The Third Sunday in Advent
December 13, 2015
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Last week we heard the word of the Prophet Malachi, “And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his Temple; the Messenger of the Covenant in whom you delight, behold He is coming” (Malachi 3:1). This week we listen to the question of the Prophet John the Baptizer, “Are you the one who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Luke 7:20). John the Baptist is the messenger preparing the way of the LORD. “Repent for the Kingdom is at hand. Jesus the Messiah is the Messenger of the Covenant. “Repent and believe.”
The role of the prophet was one of attentiveness to God’s actions in the life of His people. The duty of the Seer was to see the vision of the Christ and make the revelation known. The prophet looks, watches, and searches. He hears and listens to God’s Word and then preaches and teaches God’s Word. The prophets were God’s messengers. The message of the coming Messiah was proclaimed by the prophets of old. He would purify the sons of Levi. He would dwell in the midst of His people. The promise of the appearance of the King of Israel was foretold. He would come from the sons of Judah. He would extend His Kingdom to all nations.
John was sent by God to seek the One upon whom the Holy Spirit descended in the form of a dove. John was instructed by God to be the voice crying out in the wilderness. Suddenly, Christ appeared. “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” The disciples of John were now set on Jesus. As their eyes are set on Jesus, our ears are extended to hear Jesus. Jesus declares, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard, the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me.”” (Luke 7:22–23). The role of the disciples is one of attentiveness to God’s actions in the life of His people. The disciple, sees and hears. He observes and heeds. The disciple set his eyes on the miracles and lifts up his ears to the message. The disciple looks at the sacraments and listens to the word.
The Season of Advent is a time of preparation. The Day of Inspection is at hand. Listen to God’s Word spoken to you God’s people, “At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps, and I will punish the men who are complacent, those who say in their hearts, ‘The LORD will not do good, nor will he do ill.” (Zephaniah 1:12). “Repent and believe.” On the Last day, all that is part of this corrupted creation will be wiped off of the face of the earth. It is a day of wrath, a day of darkness, a day of burning anger, and a day of the trumpet blast and battle cry against the earthly kingdoms of darkness. Silver and gold will be unable to deliver on the Day of the LORD. Woe to those who are defiled and dead in their sin. Without Christ as your Savior it is you and your sin against God. Without Christ as your King it is you and your kingdom against God’s Kingdom. “Repent from you sin and believe in your Savior.”
Ever since the beginning of time, there have been those who refuse to see and believe. They do not seek the LORD. Such people do not want to look and listen. They do not desire His Word. They sing about the sinfulness. The songs of the world are about sin. The words are filled with ragging and boasting in their iniquity. Their jingles are about rejoicing in their rebellion. These are the songs that the world teaches us to sing. It is in our human nature to declare war on God and set up our own little kingdom. In our realms we establish our reign. It is in our DNA to fight against the Creator and hide behind our own sinful freedom. In our independence we pretend there is no pain.
Let us not be fooled. Where there is sin, there is suffering, there is sorrow, and there is sadness. The message of all of the Prophets of old was given to us in order to make us wise. The Holy Spirit is teaching us a new song in which we boast in Christ. Seek the LORD and live. He is the Deliverer from whom true liberty rings. Seek the Light in the darkness. He is the Sun of Righteousness with true healing in His wings. Blessed are those who do not turn back to folly but live in Wisdom. Christ is God’s Wisdom with us. Blessed are those who hear the Word of Peace. Christ is the Prince of Peace for us. Blessed are those who take refuge in Christ. He is the King in our midst.
Where Christ is present in the midst of His people, there is restoring, there is repairing, there is rejoicing. “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4:4). The Holy Spirit is placing a new song upon our lips. “Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!”
What is our cause for rejoicing? The LORD has taken away the judgments against you. Christ is the Lamb that carries our sin. He has cleared away your enemies. Do not fear death or the devil. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst. He is in our midst today coming to us in bread and body. Our King comes to us in wine and blood. In Him, you shall never again fear evil. He delivers us from the evil one.
What is the reason for the Advent season? In Christ, God will rejoice over you with gladness. He will quiet you by his love. He will exult over you with loud singing. God’s joy is the source of our joy. On the Day of the LORD He removes the things that do not belong in His Kingdom. He is casting out spiritual darkness. He is expelling the enemies who try to prevent His kingdom from coming through false doctrine and false liturgy. Christ is eliminating physical sadness from pain and sorrow, from sickness and illness, and from diseases and death.
In the days of John the Baptists He removed the things that do not belong to His Kingdom. He threw out the false teachers and spiritual oppressors and replaced them with the Apostles and their successors. He removed the physical and spiritual things that do not belong to His Kingdom. He eliminated blindness, paralysis, and deafness. He started with the physical and moved toward the spiritual in which He bestowed the grace, mercy, and the forgiveness of sins. In our day He is starting with the spiritual and working toward the physical. He removes transgression, sinful expression, and immoral obsession. We hear it now. We will see it in the resurrection of our bodies on the Last Day. On that day, there will be no more pain, sorrow, or sadness.
On this day, we see it in His resurrected body given to us to eat. We are beginning to look and listen as we receive His Sacraments and Words. We are starting to see and hear as we sing and rejoice. He is the Lord whom we seek. He is the Messenger of the Covenant in whom we delight. On the Last Day, we will see and hear the resurrected LORD with our own resurrected eyes and ears. Until then, He continues to heal our hearing and correct our sight with His Word and sacraments. Amen.
Rev. Brian L. Kachelmeier
Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church
Los Alamos, NM