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 03, 2008

Advent Midweek I

Advent Midweek I
December 3, 2008
Text: Is. 9:6-7

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as you have heard from me many times this week, the word Advent means coming, and this Advent season we meditate upon the coming of our Lord Jesus to us in three different ways: First, His coming to us as the Babe of Bethlehem, to be our Savior from sin, death, and hell; second, His coming again to judge the living and the dead; and third, His continual coming to us in this “time between the comings” in His Holy Word and Sacraments.

Tonight the Prophet Isaiah proclaims to us the good news that God has come in the flesh to be our Savior. Unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given. That is to say that God has observed our wretched state, that we are wholly lost in sin, that there is no one who does good, no, not even one, that no one is righteous, no one understands, no one seeks God, that we have all turned aside after other gods, gods of our own making. God has observed our wretched state and in love, broken into our world, taken upon Himself our flesh in the incarnation of His only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. God has made good on His promise that He would send the Seed of the woman to crush the serpent’s head. The Son of God becomes the Son of Mary, God becomes one with man. And this so that He could save man. This so that He could suffer and die as the sacrificial Lamb of God for the sins of the whole world. The little baby in the Bethlehem manger would grow up to die for your sin and mine on Calvary’s cross.

He is a King, this Jesus, King of the universe, in fact. The very government is upon His shoulder, which is to say even at birth, even as He lay in the manger, the baby Jesus has all the authority of God, for He is God. Though in His state of humiliation He may not always or fully use His divine power, do not be deceived. He rules all things, and this for the benefit of His people. And it is a great mystery, but this King of the universe, of all things, visible and invisible, rules in this way: He submits Himself to His sinful subjects, submits Himself to death on the cross. In fact, the cross is His coronation, crowned with thorns, robed in purple, worshiped in mockery, a reed for a scepter with which He is beaten and bruised, lifted up on the throne of the cross for all the world to see. But in this way He does rule. In this way He purchases us to be His subjects. He pays the punishment for our sin and so also defeats death and Satan. These no longer have a claim on us. He is risen and lives and reigns to all eternity. So we are made His own, to live under Him in His Kingdom, and to serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. Those of whom Jesus has taken possession, wholly by grace, live lives of thanksgiving and praise.

God has given our Lord Jesus Christ the Name that is above every name. His Name shall be called “Wonderful.” Despite the lack of a comma between “Wonderful” and “Counselor” in the ESV, these are really two different ascriptions. He is called Wonderful, which is to say His coming and His salvation are full of wonder, miraculous. He is called Counselor, which is to say He counsels us with His holy Word and guides and directs all things for our benefit. He is called Mighty God, for there is no God other than the God revealed in Jesus Christ. There is no God but the Triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and it is God the Son who took on flesh in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. This is the very mystery of Christmas. He is called the Everlasting Father… not God the Father, but Father in the sense that He cares for us and loves us as a father loves his children, even more so, for He loves us with an everlasting love, from all eternity. And so He is also called the Prince of Peace. For He has made peace with God for us who were eternally separated from God by sin. He made peace for us on His cross.

Of this King’s government and of this King’s peace there is no end. This is the Son of David come to sit on the throne of His royal father. He is the fulfillment of the promise that David would never fail to have a descendent sit on the throne of Israel. And you are Israel, beloved… the Church of God. For you are all sons of Abraham by faith. You have been grafted into the Kingdom, made members of the family of God. You have been baptized, God’s own children. Notice what marks this Kingdom into which you have been grafted. Isaiah says the Kingdom of this King is marked by justice and righteousness. This is justification language. In this world we hunger and thirst for justice and righteousness, and are never satisfied, for fallen man has no inherent justice or righteousness. But our King, Jesus, gives us His justice, and His righteousness. He suffers the just punishment for our sin on the cross and gives us the just reward for His righteousness, eternal life. In fact, He gives us His very righteousness. He does this without any merit or worthiness in us. The righteousness is all His, given as a gift. He does all the work. It is the zeal of the LORD of hosts that accomplishes this. And it is ours forever.

To us a Child is born. To us a Son is given. It is the Christmas gift of God wrapped in the flesh of the Christ Child. God comes in the flesh, our flesh. Great is His Advent. The Church from the time of Adam and Eve has prayed, “Come, Lord Jesus.” God has heard the cries of His people, and sent His Son. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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