SER # 46Wa
FIRST UMC – NEBRASKA CITY
COLOR: PURPLE – 1ST CANDLE
SUNDAY NOVEMBER 29TH 2020
FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT
TEXTS: MICAH 5:2; MATTHEW 2:1 – 2
THEME: PRESIDENTS AND KINGS
We just finished our election for the president here in America (November, 3 2020) and other leaders for our country. We all know how divided we are and continue to be. It is not my place to solve that problem today but I come to tell you of another King a president who is above all evil and whose mantra is LOVE. That King is none other than Jesus who is the Christ. The Christ we celebrate today as we write the candle of hope.
Every year around this time of the year we prepare to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. We are now in the Advent Season the beginning of the Christian calendar. The Advent season is a time of preparation and the theme is “Coming.” It is the coming of a King. We usually light a candle each Sunday that are mounted on wreath here at the sanctuary. Each candle represents a certain theme. We have the candle of: Hope, Peace, Joy, love, and Christ. The center candle we call it Christ Candle (white). The Advent season then reminds us of Emmanuel, God with us.
This first Sunday of Advent we light the candle of Hope. We have to keep our hearts awake at this time. We have to allow ourselves to keep our Christmas list aside, and focus on the invitation of Christ who is the king.
To help learn more about Advent this year we are using the book of Rev Adam Hamilton “Incarnation: Rediscovering the Significance of Christmas”; Abingdon press Nashville 2020. Our small group that is being led by Dr. Dean Thomson and Dr. Jon Habben are studying the same. You can join them through zoom of in person every Sunday at 8:30am in room 211.
This first Sunday we would like to study Jesus as the King and what that means in our faith Journey.
- Jesus as King: From the Old Testament we read how Kings got anointed as a way of blessing to lead and govern their subject. Even today in countries like England they anoint their King or queen before they start their reign. Therefore, when we read about Jesus named as king it means he is the anointed one. From Jesus kingship we can learn the following lessons in regards to our faith journey: One, Jesus is a unique king. Unlike the earthly kings where there is politics and other aspect used to determine the king, Jesus is King from the beginning. There was no time when Jesus was not king. Two, Christ as king has to be allowed to exercise the kingly authority. Jesus authority is not forced unto us but given to us in a way of love. A way of acknowledging Jesus as the Lord of our lives. We have to allow Jesus to occupy his rightful place in our lives. This is the highest place. Third, every king has the kingdom or territory which he oversees. Jesus as king then, his area of operation is our hearts. That is why we have to submit to the will of God and his guidance every day. We have to be ready to put on the yoke of Jesus which is light and learn from him. Fourth, Jesus kingship has no time limit. We are used to having presidents and kings who might be serving under term limit. Jesus as king, he reigns eternally. That why we say his kingdom has no end. The world kingdoms no matter how powerful they will come to an end.
- Jesus as counselor: This child that was born came to transform the world. This child’s name is Jesus. This Jesus whose, “authority will rest upon his shoulders; he is named wonderful counselor, mighty God, everlasting Father, prince of peace.” As we get to these four weeks we have to remind ourselves of the few functions of the coming king. First, he will have authority. This means whatever he brings to us is with authority from the father and we can never be afraid. We see how his authority is even recognized by the evil one. Unless we get this direct authority right from this king, we have no power to do anything. This reminds me of the sons of Sceva who thought they would do things with the authority of others not direct from Jesus. Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirit tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, in the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out’ Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish priest were doing this. One day the evil spirit answered them, ‘Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding” (Acts 19:13 – 16). Two, wonderful counselor. Jesus then comes to listen to our challenges and guide us through life. A counselor is one who helps the client make sense out of the mess that they find themselves in. Jesus being our counselor will counsel us with truth and with no bias Jesus will help to see life in new lenses in the midst of world chaos. Three, prince of peace: Jesus offers to us the peace that passes all human understanding. The inner peace that we experience even the middle of the storm. For when the storm come, he calms it down. The important thing is to fix our eyes on him who is able. Peter was a unique disciple and he taught many things. He spoke when others were silent, he had the nerve to do things outside the ordinary like offering to walk on water like Jesus. When Peter one time in the middle of the storm he challenged Jesus to invite him to walk on water like him. When Peter fixed his eyes on Jesus, he was able to walk on water but the moment he shifted his eyes to the storm he started to sink. “Lord, if it is you Peter replied, tell me to come to you on the water. Come he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord save me!’ Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. you of little faith, he said, why did you doubt” (Matthew 14: 28 – 32).
- Jesus as Hope: This Sunday we celebrate Jesus coming of new hope of the world. Our first candle represents hope. Christian hope is like the fuel that gives us strength to keep waiting or trusting that the good is coming. This hope takes us to the story of the father of the son who had decided to leave home. We commonly call him the prodigal son. The father kept on hoping and trusting that one day he will come back home and he surely did. Time of advent is a time of We hope for the coming of the messiah who is Christ the king. If there is any other time as a country or as a people, we like to claim this hope is now. There are so many discouraging messages that are circulating. I know many of us here were not able to have our usual Thanksgiving; family time as we have done in the past. I want to encourage you by the message of the one who is Immanuel God with us. He came to make a way where there was no way to give hope where there was no hope. This candle we light today reminds us of all that hope that Jesus brings to our lives. When we put our hope on Jesus is like building on a solid rock. Jesus came to offer that base that we can count on at all times.