Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed

First Advent Candle


Advent is a word that means “coming” or “visit”.  In the Christian season of Advent we prepare for the “advent” of Christ at Christmas.  Our preparation includes many things:

? We remember Israel’s hope for the coming of God’s Messiah to save, to forgive, and to restore them.

? We remember our hope for the second coming of Jesus.


? We remember our need for a Savior to save us from our sins.

? We prepare to welcome Christ at Christmas into our world . . . and into our hearts.

By lighting one candle each week of Advent, we help ourselves to get ready for the birth of Jesus.  The candles have different meanings, each based upon the Bible.  These meanings help us to understand how special the birth of Jesus is for us.

Today we focus on the coming of Christ as our Shepherd.

Prayer for God’s Help

[This prayer can be read, or simply used as a model.]

Dear God, thank you for this season of Advent that helps us to prepare for the coming of Christ at Christmas.  As we read the Bible and light a candle, may excitement for Christ’s coming burn in our hearts.  Amen.


Scripture Readings

[Parents, you may wish to abbreviate or eliminate certain readings depending on the age(s) of your child(ren).  You may also want to read these selections out of a Children’s Bible.]

Psalm 80:1-7

In this Psalm we join the people of Israel as they invite God their Shepherd to save and to restore them.

Isaiah 40:1-11

This passage looks ahead to the coming of the Lord, who will care for his people like a shepherd.


Revelation 7:9-17

Like God’s people before the coming of Christ, we also look ahead to the time when Christ, who is both the Lamb and our Shepherd, will finish his work and “God will wipe away every tear” from our eyes.

Lighting of the Candle

[As someone lights the first purple candle, the following should be read or paraphrased. If you’re doing this online, in order to “light” the next Advent candle, click on the wick of the purple candles until you “light” the right one.]

We light this candle because, like God’s people centuries ago, we also look forward with hope to the coming of the Shepherd.  The purple color of the candle reminds us of the seriousness of our hope.


Prayer of Hope

[To be read or paraphrased.]

Dear God, as we light this candle, we hope for your coming as our Good Shepherd.  Please gather us in your arms, feed us with spiritual food, wipe away every tear from our eyes, and “let your face shine, that we may be saved”.  Come, our Shepherd!  Amen.

Closing Song

Comments read comments(7)
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Leigh Anne

posted November 29, 2009 at 7:44 am

I read the header at the top of the article, and I have to ask a question…How are you defining “orthodox faith”, and why use the word? The word “orthodox” often conjours up images of “heretics” being tortured because they did not agree to the accepted “creed” of th church. If our creed is to love….will those who do not love yet be branded as “heretics”?
Or, when you use the term “orthodox” are you meaning that this blog conforms to the “orthodox” beliefs of some other man-made creed? I am not into words that divide people into “us and them” camps as it temds to make us less loving of our “Samaritan” neighbor.
Just curious

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Scot McKnight

posted November 29, 2009 at 7:49 am

Leigh Anne, thanks. We define “orthodox faith” as in the ancient creeds through the insights of the Reformation. So, Protestant orthodoxy. The Creeds are man-made only in the sense that humans striving to understand divine Scriptures. I believe God spoke in Christ as the gospel and that God has continued to guide the Church throughout history, as Jesus said the Spirit would do. We seek to love God and others, and we seek to provide an open, civil conversation with folks who are both orthodox and not orthodox. It’s not always easy.

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Leigh Anne

posted November 29, 2009 at 8:29 am

I guess after studying the aftereffects of these man-made creeds in my Master’s program, I very reluctant to accept to any of them. Most of the creeds were the religious rational for inflicting pain and suffering on those who did not follow the “creed” by those who did. To me the fruit of the tree was not healthy.
The Jesus Creed however is a creed of love…love of God and neighbor…even and especially “Samartian” neighbors. I guess to me, adherence to the term and ideas of “orthodoxy” (especially with all of its bloody religious baggage) and adherence to the Jesus Creed are antithetical.

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Scot McKnight

posted November 29, 2009 at 10:01 am

Leigh Anne, allow me to come back to you. Do you think it is fair to say the creeds were “religious rationale for inflicting pain and suffering”? That’s what they were about?
Why do you think the Church has always maintained that God is a Trinity?
One more: when you read the Apostles’ Creed, what lines do you really disagree with?

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Leigh Anne

posted November 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

When the Nicene Creed was created, it was not about love, it was about power. Constatine wanted and easier rule of Rome, and could not do it as well as long as the bishops were bickering over the nature of Christ. As soon as the creed was created, he began the systematic slaughter of the Arians who disagreed with it and only stopped when killing unarmed people who would not defend themselves began to gnaw at him. But all done in love I am sure.
Martin Luther, while citing his belief in the Apostles Creed ordered the burning of Jewish Synagogues and demeaning of the Jewish people. Once again, filled with love I am sure.
So, what do I disagree about in the creeds? IN their use. Their use has proved to be divisive and sometimes deadly. If the fruit of the tree is bad…then what was said about the tree? So my question back would be why do we need a creed other than the one promoted by Jesus himself, to love God (God isn’t even deeply defined here, is left open to some very interesting Jewish debate that continues today) and our neighbor? The purpose of any other man-made creed would be what? To sift out who agrees with us and who doesn’t…and what then?

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posted November 30, 2009 at 6:15 pm

Leigh Anne,
The Nicene and Apostles’ Creeds are simply concise summaries of the beliefs about God held by the majority of Christians. They were useful when created to teach the many who could not read, but might memorize this brief statement. They are useful now to clear away the denominational clutter and focus on the central beliefs of Christianity. They are man-made only in the sense of being compiled by men from the truths presented about the triune God in the Bible. (God created the heavens and earth, Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus died and rose again, etc.)
It is unfortunate if these statements of belief were used for evil in the past. There will always be people who take their worldview (belief system)and use it for their own purposes. Radical Muslims use their faith to justify killing people, sometimes people of their own faith. Hindus and Sikhs kill each other in Asia. People purportedly seeking justice for the oppressed of the developing world use that as an excuse to riot at summit meetings of world leaders or the World Bank. (And the rioters damage property of others not in any associated with the perceived problem.) In every case, you need to blame the people not the creed.
You say you disagree with the use of creeds. Most of us use them purely as a statement of our beliefs. Mr. McKnight asked you if there were any specific lines of either Christian creed that you disagreed with. I would also ask if you can find any part that is inconsistant with the Bible.

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Leigh Anne

posted December 1, 2009 at 10:35 am

The Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds have parts that are inconsistent with many scriptures….but they also have scriptures that back them up. That is the point, that God is not limited by our “creedal understandings” of God.” My denomination is trinitarian, but there are many that are not…..and yet are disciples of Jesus. And I respect them as such…even though they may not follow the “Nicenen Creed”
Here are a couple of links to describe them, the first even lists many scriptural references for their faith.

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