Sermon for Advent Midweek 1

I thought it would be fun to see how far my digital recorder could go on low batteries.  It turns out, it made it about a quarter of the way through the sermon.

So, no audio.  But here is my combination outline/manuscript.  The sermon is based on the Old Testament reading from this Sunday.  What on earth would make the children of Israel stop talking about how God rescued them from Pharaoh?  Find out after the jump.

Israel – scattered because of various conquerings.

Scattered by Babylonians, Persians, Greeks,

God promises to bring them back.

God promise – as good as done.  Always kept word before, will on this occasion.

Promised Abraham great nation – did, even though Abrqaham was 75 when promise made, and 100 when finally  had son.

Promised to bring them to land of Canaan, did – even after 400 years of slavery

Delivered them from Pharaoh, provided for them in wilderness for 40 years.  Some of harshest desert in world.  Yet gave them manna, meat, water.

Now, land of Israel is threatened from outside, and people are looking to false Gods.  God promises to take care of them, but they are looking to the false gods of surrounding nations to keep them safe.

This only hastens their decline.  Eventually God will have them carried into captivity for their sins.  God will restore them in his time, but they will be even more scattered.  Today, there is popular saying among Jews at Passover, “next year in Jerusalem.”  the goal for all Jews is to go back to the holy land and celebrate their deliverance in Jerusalem – the holy city.  And yet, such hope is vain.  The promise of the promised land is over.  It ended with Christ coming and being the final sacrifice.  You have the holy land, the holy city, and the holy temple, the holy place, and then the holy of holies, the most holy place.  That is where God’s presence is found – the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat.  the place where the blood of the sacrifice is sprinkled to give the people of Israel forgiveness.  But Jesus is the perfect sacrifice.  The animals can’t do it.  They have to be offered year after year after year, a constant stream of blood offered for the sins of the people.  Jesus enters the holy place once for all with his own blood.  he will be the sacrifice that marks the end of sacrifices.

The evangelist John includes a prophecy similar to the Old Testament reading, and it comes from a strange source. “you do not understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.”  He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.

In order to fulfill this prophecy, we are told, “So from that day on they made plans to put him to death.”  Caiaphas, who is planning to kill Jesus, prophecies about Jesus.

Caiaphas – prophecies that Jesus will die, not only for people in Israel, but all people of God that have been scattered  Thought was saying, Jesus death will unify the nation of Israel, and all Jews will return home.  Pretty grandiose plan.

It has not happened, even to this very day.  God doesn’t work according to the things of this world.  And Caiaphas was not saying what he thought he was saying.

Really said, Jesus will die for all those who are descended from Adam, all those whom God created, and the new Israel will not be a nation of borders, but will be gathered into one in Christ, in his Holy church.  That was fulfilled, even though Caiaphas didn’t believe Jesus to be anything more than a rabble rouser who had to be put down.

But Jesus came to die.  He came into the world to be the perfect sacrifice.  To be the one who would take your sins away.  And now, his holy church throughout the world gathers in his name and is joined to him.

Celebrate Advent – so does the church in all world.  Maybe not w/ advent soup suppers and midweek services, as we do, but this Sunday Lutheran Christians in Siberia, in Africa, in South America, Germany, even Torrington who celebrate w/ us, who are united with us in word and sacrament.  Who will hear word of God and taste body and blood at altar.  The Word of God will be proclaimed across this globe.  Many will not hear.  But those who hear, who believe, are given power to become the children of God.  Those who believe on his name are given life to the full in Jesus.  In Jesus we are made one.  Joined to him, joined to each other in him.

And now, all that remains is for us to Wait for final consummation at end of days.  Wait for our Lord’s return, when the old will be taken away, when sin and death and the devil will finally be thrown down, and will be no more, and when we will be in perfect union with our heavenly Father, though his son Jesus Christ, whose coming we await.  Come Lord Jesus, and take us to be with you.



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