In Come Let Us Adore Him: A daily advent devotional, pastor and author Paul Tripp has reminded his readers of the true reason that Jesus came to earth. Tripp’s desire for his readers can be found in the introduction to the devotional. Tripp writes, “What makes this story so wonderful and so important is not that its plot is way beyond anything you would’ve ever conceived. What make this story so vital to know and understand is that it is not a well-crafted fantasy. The thing that should make you stop in your tracks, activate your heart and mind, and fall to your knees is that this story is real” (pg. 9). Tripp desires that his readers leave with a renewed awe and wonder at the story of Jesus. He does so by breaking the devotional down into three distinct categories, “Gods promises from of old” (15-29); “the depravity of man” (30-62); “The incarnation led to the fulfillment of prophecies that give us a future hope and glory. (63-129)
Category one, Gods promises from of old
In the opening pages of this section, Tripp begins by stating that Jesus was the fulfillment of all of Gods promises to a world broken apart by sin. One point that Tripp makes with great clarity is that when Adam and Eve fell in the garden, all of creation was cursed, not just mankind. God had promised that he would send a deliverer, but no one could have conceived that it would take place the way it did. That is precisely what Tripp argues when he says, “Yes, God would act decisively, and his actions would be what he had planned in the beginning, but they would be a stunning surprise to every mere mortal. His response would not be condemnation and judgment. His response would not be a meting out of justice. Rather, his response would be intervention and rescue” (16). Even greater still is that “God would take on human flesh and invade his sin-broken world with his wisdom, power, glory, and grace. But he would not descend to a palace. Instead, the Lord Almighty, the Creator, the sovereign King over all things would humble himself and take on the form of a servant” (17). A message that was told for centuries, but no one saw it coming. The birth of Jesus would bring about not only the redemption of man, but the entire cosmos. The earth had cried out for a Messiah and now, “the Messiah the earth cried for now cries to be held by Mary and will soon cry in torment of the cross of salvation. He came to suffer because he came to save” (17).
The reality that Jesus was prophesied about from of old is really hammered out in the final pages of Tripp’s first section. Tripp writes, “All the promises of the prophets were carried on the shoulders of the One born in Bethlehem, and he fulfilled them all” (22). While the birth of Jesus is something the world was not expecting, it was not as if it was not announced. There are a plethora of promises that were made in the Old Testament in regards to who this Messiah would be, but Tripp offers the ones pertaining to Jesus’s birth. He quotes Micah 5:2 “But you, o Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come form for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.” Isaiah 7:14 speaks of the Messiah being born of a virgin. Genesis 22:18 says that Jesus would be a descendant of Abraham which would be the fulfillment of God’s covenant promises: “And in your offspring shall all the nations of earth be blessed” (Numbers 24:17). Hosea promised that out of Egypt God would call his son. Jeremiah prophesied that Jesus would be born in the midst of human suffering. What should come to mind when we read these promises. Tripp suggests that “these prophecies remind us that the coming of Jesus is the result of the unstoppable zeal of a God of glorious redeeming grace” (23). These prophecies are also meant to give us hope. Tripp writes, “The surety of the past prophecies and the specificity of how Jesus fulfilled them is also your guaranteed future hope” (24).
While there is wonderful news in Tripp’s first category, the second category is tough to read. It is in this section that we are reminded that the reason Christ had to come was because of our sin.
Category two, the depravity of man
Perhaps you’re a lot like I am and want to be reminded of the joy of Christmas. You don’t want to be reminded of your sin or your faults. Then you remember that that is precisely the reason Jesus had to come. That is the point Tripp is going to set out to prove in this section. Tripp begins by asserting that “one of the primary purposes of the incarnation of Jesus is to humble each and every one of us… only when you except the very bad news of Jesus’s birth will you then be excited about its very, very good news” (30). The bad news is that because of the fall there is not one part of our lives that was not impacted. The problem with sin is that it is an internal problem, not an external one. That is why the law in all of its holiness would not be enough to save us, only show us how wretched we truly are. God knew that every single particle of our lives is infected and stained by sin. Our sin is something that “twists every thought that diverts every desire, which shapes every word and action” (31). Tripp goes on to define what the brokenness of sin does in all of our lives. Sin leaves us separated from God. Sin leaves us unable to save ourselves. Sin leaves us delusional. Sin leaves us under the judgment of God. Finally sin leaves us hopeless. There was no other way for lost sinners to be reconciled to God unless Jesus came. There was no other way to save us from our sins because our biggest problem is not “familial or historical or societal or political or relational or ecclesiastical or financial. The biggest, darkest thing that all of us have to face, and that somehow, someway influences everything we think, say, and do, isn’t outside us; it’s inside” (59). Tripp quotes Romans 3:23 and has us consider Romans 5:6-11 when considering what sin does. The sin of Adam was passed down to all of us. We have fallen short of God’s glory. We are without hope and God in the world, that is why Jesus came and that is why the incarnation of Jesus is so beautiful.
Category three, the incarnation led to the fulfillment of prophecies that give us a future hope and glory
Jesus’s birth was the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and the life that he lived was one of perfect obedience to the law of God. He was born to die in order that he might save. This is Tripp’s final point in his devotional. He argues that in order to fully understand the story of Christmas, one must understand the crucifixion. Tripp suggests that when you understand the incarnation it causes you to look ahead to Calvary. The death of Christ on the cross purchased and sealed our pardon, but before he could die he had to be born. We sang this as a choir recently, “before it could be finished it had to begun.” This is essentially what Tripp writes about. This baby was the Savior of the world. He would grow and be mocked, beaten, and killed. He would die so that those whom the Father chose would be brought near. He died to give us a future hope and glory. Who would have ever thought that the sovereign ruler of the universe would subject himself to that kind of humiliation? This humble servant was born of a virgin, laid in a feeding trough, and was beaten mocked, and crucified so that we could have hope. Not just a temporal hope, but an eternal hope. This is the final message that Tripp gives to those who read this devotional.
Looking to 2020:
When discussing this devotional with Maggie, we came up with a few ways that this book has impacted us. We came to the conclusion that we want 2020 to be a year that is saturated with Scripture. Reading the message of Christmas and how our sin is the reason for the coming of Christ encouraged us to go deeper as a family into the Word of God. Daily Bible reading is something we try and practice, but meditation is something we tend to neglect. Meditating on the Word together as a family is something we intend to do more of in 2020. The second topic we discussed was parenting. Meridith has reached the age where rebellion is something that is normal. We knew this day would come, but did not recognize how difficult it can be. For me what stands out the most as a Christian father is that my little girl is not able to run from the evil of sin. It’s in her nature, it’s worked down into the very depth of her bones, to even type this makes me want to drop to my knees and cry out for the rescuing grace of Jesus to invade her life. This thought convicts me as a father. It causes me to look at myself and ask the question, am I being as patient with my daughter as my Heavenly Father is with me? This is also another reason that we need to be saturating ourselves with Scripture. After wrestling with the ideas presented in this devotional we came up with final thought. We want every conversation, meal, church fellowship, time with family, and conversation with strangers to be centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ. We want 2020 to be a year where people from every tongue, tribe, and nation will come and adore Him!