NOVEMBER 29

Daily Devotional

"SIMPLE?"

  


The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. (Mark 1:1)

Mark begins so simply. He announces his topic—"the Gospel," that is, the "Good News" of Jesus. Jesus who? Jesus the Christ—that is, the Messiah, the One God promised to send hundreds of years ago, to save us all. Who's that, you say? The Son of God—God become a human being, a tiny baby lying in a manger—a Man hanging on a cross. Maybe it's not so simple after all.

Or maybe it is. Because all of this boils down to one thing—to love. God, the God who made the universe and everything in it, deciding to come down into the mess and the trouble and the ordinariness of our daily lives. God coming down out of heaven and into a young woman's womb. God, becoming one of us.

There are many ways to show love—even at a distance. God could have sent an angel. He could have showered His blessings on us from far away. He could have even stuck with the prophets we were already used to. But He came Himself.

And because Jesus came, everything is different. Because this is the beginning of the Gospel, the beginning of the Good News—which is for me and you and everybody, which goes on forever.

THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for making Yourself our new beginning. Amen.

Reflection Questions:

* When do you most want a new beginning?

* Tell about a time when you went yourself to help someone.

* Why do you think Jesus calls Himself the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end (see Revelation 1:8)?

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.

"BEDTIME STORY"


 
The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you ... I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her Offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel." (Genesis 3:14a, 15)

It must have been a favorite bedtime story for Adam and Eve's children and grandchildren. It had all the elements—a good beginning, a tragic middle, and something exciting to look forward to at the end.

The story started out happily—God made people good and gave them a wonderful garden to live in. Then trouble came. The villain of the story showed up and tempted Adam and Eve into turning against God. As a result death, trouble, and suffering came into the world. How terrible!

Ah, but then—and this must have been their favorite bit—then God saved the day by promising a hero who would come and rescue everybody. This hero would be a human being just like them, but He would fight the ancient enemy and win! It would cost Him dearly, and He would suffer greatly, but in the end, He would save all humankind.

At this point those first children would have had to go to sleep. They knew no more than that. But we know more—we know the Name of the Hero. He is Jesus Christ, our Savior. He is the One born of a woman just as we are—born to take on the power of the devil and to defeat him, at the cost of His own suffering and death. And we know the best part of all—that Jesus has risen and is alive forever, victorious over death—and because we belong to Him, so now are we.

THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for being the Hero we needed to save us from death and evil. Amen.

Reflection Questions:

* What is your favorite bedtime, campfire, or other story?

* Why do you love it so much?

* What parts of Jesus' story are your favorite, and why?

Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.