Fourth Sunday of Advent

Is. 52:13-54:10

Fourth Sunday of Advent

And the greatest of these is love…

I. Section #1 – A PICTURE of JESUS. (Is. 52:13-53:12)
A. Not the GOD we were EXPECTING. (52:13-53:3)
B. The BURDEN he CHOOSES. (53:4, 7-9)
C. The PURPOSE motivating His ACTIONS. (53:5-6)
D. The EXALTATION that is to FOLLOW. (53:10-12)

There are four “servant songs” in the book of Isaiah, each one describing the coming Messiah, and the promise of what this Messiah will initiate for His people. The one in Isaiah 53 is one of the most well known, but often the familiarity of the text can make us miss the beauty of what we see there.

1. Kid’s Question: What do you think Jesus is like? If He moved into your neighbourhood would you like to have Him for your friend?
2. What stands out to the most from the description of Jesus in 52:13-53:12? Why?

II. Section #2 – A GIFT for a NEEDY people. (Is. 54:1-10)
A. A BLESSING for the DESOLATE. (54:1-3)
D. The GIFT of UNSHAKEABLE love. (54:10)

Because of this coming Messiah, Israel will be forever changed, or at least given the opportunity to be forever changed. Once again there is beautiful poetic language to talk about the gift being given to a people who don’t deserve it. It builds to the foundational commitment underlying all of this, the love of God.

3. When have you felt you were in a place of “desolation”? What was that like?
4. Do shame, disgrace, or humiliation play a role in your own life and feelings? Whatare the results of their presence in your life? How does the love of God address those?
5. What things in your life feel very “shakeable”? How might you grow into a betterunderstanding of God’s unshakeable love for you?

III. Love: How one SECTION leads to the OTHER.
A. Less about KNOWING and more about EXPERIENCING. (52:15)
B. Understanding the DESCENT of LOVE. (53:4-9; Phil 2:6-8)
C. C. Growing from “NEED” love to “GIFT” love. (I Jn 4:11)
D. What LOVE does in and to US. (Eph. 3:19; Col. 2:9-10)

It’s important to note how these two passages work together. The picture of Jesus is what makes the love of chapter 54 even possible. We think we know what love is, but what we see God doing here drives our understanding of His love even deeper. It also models the type of love He is calling us to live out.

6. In what ways is God calling you to imitate the descent kind of love that He gives us?
7. Do you find the love you give to others as more “need” love or “gift” love? Why is that? Do you want that to change?
8. What might it look like for your life to grow in reflecting the fullness of God to the world around you?