THE BETHLEHEM CANDLE or THE CANDLE OF PREPARATION
What I am leaving with you is shalom — I am giving you my shalom. I don’t give the way the world gives. Don’t let yourselves be upset or frightened. (CJB)
This week we prepare the way to Bethlehem. It was a time of peace but there was not a peaceful attitude between the Jews and the Romans who occupied the Holy Land. The Emperor demanded a census be taken of his whole empire. Now we al know what happens when a census is demanded, Just ask King David when he did that against God’s will. This one however, would be used to fulfill prophesy and God’s Will.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. (ESV)
Our Ancestors prepared for the birth with anticipation but yet misunderstood what the purpose of the Messiah would truly be. They were looking for an earthly king who would save them from Roman occupation even though God gave Isaiah to prophesy of the Suffering Servant who saves souls. He also gave the prophesy of preparation that would begin with John the Baptist.
3 A voice cries out: “Clear a road through the desert for Adonai! Level a highway in the ‘Aravah (willow branch/wilderness) for our God! 4 Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill lowered, the bumpy places made level and the crags become a plain. 5 Then the glory of Adonai will be revealed; all humankind together will see it, for the mouth of Adonai has spoken.” (CJB)
They saw but did not understand still. So John would continue crying in the desert wilderness of the Jordan and gave them fulfilled Isaiah again which says:
9 You who bring good news to Tziyon, get yourself up on a high mountain; you who bring good news to Yerushalayim, cry out at the top of your voice!
Don’t be afraid to shout out loud! Say to the cities of Y’hudah, “Here is your God!
10 Here comes Adonai Elohim with power, and his arm will rule for him.
Look! His reward is with him, and his recompense is before him.
11 He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering his lambs with his arm, carrying them against his chest, gently leading the mother sheep.” (CJB)
John was constantly preparing the way for Jesus knowing that his flesh and blood cousin was more than that, He is the Son of God.
Jesus came to John so that His mission could begin. The Suffering Servant has arrived. Jesus was anointed with the water but then the miracle of God came with a thunderous voice and a gentle dove. “This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased”. With that, the flesh became anointed and His ministry began.
Jesus prepared and became the way for our salvation. He fulfills the prophesy of Isaiah and the Will of God. His Mission, spread the Word of God, save mankind from eternal damnation, prepare a place for us in heaven, return and rule God’s Kingdom in the new creation.
So this Advent Sunday let us reflect on the peace that surpasses human understanding. This peace which is inherently within us but clouded by sin will be released once again when Jesus returns. There is an indescribable peace that comes over us when we accept Jesus as Savior but that is only a taste of what the peace of God will provide in us. We pray, “Come Lord Jesus” almost daily but He is already here. He is within each of us through the power of the Holy Spirit and is preparing our hearts for the Glorious Appearing where He will reveal His Kingdom to us.
Prepare for the Prince of Peace, born of God in a lowly manger, murdered by man, raised by God, who dwells within us, and rules us eternal.