Go to Nineveh

Jill Ver Steeg

READ : Nahum 1:1-8; 3:1-7 Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it. (Jonah 1:2) Picture yourself as an ancient Israelite. Someone has come to your village with a copy of a new book, The Story of Jonah. You and your neighbors gather in a circle to hear this fresh word from the Lord. The scroll is opened, and the first words are read. Everything is in order. Then suddenly comes this outrageous statement, “Go to …

Keep Awake!

Jill Ver Steeg

READ : Matthew 24:36-44 Concerning that day and hour no one knows . . . but the Father. (v. 36) Christ has come once and Christ will come again. The Apostles’ Creed reminds us of this truth: he who was “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary” will come again “to judge the living and the dead.” According to Matthew’s Gospel, shortly before Jesus goes away he tells his followers to keep awake and be ready …

A Mystery Revealed

Jill Ver Steeg

READ : Romans 16:25-27 According to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret . . . (v. 25) Now to God who is able! What an acclamation! During this season of celebrating, we are tethered to the promises of God. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” we sing—while recognizing that the birth of the King is just the beginning of the fulfillment. Even so, the Apostle Paul commits us, his readers, to God and to all …

The Comfort of God

Jill Ver Steeg

READ : Isaiah 40:1-11 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. (v. 1) Good news! Double comfort. “Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.” In a world full of bad news we receive the good news promises of God. Are you prepared to receive the good news? A voice cries: “Prepare the way of the Lord.” Prepare. The Lord will come as a powerful but gentle Shepherd in whom all flesh will see the glory of God unveiled. This is …

The Wilderness of Advent

Jill Ver Steeg

READ : Mark 1:1-8 Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. (v. 3) “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ” (v. 1). This is Mark’s way of saying “Genesis.” The good news of Jesus is the genesis of all things. As Genesis chapter one, verse one takes us out into the wastes of formless void and primordial chaos before God spoke and created a good world, so Mark chapter one takes us back to the wilderness, …

The Prophetic Announcement

Jill Ver Steeg

READ : Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11 It is 600 years before the birth of Christ. The worst thing that could happen to a nation has happened to God’s people. Babylon’s overwhelming superiority has defeated the kingdom of Judah. The armies of Nebuchadnezzar have taken Jerusalem, leveling the city, destroying the Temple of Solomon and annihilating everything that was precious to the Jews. As if that wasn’t terrible enough, the Babylonians assembled all the people and marched them across the desert to …