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Advent Hour – December 20, 2016

“The Root of Jesse”

Bishop Ariel Cornelio P. Santos


We continue waiting in anticipation and hope.  We continue preparing our hearts for the coming of our King.  From the Old Testament reading today, it is said that somebody is from the root or the branch of Jesse, meaning, from the human body.  In Psalm 132, God promised David that “of the fruit of your body, your son (son of David), from among men will come somebody that will rule the earth in righteousness and obedience to God.” The nations will resort to Him.  The nations will rally behind Him.  The nations will look to Him, reminiscent of the prophesy of Isaiah in Chapter 2 when all the world will look to the mountain of the house of God with its leader, the Son of David, as the standard.  He will be the standard for all the nations, the standard for peoples.


This was fulfilled, as we know, in our Lord Jesus who is the perfect, if I may say so, human specimen.  Man was intended by God to be without sin, conquering and obeying; but He is no ordinary Son though. He is not just an ordinary human being.  He is the Son of God who fully submits to the Father and yields to the Spirit.  He shows us how to be human. 


What are we supposed to be?  Look at what Jesus is. Look at how He lived His life.  Look at how He obeyed His Father. Look at how He did things.  There is this saying in stickers, books, and ballers “What Would Jesus Do?” because He is our pattern. How would He handle the situation that we are in?  How would He deal with people that we deal with?  He is our standard.  He is our banner.  He became one of us.  He was not ashamed to call us His brothers. He became the first born of all creation. He is the human standard of divinity.  If there is one person who deserves to have the title, “Doctor of Divinity,” it is Jesus, the one true Doctor of Divinity.


In Psalm 132, God said, “If your sons will keep My covenant, they will sit on the throne forever.”  How many of you can identify even one of the kings that followed David that fully obeyed the covenant of God? Nobody, but with one exception - Jesus, the Son of David.   Only He fulfilled that.  The line of the kings from David stopped with Jesus.  He remains as King forever because He is the one King that kept the covenant of God, but He came from among men, as one of us.


We who needed help, God gave us grace to empower us, to face what we need to face, to fulfill what we need to fulfill because man who made a mistake also fell short, and now he has hope.  He has hope for restoration.  He has hope for freedom.  He has hope for peace.  He has hope to overcome sin and death because He cried, “Emmanuel, come, be with us. Save us.” Jesus, our King and Savior came to us, gave us hope, started the work in us, and allowed the Holy Spirit to continue that work; and He will come again at the completion and the fullness of that work. 


We look forward to this with anticipation and with hope.  We are a people of hope.  Our standard is our Lord, our Brother.  God is with us through Him. We just came from Baguio where we had a Youth Camp, and the theme was, “Jars of Clay, Earthen Vessels.”  Earthen vessels – not meaning being dirty, useless, and worthless because God made us vessels that are earthly, not necessarily bad.  That is our design.  The flesh is not bad; the flesh is good.  The flesh did fail, which is why God empowered it to again fulfill what it was made for.  He did not give up on us, human beings.  He empowered us and He continues to use us.

God is not One who would discard or throw away something that does not work anymore like people do today.  We do not repair things anymore.  No, God does not give up us.  He loves man so much He became man.  He loves the flesh so much. He believes in it so much He empowered it by becoming man, giving us grace to fulfill what we are supposed to fulfill.  


I defined the word, “supernatural” in a different way in the Discipleship Summit.  Let us break it down. Super means on or over, on top of.  Think of a word like - superimposed or supersede; something that you use to empower something.  What do you empower? The natural, the flesh. You don’t throw it away.  You empower it so that it has divine power so that it can be useful again.  This is very similar to Mary yielding herself to the power of God, saying, “Be it done to me according to Thy Word.”  The angel told her, “The Holy Spirit will overshadow you so that from your flesh or of the fruit of your body will come the Son of David who will save the people from their sins”. It is by Mary’s example that we learn a lesson.


I posted something from last Sunday’s Gospel on my Facebook page, and I said, “by sacrificially keeping ourselves pure and giving of ourselves in obedience to God and for love of neighbor, even if we are persecuted, even if we are ostracized, we are to bear (like Mary), nurture, and give birth to something that would make people feel, realize, and even exclaim, “Oh, Emmanuel; God is with us!”  Why? How? Through our giving birth to a Jesus, to a hope, to something that would give an answer to their problem, to something that would embolden them to face what they are facing that previously scared them or gave them fear.

God gave us grace. We don’t have to rely on our own strength anymore which failed us because it is insufficient. Now we have God among us, God with us, and God in us who is more than enough, who is more than sufficient.  Romans 8 says, “The Holy Spirit who raised Jesus from the dead is the same Spirit and the same power that is at work in us, giving us hope, giving life to our mortal bodies.”  It is just not about overcoming physical death, but giving the life of God to us.  Not just the life of God so that we can stay immortal, but the life of God so that we can show people His love; so we can show people the hope, the divine nature that we have that they can have, too, because this is the good news: the love of God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Having said this we have a responsibility.  We are a people of hope, but we cannot be a people of hope without being proclaimers of hope.  When we were “Protestant,” people would say this common phrase that comes out of Christians’ mouths, “I am saved” or “I can even recall the date; I was saved on this or that date.”    This is fine.  We know we have salvation, but we cannot have been saved without having compassion on those who are not yet saved. We cannot be a people of hope without being proclaimers of hope.  We cannot be saved or claim to be without having compassion.

Jesus is our standard.  What did Jesus do when He saw a people like sheep without a shepherd?  He had compassion on them.  He would have compassion on them if He were alive today. Do we have this in our heart? We say, “We have hope,” but it does not stop with us.  We are to be proclaimers of hope.  We cannot be comfortable in the kingdom of heaven knowing that outside, there are people who have no hope and who are not inside yet. We, who received the good news of great joy and are experiencing it, must be proclaimers of it.  This is how God intended us to be. This is how He created us to be, and this is the way it is in the Kingdom of our God.                                     

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