Join Dr. Anna Robbins
as she leads us through her new Advent Bible study.
Spend time every day in personal study and then join the live conversation led by Dr. Robbins five Tuesday mornings, beginning November 17.
About the Book
Have you ever received a large package in the post and opened it with excitement, only to discover that there was yet another box and simply too much packaging for the small and unimpressive item it contained? The big surprise failed to meet your expectations.
‘Not as expected’ often means that the reality turns out to be less exciting than we’d hoped. Maybe you ordered a cake or bought an item only to be disappointed by its diminutive size and diminished appearance.
However, a ‘not as expected’ experience can sometimes be positive. Maybe you’ve gone to an event, thinking you’d rather be at home in bed with a book. It’s a cold wet evening but you pushed yourself to go, and it ended up being one of the best nights of your life! You expected something dull and uninteresting, and you got something that surpassed all expectations.
A well-know advent hymn issues the invitation, ‘Come, thou long-expected Jesus’. But when Jesus showed up, He overturned and surpassed all hopes of what He would be and do. Although the arrival of a messiah was prophesied by some, Jesus was certainly not what most people were expecting. For the Pharisees, He was the total opposite of the kind of saviour they had imagined, and they quickly.set about trying to discredit and get rid of Him. For the poor, blind and bound, His arrival was the best news possible. Those who met Him never left unchallenged or unchanged. For many, the encounter carried the potential of total – and unexpected – transformation.
Today, bombarded by the reality of an unexpected global pandemic, our unsustainable impact on the planet, our abuse of people and crumbling political institutions, perhaps we found it difficult to must any sort of positive expectation whatsoever. Generally, as a people, we have surrendered to the paraphrased words of the eighteenth-century poes Alexander Pope: ‘Blessed are those who expect nothing, for they will never be disappointed.’ In the context of our lives, do we dare to invite the presence of an unexpected Jesus?
Over these days together, we will consider the prophets’ expectations of Jesus: how Jesus’ arrival on the scene was completely unexpected, and how those around Him were transformed as a result. We will explore some encounters Jesu had with people who were faced with His unexpected presence and the searching power of His love. As we see how they responded, hopefully, we too will be challenged to respond.
What are your expectations this Advent? Are you keeping them low in order to avoid disappointment? This Christmas, instead of thinking about what you expect from others, think about what you expect from God. What does it mean that God is with you, right now?
Come and meet an unexpected Jesus – and never be the same again.
How to Join the Study
Purchase the Book
Register to Join the Weekly Discussion
Register to let us know you are participating with us, and to receive the zoom details for the weekly gathering.
Start the Study
This book is designed to be read each day alongside your Bible. Beginning Tuesday, November 17, read one daily entry from the book as part of your devotional time.
On Tuesday mornings at 11 am (ADT), join a group zoom call led by Dr. Anna Robbins to reflect on the week’s readings together.