Advent Devotional – Saturday, December 24, 2016 – Christmas Eve – Fulfilled From
3 In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judæa, 2 and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
4 And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judæa, and all the region round about Jordan, 6 and were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8 Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: 9 and think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.
10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. 11 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: 12 whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. – Matthew 3:1-12
Tomorrow, as we celebrate the fulfillment of the advent season with the coming of Christ, I want to focus on the word “fulfill”. In this passage the word fulfill continues the theme of “fulfillment” that was so prominent in the beginning narrative of Matthew’s gospel. Jesus‘ conception, birth, and infancy all fulfill specific and general prophecies, and now Jesus‘ baptism will “fulfill all righteousness”.
What is the righteousness that is being fulfilled in Jesus’s baptism? Most likely it is a reference back to God‘s saving grace prophesied about throughout the Old Testament and now being fulfilled with the beginning of Jesus’s ministry and ultimately through his death on the cross.
Many people in Israel believed the coming Messiah would come as a conquering King while others thought of a kingdom in which the temple priest and sacrifices would be elevated. The people also had differing thoughts on how salvation would be brought about. In this passage we once again see fulfillment happening differently than many in Israel expected. Just as with his baptism, the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation through Jesus‘ birth, death, and resurrection required a reshaping of the way people viewed the Messiah and God’s plan of salvation.
So many times God reshapes our thinking. I hope the coming of the Christ child that we will celebrate tomorrow challenges you to rethink and reshape the way you see God, your fellow man, and His church. Maybe the fulfillment of this Christmas season hasn’t come about the way you expected. Yet many times God works and does something miraculous when we let him reshape our thinking and fulfill our expectations in a way we never anticipated.
This Christmas Eve, let God fulfill his plan for you in his way. The only thing you have to do is let him.