Advent is a time we can refresh our amazement in the prophecy and arrival of Jesus the Messiah, growing closer to Him as we proclaim our longing for His coming again. We pray this devotional will challenge and remind you of the hope, joy, preparation, and love that we experience as we anticipate Christ’s birth.
It’s the miracle of Christmas — the only independent being subjected Himself to the limitations of a human body in infant form. We’ve heard it so many times that it can wash right over us. Slow down to consider that our God chose to come to us as a newborn baby.
Babies are the ultimate example of dependence. Infants depend on parents. Jesus embraced dependence in His earthly life so that we could learn to depend on God. As you consider our fascinating God, pray to find the courage to embrace the infant-like trust displayed in the gospel.
Read 2 Kings 5:1-14
What had Naaman accomplished in his life, and how did people regard him as a result? In the midst of his success, what obstacle did he face?
Naaman was highly regarded by the King of Syria. God granted him great success in battle and he was a man of valor, but one thing plagued him — he was a leper. This ailment left him desperate. So desperate that he was willing to take a slave girl’s word and travel all the way to Samar. He found the king and then traveled with all his horses and chariots to the prophet Elisha’s house.
What were Elisha’s instructions to Naaman, and how did Naaman respond? How does Naaman feel about washing in the Jordan?
God would heal Naaman, but not the way Naaman expected. He thought the prophet might just wave his hand, but instead Elisha told him he needed to do something. He needed to wash in the Jordan River. “What’s so special about the Jordan?” Naman balked. “Surely, the rivers in Damascus are better.”
It seems silly that Naaman would travel so far to see Elisha, and almost turn away angry at the prophet’s prescription for healing. Pride often seems silly. What was so difficult about dipping in the river seven times? Perhaps that was Naaman’s hangup. He was a man of valor and this solution was too easy!
How do Elisha’s instructions point to Jesus?
Perhaps Naaman’s hangup is ours as well. Washing in Jesus is so easy that it exposes our pride. Just like Naaman, who traveled a great distance and brought great riches to try to impress the king and win his favor, we spend money and time trying to get what we want from God. Or like Naaman, we expect a waving of the hand type miracle from God. Because of our pride, we listen to every other voice, besides the one who calls us to Jesus.
Consider again the miracle of Christmas — the all-powerful God became a baby. Jesus became helpless so that we could see our helplessness and, by His power alone, come to trust in Him for life.
This Jumpstart Advent series was written and produced by Park Community Church in Chicago, IL.