The Advent of Christ – The Beginning
The real beginning of the Advent story was in the Garden of Eden. It was there, after the fall of man, that God first referenced the coming Messiah as the seed of the woman, who would come to bruise the head of the serpent. [Genesis 3:15] Later, when He made covenant with Abraham, He said of His Seed that through that Seed all the families of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3]. Indeed, it was through the offspring (the seed) of Abraham’s son Isaac that the Messiah, Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph.
From the final prophecies of Malachi the voice of God from Heaven was silent on the Earth. For nearly 400 years the voice of the prophet was stilled until John the Baptist came preaching repentance and heralding the coming Messiah.
“For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.” Matthew 3:3
Who was John the Baptist? Jesus said of him that he was indeed the greatest prophet of all.
“For I say unto you, Among those that are born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist: but he that is least in the kingdom of God is greater than he.” Luke 7:28
Jesus birth was indeed a miracle of being born of a virgin by the power of the Holy Spirit. John the Baptist’s birth was also remarkable in that he was born of two parents who were too old by all biological limits to have a child and his mother had been barren all of her adult life until the miracle of God came to rest on both of them. [Luke 2:1-7]
No doubt there were many women in Israel who were barren and praying for God to give them children, but it was Zacharias and Elisabeth whom God chose to bless with a son. Now Zacharias was a descendent of Levi a son of Jacob the son of Isaac who was the covenant son of Abraham.
At John’s birth it was prophesied concerning him that he would be God’s voice to His people in preparation for the coming Messiah.
“And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; for you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, to give knowledge of salvation to His people by the remission of their sins, through the tender mercy of our God, with which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79
When John came into the fullness of his ministry he said of himself that he baptized with water but there was another coming who was greater than he and this One would baptize with the Holy Spirit.
He said this concerning the coming (the Advent) of Jesus, the Messiah. John’s role in the Advent story was to be the light bearer who would point the way to the Messiah. He was not The Light, but he came to bear witness of The Light. And that Light is Jesus.
“There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ ”And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John 1:6-16
So the Advent season begins with the breaking of the silence where no voice had been heard from Heaven since the days of Malachi, until Gabriel and Archangel of God came to Zacharias. Then from Zacharias and Elizabeth comes John the Baptist the light bearer to bear witness to the people of the coming Messiah.
From silence came the Word of God. “Fear Not…” In the midst of the darkness that covered the earth in sin, destruction and death, there came light that illuminated and penetrated the hearts of men with the hope of freedom from slavery to sin and death.
Thus the stage was set and the story quickly began to unfold. Jesus, the Messiah was coming.
“As it is written in the Prophets: ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will prepare Your way before You. The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; make His paths straight.” ‘ ” Mark 1:2-3