Cruce Tectum

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

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Behold, Your King is Coming to You

Pastor’s Window for December 2008

“Behold, Your King is Coming to You”

Beloved in the Lord,

“Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he.” So prophesied Zechariah (9:9b; ESV). We sing these words in the Introit for the First Sunday in Advent. How appropriate it is that these words are placed upon our lips on that Sunday, for this verse is what Advent is all about. As you may know, the word “advent” means coming. In Advent, we meditate on our Lord’s coming to us as God in the flesh to be our Savior, on His continual coming to us in His gifts of Word and Sacrament, and on His coming again in glory on the Last Day to judge the living and the dead.

As we meditate on each of these ways our Lord Jesus comes to us, this verse is key: “Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he.” There are four key words in this text: “king,” “coming,” “righteous” and “salvation.”

Jesus is our King. His coronation took place in His innocent, bitter sufferings and death, when He was dressed in royal purple and crowned with thorns, led to the place of crucifixion and lifted up on the throne of the cross. There He died for the sins of all people, for you and for me. But in so doing He bought us as His own, to be His beloved subjects and heirs of His Kingdom. And Christ is risen. Death could not hold Him. The King has conquered His enemies. He has crushed the serpent’s head. Sin no longer has any power. Death is dead. So our King has ascended to the very throne of God where He rules His Church, rules all things in fact, rules them for the good of His Christians.

Our King Jesus comes to us, as we saw, in three ways. He came as our Savior and He continues to come to us in His Word and in the Sacraments. And it is because He came as our Savior and, in love, shed His blood for us, for our forgiveness and life, and because He continues to come to us with His gifts in the Word and Sacraments, giving us the all the benefits of His sin atoning work… it is because of all this that we do not need to fear His coming again as Judge. For as Zechariah says, our King comes to us with righteousness and salvation.

That He comes to us with righteousness means that He comes to give us His righteousness. We have no righteousness of our own. We are sinners. What kind of reception should a convicted murderer expect before the King? That convicted murderer should expect nothing from the King but condemnation, an order of execution. But King Jesus does not do what is expected. He comes to us convicted murderers, thieves, adulterers, gossips, rogues… He comes in His perfect righteousness, and He strips us of our guilt, takes it all upon Himself, and gives us instead His righteousness as a gift. That’s justification!

Our King also comes with salvation. He saves us from condemnation. He still gives the order of execution, to be sure. He is holy, and cannot leave sin unpunished. But the order is that the King will die in place of the scoundrel. The scoundrel will not die, but live as a king. This is what Jesus does for you. He suffers all hell, the hell that you deserve on the cross. And then He dies for you. He takes your condemnation upon Himself, and in exchange gives you eternal life. Christ, our King, is risen from the dead and continues to reign, and He will come again as Judge on the Last Day. But because He has first come to you with His righteousness and salvation and given these to you freely, as a gift, you don’t have to fear His Judgment. On Judgment Day, He will judge you righteous, because that is what He has made you with His righteousness. On that Day your salvation will be revealed.

Repentance is certainly a component of the Advent season. We should repent of our sin as we prepare for the coming of the Lord. But Advent is also a season for rejoicing. For our King does come to us. He comes with His righteousness and salvation. And there can be no better preparation for Christmas than to receive these gifts with joy.

Pastor Krenz

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