Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Advent Mid-Week 3

Advent Mid-Week 3
December 19, 2007
Text: Gal. 4:1-7

Our Advent meditations on the Holy Family continue this week with Jesus, Son of Mary, Son of God.

“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons” (Gal. 4:4-5; ESV).

The Son of God had to become flesh in order to rescue our fallen flesh. He had to become one with sinful humanity, though Himself without sin, in order to rescue us from our sin. He had to be united with us in flesh and blood in order to fulfill God’s holy Law in our place, suffer His wrath in punishment of our sin on the cross, and raise us to new life by the power of His resurrection. The Son of God had to be one of us. So God placed Him in a family, the family of Mary and Joseph, the Holy Family.

This Family is holy, not because of the mother or the foster father, Mary and Joseph, but because of the Son born into it, Jesus of Nazareth. This Child is the Son of the Father, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary. He is not conceived in natural fashion. Joseph is not His biological father. God is His Father, and Mary remains a true virgin in His conception. It is a miracle. The Son of God sanctifies the family of Mary and Joseph, makes it holy, by His conception and birth as Jesus of Nazareth. The family is holy because of Jesus. Wherever Jesus goes, He brings His holiness with Him.

Without Jesus’ holiness, all mankind is lost. You are lost and I am lost. For we are under sin, which is the opposite of holiness. In His holiness, God cannot abide the presence of sin. There is a dividing wall of hostility between the holy God and sinful humanity. So when Jesus comes with His holiness and unites Himself to sinful humanity by taking on flesh, He breaks that dividing wall down (Eph. 2:14). Humanity is sanctified, made holy, because of Jesus. Wherever Jesus goes, He brings His holiness with Him. And in this way, He redeems what He makes holy.

Jesus sanctifies the womb by His conception in holiness. He redeems embryos by becoming and embryo. He redeems fetuses by becoming a fetus. This is what is so tragic about our national sin of abortion and our dreadful denial that embryos and fetuses are human babies. Our Lord came to redeem embryos and fetuses. He made them holy by becoming one with them.

So also Jesus sanctifies all the stages of human life. This, too, is His work of redemption. He redeems newborns by becoming a newborn. He redeems toddlers by becoming a toddler. He redeems pre-teens and teenagers by becoming a pre-teen and then a teenager, at the age of twelve going about His Father’s business in the temple, teaching the religious leaders concerning the Word of God (Luke 2:46-47). He redeems adults by becoming an adult. He redeems and sanctifies you even in your death by dying for you. Our times are in the Lord’s hands (Ps. 31:15). He has redeemed our time and made it holy.

By virtue of His birth into the Holy Family, He gathers our flesh into the Holy Family of the Church. We are now the Holy Family. God is our Father and the Church is our mother. In the Church, we are fed the pure spiritual milk of the Word of God (1 Peter 2:2). We are washed and tended and gathered around the family table for Supper. This all happens, as Paul says, because God has adopted us as His sons. He has adopted us as sons because His Son Christ has put on our flesh and redeemed it with His blood, and we have put on His Son Christ in our Baptism. “And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Gal. 4:6).

Incidentally, the word “son” here is very important. Whether you are a man or a woman, in this case you want to be a son. Because the son is the heir. And notice what happens by virtue of God’s adopting you as son. You are released from your slavery to sin, death, and the devil, and become the co-heir with Christ of all things. “So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God” (v. 7).

This all happens because the Son of God is born of the virgin Mary, born under the Law to redeem those who are under the Law. He becomes flesh to redeem you. The Son of God had to be flesh so that He could redeem you and place you into a Family… His Family. That’s what Christmas is all about. Thus as heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, you enjoy all the rights and privileges that come along with the family Name. You know that Name and you bear that Name. It is the Name given to you in Baptism: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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