Session 17

What you miss when you only know half the story

From A Celebration of Advent: A 25-Day Devotional

If you start watching a movie when it’s almost over, you miss the significance of certain events. Sure, you could piece some things together. But more complex, meaningful exchanges are lost on you without context. 

The same is true of Jesus’ birth. Virgin gives birth to God’s Son? That’s a pretty incredible turn of events! But, when we see Jesus’ arrival in the context of the Old Testament, we understand why Anna “began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38). 

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” - Matthew 5:17

For hundreds of years, Israel had been waiting for the Messiah to free them. Then, people like Anna, Simeon, and later John the Baptist, start declaring, “Jesus is that guy!” 

Jesus went on to do all the things the prophets described — just not the way people expected. Israel was looking for someone to overthrow Rome, but what humanity needed was rescue from sin. 

Every Old Testament law was designed to teach God’s people to love Him and love others. But after generations of trying, Israel discovered what God knew to be true. We are incapable of keeping God’s law without His help. 

Jesus’ death and resurrection provide a way for us to experience freedom from sin. When we believe in Jesus, we receive His Spirit, and with it, the ability to really love and finally fulfill God’s law. 

  • Does Jesus’ statement that He came to fulfill the law and prophets change your view of the Old Testament? How?
  • Imagine how Anna felt when she saw Jesus. Let her joy and excitement in seeing the Lord sink deep into your heart and guide you as you pray. 

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