Todd A. Peperkorn, STM
Messiah Lutheran Church
Ad Te Levavi (Advent 1), December 2, 2007
On the Baptism of Kamren Lynn Nicolazzi
For an audio MP3 of this sermon, CLICK HERE
TITLE: “The Way of the Lord”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. Our text for this morning is the Gospel lesson just read, with focus on the words from Zechariah, Behold, your King is coming to you.
Americans don’t generally talk much about kings. It is an old fashioned idea that doesn’t have a lot of use in today’s world. Kings are what you hear about in fairy tales or in faraway lands that are backward and unnecessary. But in our text this morning, our Lord is called the coming king. Like the days beyond our memories and the times of the storybooks, the Scriptures call us to a life and a world that is not our own, a world we cannot see with the naked eye, and where all the things we hold dear seem to take a different shape, a different life in them.
Jesus Christ is the King of Advent, He is the coming one. Jesus is always coming to His people. Unlike the elected officials of today, who are here today and gone tomorrow, Jesus the King comes regardless of our own thoughts and desires of the moment. He comes because He knows your need. He comes because He is your king and your Savior. He comes because He is your God.
By nature we lay in fetters groaning, as the hymn puts it. Sin has had its way with us, and we are bound to Satan and death. You are helpless against this enemy. Satan shows himself in many forms. Oppression. Hunger. Temptation. Sickness. Death. Conflict. He works overtime to make it so that you are constantly at war with those around you, even those whom you love.
Satan will even go so far as to use the most holy of things, the celebration of Christmas, to distract you from our Coming King’s great purpose for you. It may be the bazillion sales of the season that distract, but that is the more obvious and easier to overcome. No, Satan seeks to use the religious trappings of the season to lull you into sleep and forget who this King is who comes. By singing the carols of the season, hearing them on the radio, and generally immersing ourselves in the pop-religious element of the holiday seasons, Christians can easily forget their own king in favor of a usurper, a false king that looks real enough, but who doesn’t have our Lord’s love for you at the center of His life and death and life again.
What do I mean here? What I mean is that as Christians, we must constantly be on guard to keep our Lord’s birth, death and resurrection from the dead tied together. For our Lord’s birth means nothing without His death, and His death means nothing without His resurrection from the dead. You don’t hear a lot about the cross this time of year, but rest assured, it is ever present, even if it is hidden from the eyes of the religious of the world.
This is one of the reasons why for thousands of years the Christian Church has begun her celebration of Advent not with pre-Christmas readings like the Annunciation, but with Jesus entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. Our Lord is coming. He is coming to die for your sins. He is coming to save you from sin, death and the power of the devil. He is coming to save you from yourself, and all of your selfish wants and desires. He is coming as your King to take you home to His holy kingdom.
But just as in our text, our Lord’s coming is draped, it is clothed and hidden so that we can easily miss it without the eyes and ears of faith. This morning our Lord came to little Kamren in Holy Baptism. Through water and the Spirit, Jesus has entered her heart, created faith, and has brought her under His holy kingdom. This is His great and mighty work.
But our Lord’s coming does not stop there. He continues to come to you in Word and Meal, preaching and Sacrament, hymn and proclamation. He comes where you do not expect Him. His coming is lowly and meek, humble, as was His entry into Jerusalem that day on a donkey.
The righteous branch is on the way, dear friends. This Kingly Rose is yours, for He loves you with an everlasting love. His work will not end until all of His children are at home with Him in heaven. And He will not rest until it is so.
It is for this reason that we pray with the people of Jerusalem and the church of all ages: Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Save us now, Lord. Come mightily and save us, Lord. For you also can bring the peace we need. You alone can heal us and give us hope.
So rejoice this day, dearly beloved of the King. Rejoice and receive what He has come to give you even now. Rejoice and believe. Your king is coming, and He is coming to save you. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus to life everlasting. Amen.