Use this devo as you are able, in whole or in part. Don’t feel compelled to read it all. Simply read and meditate upon whatever catches your attention. The goal is enjoying time with God through His Word and in prayer. Questions about the devotional elements?
Call to Prayer
Shout for you, you heavens! Earth, rejoice! Mountains break into joyful shouts! For the LORD has comforted his people, and will have compassion on his afflicted ones.” (Isaiah 49:8-13)
Prayer of Confession
Confession is formative. It trains us to recognize the ways our hearts have become de-formed and how Christ is at work bringing redemption in our lives. Pray with this in mind.
Dear Lord Jesus, knowing that it’s possible to “do Christmas” and miss Advent, today I want to fill my heart as full as possible with you. You are the One who has come and is coming again. Isaiah’s words fuel my worship and shrink my worries.
Hallelujah, so many times over! Knowing the government of the whole world already rests on your shoulders fills me with a joy second only to knowing your shoulders fully bore the sin of the world, including mine. As this day begins, I gladly surrender to your reign of grace. Amen.
Take a moment to confess your sins, knowing that he hears you.
Advent Reading Plan
During Advent this year we are using the He Reads Truth and She Reads Truth Advent Devos. Readings in this plan will cover the whole of Scripture and directly point us to Christ. We will resume our OPC|M Daily Reading Plan on December 26.
This section of the Devo focuses on the passage(s) for Sunday’s sermon. Go ahead and read the following passage(s) and use the Parables Reading Plan + Study Guide to journal what stands out and what you have questions about in the passages. Below is a helpful commentary that can help to fill in the gaps.
Read: Luke 19:11-27 + John 1:9-14
“…He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God…”
The Apostle John’s words summarize the story of Christ’s first advent in short form: he came, he wasn’t recognized or received by those who should have received him as King. “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” The Talents and the Minas tell the same story in the form of a parable meant to provoke the same decision of rejection or embrace of Jesus as the Christ. But that’s not all, this is what Michael Card calls,
“…a parable that is also a blueprint. It is an imaginative map of the centuries that will stretch between the cross and the second coming.”
So our parable both calls us to decide WHO we believe Jesus to be, and HOW we will live in between his two great Advents. Here’s how the story goes:
A nobleman travels to a far country to be received as the true King of the territory. Once there, he he assigns roles and responsibilities to a group of his subjects, ten in all. Each is given the same resources (three months wages) and same task: “Operate with this until I return.”
But here’s where the story gets interesting. His new subjects hate him and so they start making plans to throw off his “tyrannical” reign, and complain to the servants he’s left behind saying, “We don’t want this man to rule over us!” A coup is afoot! Talk about a hostile work environment!
But such is the work they’ve been called to perform. Limited resources and a hostile locals don’t negate a King’s orders. So two of the servants get to work. They know what their master will expect when He returns. Lo and behold, the King arrives one day as advertised and rewards the first two servants for their faithful work. They are the true servants. But the third, oh what is to be done with a servant like this? He says he knows what the King is like, but his activity proves he doesn’t really know the Master at all. He is a false, do-nothing servant, which is to say that he’s not really a servant at all, and it costs him his life.
The parable foreshadows Jesus’ tearful entrance: some will miss Immanuel, God among us, and they will be crushed. True servants, though, know their Master, they have the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2:16). They love him, trust him, obey him even though they do not see him (1 Peter 1:8). Serving him well is their reward along with his affirming words: “Well done, good and faithful servant…”
Ponder: We are to love Christ and live for his words of affirmation. We might wonder why this is the case. Shouldn’t we get more for our service? But stop and consider that Jesus himself leads the way for our faithful obedience: “Who for the joy set before him endured the cross…” (Hebrews 12:2).
Evening Prayer of Examen
- Where did you move with or feel close to Jesus today?
- Where did you resist or feel far from Jesus today?
- Where is Jesus leading you tomorrow? Ask for joy as you follow him.
“Now when he heard this, he said, ‘It is not those who are well who need a doctor, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I didn’t come to call the righteous, but sinners.'” (Matthew 9:12-13)