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Second Advent Sunday: Christ is the Object of our Faith


Matthew 2:1-6, "Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 So they said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ ”


In the tradition of the Advent Wreath, tomorrow is the second Sunday of Advent, and the candle to be lit is called "The Bethlehem Candle." The name "Bethlehem" means house of bread, indicating fruitfulness and the sustaining power of God.

The city was relatively obscure, yet rich in is history. The exact beginnings of the city of Bethlehem are a bit sketchy, but the first time the city is mentioned in the Bible is in Genesis 35:19, where we are told Rachel was buried there after she died in childbirth in the delivery of Benjamin. Bethlehem is the city where Ruth, the Moabitess, met Boaz, married him, and became the grandmother of Jesse and the great-grandmother of David. The book of 1 Samuel indicates that David was raised in this same city of Bethlehem. It became known as "The City of David" and was the place in which the Savior, Christ the Lord, was born (Luke 2:11). Just as Boaz was the kinsman-redeemer for Ruth, so Jesus is our Redeemer, born in Bethlehem, the City of David.

The passage in Matthew 2 speaks of the wise men coming from the East to Jerusalem, following the great star they were shown by God. Jerusalem was a likely place for a King to be born, as it was the capital city of Israel. Yet that was not the prophesied place for the Messiah to be born. When Herod asked his counsellors about this new "King of the Jews" they quoted the prophecy from Micah 5:2 which taught that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem of Judea, just a few miles south of Jerusalem. In Bethlehem, they found the infant Jesus with his parents, and worshipped him through their words and through their gifts.

The Wise Men exhibited great faith to leave their homeland, travel for many days, and search out the location of the newborn King of the Jews. They believed the Word of the Lord given them by the counsellors of King Herod. They followed the star by faith, believing it would lead them to the child. And when they arrived, they found that the prophecy they were told had indeed come true. Jesus, the King of the Jews, the Ruler who would shepherd Israel, had been born. And they worshipped him.

This week's Advent candle represents faith. When the Old Testament saints were given information about their coming Messiah, they needed faith to believe it would be so. This one truth of the birthplace of Messiah is merely representative of other prophesies. Faith in Christ is not an unreasonable faith. It is not an unfounded faith. It is a faith based on the truth of the Word of God. Jesus said in John 6:35 that whoever partakes of him and believes on him will never hunger and never thirst. He is the bread of life that gives life to all who put their faith in him alone.

What or who we believe in as our object of worship makes all the difference. Christ alone is the one worthy of our worship, for he is the King, the Savior, the Redeemer. He alone must be the object of a person's faith in order to receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Christ. Faith in Christ alone is not an unfounded faith. Make him your object of saving faith today.

Once in Royal David's City
Text: Cecil F. Alexander, 1848

Once in royal David's city
Stood a lowly cattle shed,
Where a mother laid her baby
In a manger for His bed;
Mary was that mother mild,
Jesus Christ her little child.

He came down to earth from heaven
Who is God and Lord of all,
And His shelter was a stable,
And his cradle was a stall:
With the poor, and meek, and lowly,
Lived on earth our Savior holy.

And our eyes at last shall see Him,
Through His own redeeming love;
For that child so dear and gentle
Is our Lord in heav'n above,
And He leads His children on
To the place where He is gone.

Not in that poor lowly stable,
With the oxen standing by,
We shall see Him, but in heaven,
Set at God's right hand on high;
When like stars His children crowned
All in white shall wait around.

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