Session 1: Incarnation
INCARNATION: REDISCOVERING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS
FROM REV. ADAM HAMILTON’S ADVENT STUDY FOR 2020
OPENING DIRECTIONS AND QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
• For those participating in the Wednesday 10 am Zoom Session: since we are doing this on-line, it might be difficult to guarantee that conversations will be confidential, so please consider all conversations as open.
• How do you understand the word Incarnation? (If inclined, send definitions.)
Watch the video from Adam Hamilton:
WEEK 1: SESSION GOALS
This Session’s readings, reflections, activities, and prayers will equip participants to:
• Discuss their understanding of what it means to call Jesus King;
• Define the concepts of the Davidic Covenant and the messianic hope, and explain how these concepts helped Jesus’ first followers understand him;
• Reflect on how Jesus birth, life, death, and resurrection led his followers to believe he was the fulfillment of ancient messianic hopes; and
• Identify a specific “sphere of influence” in which they can witness to Jesus’ rule this Advent season
1 MINUTE OF SILENCE
IN PREPARATION FOR THE STUDY
• Read Chapter 1 and the assigned Scriptures.
• Why did you decided to join this study?
• What do you hope to gain from it?
We have just come through a Presidential election—here are a few Trivia Questions from former Presidential elections. Can you identify which Presidential Candidate used the following slogans? Bonus points if you can guess the year. You are on your honor: No google searches!
1. It’s morning in America Again
2. Vote As You Shot
3. Country First
4. Yes, We Can
5. He Kept us Out of War
6. Happy Days are Here Again
7. In Your Heart, You Know He’s Right
8. Not just Peanuts
How difficult was it to remember the candidates? Fame is surely fleeting.
Using no more than three words, how would you describe the tone of the 2020 US presidential campaign?
Adam Hamilton writes: “As much as we decry the polarization [of American politics], many of us participate in it through our conversations and our use of social media.” (page 17)
1. Do you agree with Hamilton’s assessment? Why or why not?
2. How is a president like or unlike a king?
3. What does it mean for you to call Jesus king?
4. How meaningful do you find this title for Jesus?
Would someone read aloud from the book on page 17 starting with
“This season . . . and ending at our highest allegiance.”
Our goal tonight is to help us explore both
1. what Jesus first followers meant when they called him King,
2. and how—if at all—calling Jesus King can help us grow in faith and obedience today.
Now let us begin with prayer. Would someone who feels so moved please pray?
VIEWING THE DVD AND POSSIBLE DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
• Hamilton thinks Advent should be a season of unity for Christians. Do you or have you experienced Advent in this way?
• Hamilton reflects on the Royal titles give to Jesus in the New Testaments Advent and Christmas stories. What do you think about when you think about Royalty? Do you easily or frequently think of Jesus as royalty?
• Who is considered royalty in 2020 culture? Why? How do these “royals” compare and contrast with Jesus?
• S.M. Lockridge preached on “That’s My King.” If I can bring it up on YouTube, we can hear it in his own words.
o Does any part of his description of Jesus resonate with you?
o How would you describe your king?
KING DAVID, GOD’S ANOINTED ONE
What ceremonies or rituals can you identify whether in the church or in the larger society that “set apart” people for a special function?
Would someone read page 23 the paragraph:
“Through the prophets, . . . As the Lords anointed?
I will speak to the issue of how over the centuries the title “Christ” has come to mean: Messiah/Anointed One
WE NEED A VOLUNTEER TO READ 2 Samuel 7.1-1
2 Samuel 7:1-16, New Revised Standard Version
God’s Covenant with David
7 Now when the king was settled in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies around him, 2 the king said to the prophet Nathan, “See now, I am living in a house of cedar, but the ark of God stays in a tent.” 3 Nathan said to the king, “Go, do all that you have in mind; for the LORD is with you.”
