This week I have been thinking about Advent. It simply means ‘arrival’. As we prepare for Christmas, it’s good to go to the Old Testament to see what God said about the ‘arrival’ of the Messiah. This was God’s rescue plan for His people: to save and to care for them. Some 580 years before Jesus was born, Ezekiel prophesied about God intervening and coming to ‘shepherd’ his people...

This is what the Lord God says: I, myself, will search for my sheep and take care of them. As a shepherd takes care of his scattered flock when it is found, I will take care of my sheep. I will save them from all the places where they were scattered on a cloudy and dark day.
— Ezekiel 34:11-12 The NCV Bible

This was first prophesied when Israel was about to be conquered by the Babylonians, so when the Jews heard it they must have hoped that God was going to act there and then! That did not happen, and nearly 600 years passed before this ‘word’ was fulfilled. We can now see that this ‘shepherd’ was Jesus. He did not only come to save Israel, but His salvation is for everyone! Jesus saves us from an eternity without Him and opens the door into a new, free and better life. This Advent, thank God that Jesus came, as the good shepherd to search, care and save you!

Gary Bastin - Hope Community Church leader

Gary Bastin