At times certain people receive what we call “the silent treatment”. This is the occasion when someone stops communicating with a person for some reason or another. Often the alienated one suffers because of the silence.
When we read the Old Testament, we read of a coming person Who would defeat Satan. The prophecies began in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). Through the generations more and more detail about this person is given through the prophets, until 400 years before Jesus came when there was silence as no prophet spoke. It seemed the Lord was giving His people “the silent treatment”.
Malachi contains the final prophecy of the coming One, until John the Baptist declares Jesus as the fulfilment of the prophecies of promise. Isaiah very clearly prophecies that the Lord’s Servant will suffer for the sins of His people.
So finally, Jehovah speaks once more. The problem was that the nation to whom the Servant of the Lord came did not listen. Rather, the covenant community rejected Him just as prophesied in Isaiah 53.
We need to remember that without Easter, Christmas is just a fun time for children.
If the infant in the manger did not die and rise again for the sins of his people, we have nothing to celebrate during Advent. We are still in our sins, we shall die in our sins. Hence John Newton wrote of “pleasing grief and mournful joy”, when he writes about sinners viewing the Lord’s promised One hanging on the cross.
May your joy be mingled with grief this season of Advent. Look at the child and keep in mind He grew up to die for the sins of the world, you included.
In evil long I took delight,
Unawed by shame or fear,
Till a new object struck my sight,
And stopped my wild career.
I saw One hanging on a tree,
In agony and blood,
Who fixed His sorrowful eyes on me,
As near His cross I stood.
Sure, never til my latest breath,
Can I forget that look;
It seemed to charge me with His death,
Though never a word He spoke.
My conscience felt and owned the guilt,
And plunged me in despair,
I saw my sins His blood had spilt,
And helped to nail Him there.
A second look He gave, which said,
“I freely all forgive;
This blood is for thy ransom paid;
I die that thou mayst live.”
Thus, while His death my sin displays
In all its blackest hue,
Such is the mystery of grace,
It seals my pardon too.
With pleasing grief and mournful joy,
My spirit now is fill'd,
That I should such a life destroy,
Yet live by Him I kill'd.