How did Jesus know he was the Messiah? When did he realize who he was? I invite you to ponder and pray on this question with me this Advent season.

Some people seem to think that Jesus popped out of Mary’s womb reciting Psalms and healing people! But as John Eldredge likes to say, “Jesus wasn’t like Einstein doing first grade math!” He wasn’t pretending to be a human being dealing with stress and temptations (Hebrews 4:15).

The Bible says that when the eternal Son of God came to earth to be born as a baby he “made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness” (Philippians 2:7). He had to grow in wisdom and grace like all human beings (Luke 2:52). One way that he came into the fullness of understanding his divine calling and identity was to meditate on the prophecies of the Old Testament, like Psalm 110.

One day in 2008 I was up in the mountains memorizing and praying Psalm 110 with Jesus.  I awoke before dawn with David’s prophecy flowing through me and in my mind I saw Jesus as a young man beside a brook in Nazareth praying the psalm he’d memorized, drinking from the living waters of the Spirit, lifting up his head to the Father. He invited me to join him. Then he told me a story which I put into this poem:

A Message in a Bottle
A message in a bottle
Floating down the River of eternity
A holy mystery for the salvation of the earth

Words spoken before time began
In the secret place of the Trinity
Father to Son in the Spirit

Carried by angel sentries into time
And captured on parchment 3,000 years ago
To King David for the Messiah and us

Taken to heart by Jesus at the River
The One who was, and is, and is to come
To reveal his identity and mission for us

“So this is what Mother’s story means
And this is why I was born into flesh
And why I am to die and live again

It’s all for you my friends
Open Psalm 110 and your heart
To pray these eternal words with me

You and I will reign in love forever
As I live in you and through you
In the Father’s kingdom here and now

So sit at my Father’s right hand with me
Submit to him as I show you how
He will make our enemies our footstool

Yes, the battle with the enemy rages on
But take courage my willing troops
Defiant kings will fall

At the River of Life
You too are arrayed in holy majesty
From the womb of the dawn

Love will prevail
I am your Priest and your King forever
And you are at my right hand even now

Heaven is in our midst
Just drink with me from the Spirit’s brook
And lift up your head to my Father”

An Advent Prayer

In Advent we long for Jesus. We also can long with Jesus, joining him in setting our desire on God. Try imagining yourself with Jesus at the River of Life, basking in the Father’s love that shines down on us. This abiding prayer helps: “With Christ I drink from a Spirit brook beside the way — I lift up my head to the Father.”

Soul Shepherding’s Advent Resources will prepare your heart for a fresh appreciation of the coming of Christ. Our booklet is for private devotions and small groups. The prayer cards work great for facilitating conversation at a holiday gathering.

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