“His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” — Luke 1:50, 52-53
Wreath Directions: Light all three purple candles.
Read Aloud: Luke 1:39-56; Isaiah 9:7; John 16:7-11
Suggested Carol: What Child is This?
Another aspect of the Hope of Christ concerns justice.
With the first coming of Jesus came the justice of God. We may not necessarily see it in the here and now, but Satan, sin, and all who oppose God have been declared guilty and their judgment has been handed down (John 3:18, 16:11). It is only the execution of the sentence that still awaits. Isaiah spoke of the coming messiah by saying He would, “bring justice to the nations,” and “bring forth justice in faithfulness.” And He will not stop in His mission until justice was brought upon the whole earth. It is in this justice that the distant lands (as well as those near) place their hope.
We often wonder why God allows suffering and evil in this world. Why someone like Saddam Hussein could kill 10,000 people without a second thought. Or how millions could die in Rwanda, Congo and Sudan because of pure hatred. We wonder why the rich keep stomping on the poor without penalty and why the righteous seem made to suffer. “Where is the justice, O Lord?” the prophet Habakkuk cried out (Hab. 1:2- 4). We rarely seem to recognize it, don’t we?
But this world DOES stand condemned and its ruler along with it (John 16:8, 11). And there will come a promised time when Jesus Himself stands behind His judicial desk and swings His gavel in judgment (Acts 17:31). This ultimate judgment will come in the future, when all who oppose God will finally receive their due. But it is a certain future.
But judgment also came in the first coming. Jesus came so that men might finally see the Father’s face and His righteousness. Jesus was that righteous display. And because Jesus has come men have a choice. Do they follow Him or reject Him? This is judgment: to evaluate right and wrong and defend what is right. Jesus promised that those who have faith in Him would be saved (John 3:16). Those who do not believe are under condemnation and will be held accountable for their lives on earth.
So this week we celebrate the hope of the justice of Christ. He has come and we who believe will be saved from the coming wrath of God. Those who do not, including many dictators and greedy billionaires, will one day be sentenced for their sin. And righteousness will be restored. We may not see it when we want it but it will happen.
This week’s prayer is:
“Our Father in heaven, we light this candle to thank You for the hope of salvation that we have in Your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. We thank You for His atoning blood, shed on the cross for our sins, and that through His resurrection we might have life in His name. We thank You for the hope found in His first coming and we grab hold of the hope of His return. It is in His holy name we pray. Amen.”