Anticipating the Coming King – Isaiah 11:1-10

Have you ever had to wait for something you really wanted? How long? Weeks? Months? Years? Decades? True followers of God waited for hundreds of years for their Messiah to come to earth. Isaiah lived 700 years before Christ was born, but by God’s power, he wrote beautiful passages, describing what the Messiah would be like. These are some of the hints he gave. Messiah would:

  • - Come from the family of Jesse (and King David)
  • - Have the Spirit of the Lord 
  • - Have a spirit of wisdom and understanding
  • - Have a spirit of knowledge
  • - Delight in the fear of the Lord
  • - Judge righteously
  • - Give decisions with justice
  • - Stop the wicked
  • - Bring peace
  • - Provide a glorious place of rest
  • - Gather scattered people

Don’t you think people would have been excitedly waiting for someone so marvelous? Well, 700 years is a long time, so the people got tired of waiting. By the time Jesus arrived, most people weren’t waiting for Him at all. They had forgotten about Messiah, or they had created in their minds a picture of Messiah so different from what God told them that they didn’t even recognize Him. What about us? Aren’t we prone to faithlessness just like the Israelites? Do those of us who know the Lord remember that Jesus is near us, or are we too distracted by details of our daily lives to remember His constant presence? Let’s use Advent as a time to renew our awareness of the presence of God and to listen to the voice of His Spirit more carefully.

Activity – Practice Waiting (while holding your breath) – Ask kids:

  • Are you good at waiting for things? Let’s practice waiting together! Let’s see who can wait the longest without blinking. (Pair up and let kids stare without blinking as long as they can). Let’s see who can wait without breathing – hold your breath. This works best if you have kids pinch their noses. (See who can hold their breath the longest). 
  • How well do you think we waited? Why didn’t we wait longer? We couldn’t! At some point, we had to blink / take a breath.
  • How long did the people of God have to wait for the Messiah? For hundreds of years. From Isaiah to the time Jesus came, it was about 700 years.
  • How well did the Israelites wait? Not well at all. They forgot about the Messiah and started worshiping other gods. Even those who REALLY tried to wait well for Messiah got off track. Look at the Pharisees. Their whole purpose was to live so perfectly that when Messiah came, they would be ready to welcome Him, but instead, they became so fixated on following all their rules that they were some of the least ready to receive Jesus when He came. In fact, they became some of Jesus’ worst enemies.
  • This season we are in right now is called Advent. It’s a season of waiting for Christmas to come. How well do we wait for Christmas? It’s supposed to be a time of getting to ready to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but do you think we get distracted like the Israelites did? What are some things that distract you from the true meaning of Christmas? Gifts, Santa, decorations, parties, etc.

  • Our sin causes us to forget about Jesus. Just like we couldn’t hold our breaths or stop blinking, we can’t defeat our sin. Only Jesus can. Today if you want to, you can tell Jesus that you want Him to defeat the sin in your life. If you invite Him, Jesus will enter your life. You must give Jesus control of your life, but when you do, He will defeat the sin in your life. He will give you the Holy Spirit to live within you. The Holy Spirit will remind you of what you should do to please God. He will help you understand the Bible. 

Advent Calendar (provide one for each child. See when our lives belong to Jesus, we want advent season to be a celebration of Jesus’ coming. We want to practice reminding ourselves each day that this season is about Jesus. Having an advent calendar can help us do that. Show kids how to use the advent calendar each day (read verse; what do you learn about God; ask yourself how the person might have felt; what can you learn from what this person did/said). Give kids time to decorate calendars as you discuss the following:

  • What are some decorations your family has that can remind you of Jesus?
    • o Lights – Jesus is the light of the world
    • o Greenery – looks like it’s alive, not dead like other leaves – Jesus brings true life
    • o Tree – branches that go up, up, up like a ladder – Jesus is our ladder to heaven
    • o Angels – glorified God at Jesus’ coming
    • o Red berries & bows – Jesus’ blood, shed for our sins so we can be accepted by God
    • o Nativity scenes – all the people who played a role in Jesus’ coming – Mary & Joseph accepted the hardship and ridicule to be whom God asked them to be; shepherds became the first missionaries, telling others about Jesus’ coming; wise men worshiped Jesus
    • How can gifts remind you of Jesus? He gave Himself to be our gift; He gave Himself totally and sacrificially
    • How would your life be different if you really believed that Jesus is always right beside you? Less fear and disobedience, more kind and loving

Additional questions:

What did you like about this story?

What didn’t you like?

What did you learn about God/Jesus?

    • God has had a plan for our salvation for hundreds and thousands of years.
    • God loved us so much that He was willing to be separated from His Son for our sake.
    • God cares about justice and about poor people.
    • God wants to give us peace and rest.

What did you learn about people?

    • People wander from God/ need to be brought back to a place of safety, rest and peace.
    • People can’t wait for God faithfully; they are sinful.

What did you learn about yourself?

    • I cannot follow God faithfully on my own.
    • I need the Holy Spirit to keep reminding me about Jesus and to help me be a faithful follower of God.