
Christmas is the opening shot across the bow of Satan and sin that the final saving work in redemptive history, the New Covenant, is being established and that death and sin will not hold sway any longer!
As the story of Father’s redemptive love develops through the Old Testament, this covenant love is referred to with the main word “hesed”.
Vines Expository Dictionary defines “hesed” like this: (“hesed” is covenant love)
“God’s loving kindness, consistent, ever-faithful, relentless, constantly pursuing, lavish extravagant, unrestrained, one-way love.”
2. Why was covenant needed?
1. The rebellion brought war
A. Man inherited guilt from Adam
1. Romans 5:12-21
B. Man inherited corruption from Adam
1. Psalm 51:1-5
a. Our natures lack any spiritual good before God
b. In our actions we are not able to do spiritual good before God
C. Man, because of the fall was at war with God and could not win.
3. What did covenant accomplish?
1. The Lord established the New Covenant to bring peace
Covenant was made in the first place because it was the way to pursue and redeem back to himself his image bearing creatures from the fall who were not opposed to him.
In covenant the Lord made “peace” between fallen man and holy God.
Because of the fall “hesed” was spurned in favor of rebellion and death began to spoil all of creation and Father began the pursuit of his people and the restoration of peace with them through covenant.
A. The New Covenant made peace between God and his people
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, wether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
B. The New Covenant made Father pleased with his people
1. Hebrews 10:19-12:11
The writer of Hebrews makes mention that if one shrinks back Father has no pleasure in them then comments that they are not of those who shrink back rather they are chapter 11 type people, people who have faith and persevere because Jesus is better than life. Then he transitions to chapter 12 where he reminds them that these the Father takes pleasure in are disciplined because Fathers discipline their children. Meaning, only a father who delights in his kids treats them like children, and that is exactly what the New Covenant of peace has done for us. Not only has peace been made, but we have been brought near and made children of God in whom he takes pleasure.
C. The New Covenant has made my standing with God to remain solidly in place
even when I sin.
1. Romans 8:1
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.
D. The New Covenant brought me to worship
1. “Glory to God in the highest!”
a. Isaiah 43:1-7
Christmas is the opening shot across the bow of Satan and sin that the final saving work in redemptive history, the New Covenant, is being established and that death and sin will not hold sway much longer and peace would again be the status quo between God and man.