Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sermon for 11/29/15: First Sunday in Advent

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Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen. 

He wasn’t waving to the crowds from an expensive sports car. He wasn’t riding on a fancy parade float. He wasn’t dressed in a fancy tuxedo with a sash to proclaim Him the homecoming King. Jesus is the King—the great King of kings and Lord of lords, worthy of a glorious parade to surpass the wonder of Caesar riding victorious into Rome. But He rode into Jerusalem on a donkey. The power of God is hidden in the weakness of human flesh. He has come to Jerusalem as the priceless Ransom to purchase sinners with His blood. He has come to be enthroned on the cross. He has come to die.

He comes with power, but He is known in weakness. He is the Lord of Life, but chiefly we celebrate His death. He came before; He will come again. Though His triumphant entry into Jerusalem was made in humility, in the fullness of time He will come in glory. Every knee will bow; every tongue will confess, “Jesus is Lord.” Both the good and the evil will know and confess the truth—the good to their everlasting joy, and the evil to their everlasting despair and shame. All of creation will know what the angels already know. The dogs, trees, rocks, and birds will see your faith, your burning lamp of hope. The world will see the sons of God as the sons of God; they will see you in whom God is well-pleased. Jesus will come in glory; the Kingdom of power will be known. It will be seen in you. This is why we pray: “Stir up your power, O Lord, and come to rescue us from the threatening perils of our sins, and save us by Your promised deliverance.”

Jesus comes already now. He comes in power hidden in weakness. It is not the power of might and strength as the world counts such things. It is the power of love, of deliverance and protection. It is the power of sacrifice. This grace has made Him your Lord. He rules in you through forgiveness. He comes in humble things, things that you might look upon Him and not be destroyed. God has a face. By faith you gaze upon the face of the Child born of Mary, the face of a Man. And though He was despised and rejected, He is beautiful to you. He is wonderful. Though He comes in weakness, He is mighty. His feet, pierced and scarred, are most beautiful, for He brings Good News from God. He has reconciled you to His Father. He has opened heaven. He fulfills His promise. He keeps His Word. He is your God, and you, by grace, are His people, His beloved Bride.

He comes now in power. He is not some random god far off. He is our present, promise-making, promise-keeping God. He knows no borders or limits. He abides in the flesh of a mortal Man made immortal, raised and exalted. A Man sits at the right hand of God and rules the Universe. He is God and Man, and through Him, man is welcome in heaven. He is in heaven, but He is also here. He is hidden from the world and yet present—hidden in the water, hidden under bread and wine, hidden in the voice of His messengers, but present and powerful. He is seen by faith, and He reveals Himself to you in His Word and holy gifts. The Kingdom of heaven, the Kingdom of power, glory, and grace, is within you.

This is a strange parade, not at all what one would expect of a procession to honor the God who dwells among His people. That eternal parade of well-deserved glory will come in due time, at a time which only the Father knows. As we wait for that day, Jesus continues to come among us. He continues to come to you humbly, hidden, but no less powerful—for in those humble ways, He comes to save you. We continue to pray, “Stir up Your power, O Lord, and come.” Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly. In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always.  Amen.

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