Lesson 1: Hope
November 27, 2016
The word, “advent,” means “coming,” “arrival,” or “visitation.” During the Advent Season (the four Sundays before Christmas), we remember, celebrate, and prepare for the advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. Through him, God gave the world true and lasting hope, love, joy, and peace that was, and remains, sorely needed. It was a dark world into which Christ was born. Each Sunday in Advent, we light a candle to bear witness to Jesus as the “Light of the world.” By referring to himself as such, Jesus taught us that he is the one who gives life-giving and eternal light. His light is still needed today, which is why those who follow him are also called, “the light of the world.” The purpose of these studies is to help us better understand the difference the first coming of Jesus made in our world and how he can continue making such an impact through us until his Second Advent.
Questions for Reflection
1. Read Jeremiah 33:14-17. Throughout the Old Testament, God promised to send Israel a Messiah, or “Anointed One.” How do these verses reveal that God was moving toward the fulfillment of that promise?
2. Who do you think this “righteous Branch” is? Read Isaiah 4:2; Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12 to learn more about him. What else do you learn from these verses?
3. Do you see the hope that would be emerging in the hearts and minds of the people of Israel? According to Jeremiah 33:15, what will this “Branch” do once he arrives on the scene? What are some of the ways Jesus was the fulfillment of this promise?
4. Read Romans 3:21-26. Our Jeremiah text says when the Messiah comes, the city of Jerusalem will be so changed that it will be called, “the Lord our righteousness.” How does that title fit Jesus, according to the verses in Romans? And how is this more than only saving Israel as a nation or people group?
5. In Jeremiah 33:17, God reiterates his promise to David that the Messiah would be from his line and would be king forever (2 Samuel 7:16; 1 Chronicles 17:11-12). The Jews knew of this promise and eagerly awaited the same kind of king as King David. Jesus was indeed a King, but a decidedly different kind than David. What do you learn about the kingship and kingdom of Jesus in John 18:33-37?
6. Think about different ways Jesus is our hope, both from an eternal and temporal perspective. What are three ways in which Jesus is your hope?
7. If you were to go out for coffee with a friend or coworker this week, what could you tell them (based on the Scripture you have read in this lesson) about the hope Jesus brought the world 2,000 years ago? In what ways does our world need this same hope today? What are five practical ways you can share the hope found in Jesus with others?