Advent Wonder 2021, reflection 2, ‘his coming’ – the suffering warrior

26 Nov
Magi

Jesus’ coming was a living and troubling paradox for the people of his time. Was he to be a great warrior king who comes to lead? Or was the Messiah to be a servant who teaches, heals and loves as he serves?

Peoples of the Mid East, those belonging to the Magi’s Asian country, the Greeks, the Romans, all believed in warrior Messiahs, all powerful Gods. In principle, their common belief was that an all powerful King/priest would appear and lead all to a safe place, a kingdom, of righteousness and peace.

The Magi are exemplars of such a belief. ( Matthew 2 )A group of scholars who studied skies and ancient scrolls as their family and community directed for centuries, believed that a great warrior king from the heavens would come to earth to be worshipped as the chosen to make all wrongs right.

The Old Testament describes such a warrior king in paradox, as both a warrior and a suffering servant: ( Isaiah 42:13 “The Lord will march out like a champion, like a warrior he will stir up his zeal; with a shout he will raise the battle cry and will triumph over his enemies.”

But Isaiah also depicts a suffering servant as Messiah – ( “he was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain” Isaiah 53: 12 ).

How can a Saviour Messiah be both warrior and a servant? Jesus shows us how at the beginning of his ministry in his hometown Nazareth’s synagogue, ( from Luke 4 )

“And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. 15 And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. 16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. 17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.

He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captive and recovering of sight to the blind to set at liberty those who are oppressed,19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth….

Jesus boldly picks up Isaiah’s scroll and reads the prophetic description of a Messiah who will come to heal, to make wrongs right, and to proclaim the year of Jubilee, of favour.

Here,as a warrior teacher, Jesus then follows his reading by sitting and breathing these words, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”

Speaking his words with Isaiah’s can only be heard, seen as Jesus laying claim to being the Messiah. But what type of Messiah? The text describing the people’s reactions reveals the, this Saviour’s nature:

At first the people of his hometown are excited and in awe at his words. But when his words challenge their past understanding of the warrior Messiah, their hearts and minds reverse from awe to anger,

….all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. 29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. 30 But passing through their midst, he went away.”

Such a Saviour, such a Messiah, wars against brokenness by speaking with truth- the whole complete truth: the saviour will suffer and heal; the saviour will be a lamb before the slaughter and a zealous might warrior; our saviour will come as the word made flesh: the way, the truth, the light …

And he does it by risking rejection and brokenness himself. He does it to be experiencing death and resurrection.

He comes to complete and solve our greatest paradox: by dying in belief, I live. From everlasting to everlasting, I will live with Him.

my prayer: come this 2021 Advent to us, to me, again my Jesus; deepen my understanding of how your love answers all paradoxes.

Come my Jesus, come.

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