4 But that same night the word of the LORD came to Nathan: 5 Go and tell my servant David: Thus, says the LORD: Are you the one to build me a house to live in? 6 I have not lived in a house since the day I brought up the people of Israel from Egypt to this day, but I have been moving about in a tent and a tabernacle. 7 Wherever I have moved about among all the people of Israel, did I ever speak a word with any of the tribal leaders of Israel, whom I commanded to shepherd my people Israel, saying, “Why have you not built me a house of cedar?” 8 Now therefore thus you shall say to my servant David: Thus says the LORD of hosts: I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep to be prince over my people Israel; 9 and I have been with you wherever you went, and have cut off all your enemies from before you; and I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. 10 And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place, and be disturbed no more; and evildoers shall afflict them no more, as formerly, 11 from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the LORD declares to you that the LORD will make you a house. 12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your ancestors, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come forth from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me. When he commits iniquity, I will punish him with a rod such as mortals use, with blows inflicted by human beings. 15 But I will not take my steadfast love from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. 16 Your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me; your throne shall be established forever.
1. Why is David troubled about where the Ark of God—the ark of the covenant, the box which housed the Ten Commandments and which ancient Israel viewed as the footstool of God’s throne—is stored?
2. What is your opinion of David’s plan?
3. How does God, through Nathan the Prophet, respond to David’s plan?
4. What does God promise David, and why?
5. Why did the Davidic Covenant have so much power to sustain the Jewish people?
6. What does that power suggest about how they remembered King David? (Those of you who spent 30 Days with King David have a real edge here.)
7. What leaders, if any, from your congregation or your community’s past do you remember during difficult times?
8. How do these memories sustain you?
9. What dangers, if any, arise when people idealize leaders from the past?
The Messianic Hope
Read from Incarnation, page 26, “This hope for and ideal king, is what became known as the ‘messianic hope.’”
If time and we have enough people, we will have breakout rooms:
• Isaiah 9.2-7
• Jeremiah 23.1-8
• Ezekiel 34.23-31
Read the assigned passages and discuss how each one contributes to an understanding of the messianic hope. When we resume, one person from each group will share the highlights of their group.
Jesus As the Messianic Hope Fulfilled
New Revised Standard Version
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
Narrator: In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27 to a virgin engaged to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the Angel came to her and said,
Angel: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.”
Narrator: 29 But she was much perplexed by his words and pondered what sort of greeting this might be. 30 The angel said to her,
Angel: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Narrator: Mary said to the angel,
Mary: “How can this be, since I am a virgin?”
Narrator: The angel said to her,
Angel: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God. 36 And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.”
Narrator: Then Mary said,
Mary: “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.”
Narrator: Then the angel departed from her.
1. How do Gabriel’s words echo ancient hope?
2. How do you imagine Mary, a devote Jew, felt about these words?
3. Based on what we have discussed so far, why did Jesus’ followers come to believe that he was that hope?
4. Hamilton describes Jesus’ public ministry as “his campaign for the office of King.” (page 30) How helpful is this metaphor for you? Does it work? Why, why not?
5. Page 39: “we live in a time . . . the first give us confidence in the second.” How confident are you that this is true?
6. Do you agree that Jesus is the single-most influential person to have walked this planet?”
7. How important is it for us to continue calling Jesus King?
8. What other titles or images, if any, would help people today understand Jesus in the way that the title King does?
9. I will read from Incarnation: (Pages 41-42) from Hamilton:
Hamilton does not presume to know about our politics, but he says: “if you are a Christian, I know your King. His Sermon on the Mount, his parables, and his great commandments calling us to love God and neighbor represent the laws of his kingdom. Our allegiance to him comes above all other allegiances.”
• As we end this session, are there any places or relationships where you could witness to Jesus’ rule during this Advent Season?
• Would someone close us in prayer? This is a simple formula that can be helpful when asked to pray.
The collect, an ancient pattern of prayer, is short and to the point, yet has a rich content. Not only are many collects included in this and other collections of prayers, but persons who learn to pray in this form can quickly and easily compose appropriate prayers for all kinds of occasions. These are the elements of a collect, as illustrated by the traditional Collect for Purity and a contemporary version of it:
|1) Address to God||Almighty God,||Almighty God,|
|2) God’s attribute or acts on which this prayer is based</TD>||unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid||to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hidden.|
|3) The petition Itself||Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit,||Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,|
|4) Intended result of the petition||that we may perfectly love thee, and worthily magnify thy holy name;||that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy name,|
|5) Final doxology||through Christ our Lord. Amen.||through Christ our Lord. Amen.|
Or we can use the one on page 42.