Advent devotional: O King of Nations

This devotional was prepared by Pastor Aaron in connection with our sermon series on the O'Antiphons.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

Micah 5:1-4
Psalm 118
Jeremiah 30.7-11a
Acts 4.1-12

When we read through Old Testament prophecies, we come to know that long before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, it was predicted that an everlasting ruler would come from the small, insignificant town.

Micah 5:2 announces: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel.”

From the tiny, backwater town of Bethlehem would come the Humble King who would break down divisions between nations and establish a kingdom of peace.

What is this king going to be like? An aggressive, dominating ruler with an iron fist? No, this leader will have an altogether different kind of strength. The prophet tells us he will be like a shepherd who will care for his flock in the “strength of the Lord”, bringing security and peace (verse 4).

This shalom will extend to the ends of the earth, bringing nations together in harmony.

Jesus clearly takes on this shepherd-king vocation when he says in the book of John: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”

The biblical story doesn’t present the Messiah as a tyrant king who forcefully and violently reigns over his people. He doesn’t bring peace by the sword. Rather, what we find in Scripture is Jesus, the humble shepherd-king who protects his flock from danger, directs their path, feeds their souls, and in laying down his life for them, brings peace to the world.

I like how Eugene Peterson describes the world under Jesus’ shepherding rule in the Message translation: “And the people will have a good and safe home, for the whole world will hold him in respect—Peacemaker of the world!”

O’Shepherd-King of the Nations, save us, protect us and bring your perfect peace.
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