First Sunday of Advent December 3, 2017
62, 70, 66, 60
Hymns from The Lutheran Hymnal (1941) unless otherwise noted
PRAYER OF THE DAY (Collect) for the First Sunday in Advent: Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Then Manoah prayed to the LORD and said, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.”
In Christ Jesus, Whose Advent We Await With Joyful Patience, Dear Fellow Redeemed:
This Advent season we will consider in our midweek services, “Nazarites As Types Of Christ.” When we speak of a “type” we mean specific people or things that were figures or pictures of the coming Savior. An example would be the Sabbath day. The physical rest was figurative of the spiritual rest the Messiah would bring. Also, in the temple sacrifices the animal blood shed as a sin offering for the people was a picture of the blood Christ would shed for all people.
In the texts we will be considering this Advent season, Nazarites are presented as types of Christ. A Nazarite was a person who was set apart from the people of Israel by meeting special requirements before God. Some of those requirements included no haircuts (hence Samson’s long hair), not consuming any alcohol, and not eating any unclean things. Nazarites as a whole could be said to point to the coming Savior who would be set apart from the people and would come from Nazareth. That is only the beginning of the similarities between Christ and the three Nazarites we will consider. We begin our consideration by looking at the man “SAMSON, A TYPE OF CHRIST."
Samson’s father, Manoah, prayed, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.” The Man of God Manoah referred to was none other than the Angel of the LORD. This Angel was not an ordinary messenger spirit, but the second Person of the Trinity, whom we know as God the Son. When the Angel of the LORD appeared again in answer to Manoah’s prayer, He revealed His name to be “Wonderful.” (v.18)
At the beginning of chapter 13 we read, “Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name Manoah; and his wife was barren and had no children. And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her, ‘Indeed now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son.’” (Judges 13:2f) Samson’s birth was to be a miraculous one, for his mother was not otherwise able to have children. By special provision the LORD would give her a son.
This birth would be no ordinary birth. This son would be no ordinary man. He would be set apart for God as a Nazarite, from birth to death. As we know from later in Samson’s life the LORD provided Samson with super-human strength. We are told that “The Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times” (Judges 13:25) so that he would perform mighty works against the Philistines.
A Nazarite of miraculous birth, filled with the Holy Spirit. Certainly this description reminds us of the promised Savior. But, like any picture, Samson was not a perfect picture of the Messiah, for the circumstances of the Savior’s birth were far more miraculous.
We read in the Gospel of Luke, “Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary…The angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David’…Then Mary said to the angel, ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?’ And the angel answered and said to her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:26-35)
The prophet Isaiah tells us more of this Child’s name: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
This Child from Nazareth would be born of a virgin by special operation of the Holy Spirit. And He would be filled with the Holy Spirit for He was, as God’s Son, in intimate communion with His heavenly Father. We read in Luke 4:1 that Jesus was “filled with the Holy Spirit.” And Jesus says in John 10:30, “I and My Father are one.”
In addition to being a Nazarite, Samson was also one of a group of people referred to in Scripture as “the Judges.” These judges were not judges in the way we think of judges, that is, magistrates. Rather, they were deliverers, chosen by the LORD to protect and deliver the people of Israel from the Philistines, Israel’s pagan, war-like neighbors.
Throughout the account of Samson’s life recorded in the book of Judges we see him striking against the Philistines. The Scriptures tell us that Samson “judged Israel twenty years in the days of the Philistines.” (Judges 15:20) Israel fell into sin and God punished them by sending enemies upon them. Israel repented of their sin and the merciful God used Samson as His instrument to deliver His people from the Philistines. So it can be said that Samson was a savior of his people.
Chosen by God to be an instrument of deliverance for Israel, Samson was an imperfect savior, or deliverer, at best.
Throughout the account of Samson’s life we see him for the champion of Israel that he was. But we also see him for the sinner that he was. To begin with, Samson married a Philistine woman, a heathen. This was a marriage forbidden by the Law given by God on Sinai. To make matters worse, when that marriage didn’t work out, Samson turned to prostitutes. Furthermore, rather than trusting in the LORD God who had given him such great gifts, Samson began to trust in himself and in his great strength. In fact, he even began to use God’s gifts to aid him in his own selfish, sinful pursuits. We see this same tendency in our own sinful lives. How often don’t we see someone who has great gifts from God turn those talents to sinful uses? How often haven’t we ourselves turned physical gifts, or perhaps great intelligence or imagination to sinful purposes, or, just as shamefully, failed to use God-given gifts toward any constructive purpose?
Finally, Samson, having turned from God, was forsaken by His LORD on account of Samson’s unbelief. The deliverer and judge of Israel could not deliver himself, as he revealed to Delilah the source of his strength and was captured, bound, tortured, and enslaved.
Again, in our own lives, we find that we cannot deliver ourselves from the sin that reigns over all people. Fortunately, for Samson, for us, and for all people, the LORD God is gracious and merciful.
As Samson was a savior to his people, so Christ, in a measure far beyond comparison with Samson or anyone else, is the Savior of all His people and of the entire world. He is the Savior from man’s spiritual oppressors, namely, sin, death, and the devil.
When Manoah, Samson’s father, heard that his wife would bear a child, he prayed, “O my Lord, please let the Man of God whom You sent come to us again and teach us what we shall do for the child who will be born.” When the LORD tells us of His Christ-child who would be born in Bethlehem, He comes to us in His Word and tells us what that Christ-child would do for US. What shall we do for this Christ-child? Nothing. He has done it all!
Where Samson and we have failed to lead godly lives at all times, the life of Christ Jesus was, from beginning to end, God-pleasing, for Christ came to fulfill God’s law in the place of all people.
That Christ-child came to take our sins to the cross and to pay for all of them, so that, as sinners when we cry, “God forgive us our sins!” we can be certain that our prayer is heard, for this Christ-child, who would be born in a stable, housed with the cattle and the lambs, was Himself a Lamb—“The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) When Samson turned again to the LORD, it was through faith in this promised Savior that Samson humbly and penitently asked God to restore his strength, that he might die serving His God and Savior, for that Lamb of God has taken away the sins of Samson, the sins of you and me, and, indeed, the sins of the entire world.
What shall we do for the Christ-child? Nothing. We can do nothing. The reason? “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:32f.) Christ Jesus has accomplished everything necessary for the salvation of every sinner. He is the Deliverer who has delivered all people from sin and death. He is the One who will deliver us into eternal life. Amen.
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All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.