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First Sunday in Advent

December 2, 2018 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Advent

Passage: Luke 19:28–19:40

†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Luke 19:28-40
Date: December 2nd, 2018; Advent 1; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
  • Today is the beginning of another church year and it is the beginning of the season of Advent.  
  • The church year has three main parts to it: the time of Christmas; the time of Easter; and, the time of the church.  
  • And within the time of Christmas are three seasons: the time of preparation called Advent; Christmas itself when we celebrate the Word becoming flesh; and, Epiphany when we celebrate the revelation of Christ Jesus to the world.      
  • The Gospel lesson for this First Sunday in Advent is the account of Jesus riding a donkey into Jerusalem – it’s the same Gospel lesson we hear on Palm Sunday.   
  • A good question to ask - is why has the church assigned this reading for today?  
  • This is an account of an event that happened just one week before Easter.  
  • Shouldn't we be reading about this during the time of Easter and not during the time of Christmas?  
  • Well, this account of Jesus humbly making his way into Jerusalem on a donkey helps to provide some context for us as we prepare for Jesus humbly making his way into this world by being born of a Virgin.  
  • It helps us to stay focused on why God took on human flesh.
  • It gives Christmas its true meaning and lasting value.
  • During the season of Advent we hear of the time leading up to Jesus’ birth and we become filled with anticipation for our Lord’s coming into this world.  
  • But first we fast forward from the anticipation of Jesus’ birth - to his entrance into Jerusalem to be the sacrifice for all sinners.  
  • This is why Jesus became man and entered into this world.
  • Not to become a cute baby that fills us with warmth every time we look at a nativity scene.  
  • Not to become a spiritual leader who fills us with wisdom so that we can find the path to happiness.  
  • Not to be an example for us, so that we can learn how to be good and earn our way to heaven.
  • No, our Lord left heaven to be born in of a Virgin so that he could fulfill God’s plan of salvation.  
  • The plan of salvation that God put in place the very moment that we fell into sin.  
  • The plan of salvation that the prophets of the Old Testament proclaimed to generation after generation.   
  • Advent helps us to keep our focus on this Good News.
  • The Son of God had to become the Son of Man in order to save us from our sin.  
  • It is our sin that placed Jesus in the manger just as much as it was our sin that nailed Jesus to the cross.  
  • Mary's miracle pregnancy and Christ's birth were but the beginning steps on the road to that cross. 
  • Today's Gospel is at the other end of that road.  
  • We get a glimpse of the ending before we begin.  We see the Advent theme of anticipation as Jesus enters Jerusalem.    
  • We see the fulfillment of the Advent theme of hope and rescue as God's sacrificial lamb enters the holy city and begins the process of offering himself up as the sacrifice for our sin.  
  • Jesus knows that he is coming to Jerusalem to keep his appointment with the cross.  
  • All of Old Testament history points forward to the events that begin as Jesus comes to Jerusalem to be the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
  • And as we prepare ourselves for the coming of our Saviour during this Advent season - we remember that Jesus still comes to us today.  
  • The historical events of Jesus birth, perfect life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the grave, is not simply something that happened in the past that we now read about and find interesting.  
  • No, through that historical event God forgives our sins and promises us eternal life.  He continues to act in history, in our lives today.  
  • Just as the King Jesus entered Jerusalem humbly and lowly on a borrowed donkey - so he comes to us today in the lowly and humble ways of his Word and Sacraments in his Church.
  • Reading, hearing, learning God’s Word might not look like much - but through it our faith is kindled and strengthened.  Through God’s Word we are made wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 3:15).
  • He comes to us in the humble waters of our Baptism. 
  • He comes to us through the bread and wine of Holy Communion, through which he gives to us his true body and true blood.
  • He comes to us in the words of forgiveness spoken through the pastor in Holy Absolution.
  • In such humble and lowly means - his Word, water, bread and wine, a poor miserable sinner standing before you speaking his words of forgiveness - God delivers to us all that Christ Jesus accomplished for the world.
  • Through these means of grace we are led to faithfully confess, “The Lord is our righteousness” (Jeremiah 33:16).
  • Through these means of grace, the Lord makes us increase and abound in love for one another and he establishes our hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father.
  • As we contemplate, and anticipate, the coming of our Lord by being born of a Virgin, we know that he continues to come to us today.  
  • We know that he is present, working in our lives.   
  • He comes into our lives today and gives us peace in the midst of chaos.  He gives us hope in the midst of our despair.  He gives us comfort in the midst of turmoil.
  • This Advent season we focus on our Lord who was born in Bethlehem to later die on a cross to save the world.
  • This is what our Lord’s coming into this world is all about.  
  • God has fulfilled the promise he made to the house of Israel and the house of Judah, he has fulfilled the promise that he has made to you. Thanks be to God!  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

More in Advent

December 16, 2018

Third Sunday in Advent

December 12, 2018

Midweek Advent 2

December 9, 2018

Second Sunday in Advent