Advent Reflections: Week 04

Advent Reflections: Week 04

Jesus is the Perfect King

 

The Personal Reflection is geared toward anyone seeking to “stay on track” during Christmas, deepening their understanding of the Advent season and Jesus’ fulfilling of the prophecies about him in the Old Testament.

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The Family Reflection is designed for parents to have a tool to engage with their kids in the Bible. It will draw on the key Bible verses and themes of the Advent Series to help parents teach these core truths to their families.

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Advent Week 04: Personal Reflection

When my husband and I got engaged, we went through premarital counseling with our pastor. As part of the counseling, he gave us a test to see where we each stood on different issues. There were questions like, “Have you discussed finances?” and “Do you agree on children in your future?”

Well, we passed with flying colors. We had discussed the important issues, and we knew - as best we could - who we were marrying. But I very distinctly remember our pastor warning me to be aware of my rose-colored glasses. Oh yes, I keep mine polished up for their job, and they work wonders at tinting my reality.

See, no matter how much we talked, no matter how well we knew each other, we didn’t really know each other. I didn’t know that he wouldn’t be able to stand my heavy comforter, and he didn’t know that I’d bring enough clothes to overflow into his dresser.

It wasn’t until we came under one roof that we began to see the full picture. My rose-colored glasses got a little banged up as I learned that my new husband wasn’t exactly like me. And marriage became a beautiful time of constantly learning about the little (and big) things that made up the true identity of the human being we’d joined ourselves to.

Read John 18:36-37

The Jews were desperate to find a legal way to get rid of the man who had been preaching against them for three years, and they desperately wanted to return to the time before Jesus when they were seen as the authority on God.

Before Jesus, the Jewish people had no reason to question the Jewish leadership. But afterward, they found themselves having to choose - is this man actually the Messiah we have been waiting for? Or do I listen to the leadership I have known all my life?

When brought before Pilate, Jesus was asked if he was King of the Jews. Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?...You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born, and for this purpose I come into the world - to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

This exchange can be confusing, but I love what Matthew Henry, a Puritan minister, wrote:

“Christ answered this question with another; not for evasion, but that Pilate might consider what he did. He never took upon him any earthly power, never were any traitorous principles or practices laid to him. Christ gave an account of the nature of his kingdom. Its nature is not worldly; it is a kingdom within men, set up in their hearts and consciences; its riches spiritual, its power spiritual, and its glory within. . . . When Christ said, I am the Truth, he said, in effect, I am a King. He conquers by the convincing evidence of truth; he rules by the commanding power of truth.”

Truth. Jesus wasn’t forceful. He spoke his words and let others make their own decisions about their validity.

If we move on to look at Ephesians 1:16-23, Paul builds upon that principle, praying that the “eyes of your hearts would be enlightened . . . what is the immeasurable greatness of his power.” He wants them to truly and completely see who Jesus is - the King of Heaven and Earth, the One who rules everything, the perfect Lord. God sent Jesus to be a man on earth (albeit God incarnate), but now he is above everything - above the powers of the world and the powers of the spirit world, above the rulers of today and above the kings to come.

Do we know in our heart of hearts this truth? This truth that Jesus is king over absolutely positively everything seen and unseen? That his perfect existence is exactly what proves that we can trust him to be over everything in our lives?

Jesus didn’t come into the world with fanfare, he came to earth just as we do - as a baby. This entrance made recognizing him as king more difficult, but when God opens our eyes to it, faith builds and belief grows. Our prayer should always be that the eyes of our hearts are opened to see who Jesus is, not because of rose-colored glasses, but because of truth. The full truth.

Personal Reflection Questions

 

What do you have a difficult time believing that Jesus is King over?
Think about a time when you gave up control of a difficult situation to Jesus. What happened?
Jesus shook up the Jews’ world by asking them to give up the religious structure that they had always known, and he shook up the Greeks’ world by invalidating their many gods. Which people group do you better identify with? Why?
Jesus being King means that total authority belongs to him. Have you ever thought something was too big or too small for Jesus to handle?

 

 


Advent Week 04: Family Reflection

Jesus is the Perfect King

All the years before Jesus came, people were waiting for a person to rescue them. They had expectations of who the coming king would be. People thought he would be someone really important. They thought the coming king would be powerful. But the king came as a little baby! He had no power over anyone. He was small and helpless. As he grew up, he loved people and served them. Do you know who the special king was? That’s right, Jesus! Jesus wore ordinary clothing and had an ordinary family just like you. Most people didn’t even know who he was at first. Jesus followed God’s plan and lived a life that pleased his father in heaven. This was confusing for lots of people because Jesus’ life did not match what they expected for their king.

Verse #1: Jesus answered, “My Kingdom is not an earthly kingdom. If it were, my followers would fight to keep me from being handed over to the Jewish leaders. But my Kingdom is not of this world.”
John 18:36 (NLT)

Question #1: Pilate, the Roman leader, asked Jesus if he was really a king. Jesus told Pilate the truth but he still let Jesus be crucified. Why did people have a hard time believing that Jesus was king?

(his kingdom was unseen and in heaven, he served people instead of being served, he didn’t wear beautiful clothing)


Verse #2: I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.
Ephesians 1:19-20 (NLT)

Question #2: When you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you are called a child of God. You are part of God’s kingdom which means you have God’s power available to help you! With Jesus as king of your life, what are some good ways to use God’s power?

(ask him for help to do the right thing, tell others about Jesus, give us strength to help others)