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Showing posts from December, 2009

Sermon on Luke 2:22-40, for the 1st Sunday after Christmas, "According to Your Word"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. It was a necessary part of our salvation that Jesus keep the entire law from His birth till His death—because it’s by His innocence according to the law that we’re saved. Here at the Temple in Jerusalem, through His parents Mary and Joseph, Jesus is already passively keeping the law as they perform the sacrifices for the consecration of a firstborn son. And as they make these sacrifices, in keeping of the law, they encounter an aged and faithful believer named Simeon. It’s Simeon’s encounter with the baby Jesus in the Gospel that we focus on today. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Joseph and Mary had no idea that the elderly Simeon had waited his whole life for this very day. They had no idea that the obligatory task of going to the temple for purification after childbirth, would be the occasion for Simeon’s majestic prophecy and song about what t…

Sermon on John 1:1-14, Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, "The Light no darkness can Overcome"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. “Jesus Christ is the Light of the world, the light no darkness can overcome. Stay with us, Lord, for it is evening, and the day is almost over. Let Your light scatter the darkness, and illumine Your Church” (LSB 243). These words are the opening responses from the ancient and infrequently used service of Evening Prayer. That service, like our Candelight Service tonight, reflects on how Jesus Christ, the Light of the World drives away the darkness and gives light to men by illumining His Church. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Those ancient responses come in part from John’s telling of the Christmas story, in chapter 1. John wrote: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn. 1:5). When John tells the Christmas story, he refers to the Word that is God and was present at creation. John refers to the True Light comin…

Sermon on Luke 1:39-45, for the 4th Sunday in Advent, "Blessed is she who believed!"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. In today’s reading we have a wonderful example that shows us how we’re spiritual beings already from our conception, even before natural birth. Becoming a spiritual person capable of faith and trust in the Lord is not something that occurs at some undefined point in late childhood, or even in adulthood—but from the very inception of our human life, we were created to be spiritual, believing souls. This passage stresses that faith is above all how we’re blessed by God. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

John the Baptist wasn’t a “late-bloomer” by any stretch of the imagination. He had a commission from God before his birth to be a royal messenger to prepare the way for the Lord. The angel announcing the promise of John’s birth to his father Zechariah, said that John would be “great before the Lord”…and then went on to give the surprising promise that…

Sermon on Isaiah 52:13-53:12, for Wednesday Advent 3, "The Suffering and Glory of God's Servant"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. During the first two Wednesdays in Advent we saw how Jesus is the Messiah foretold by Isaiah the prophet. How Jesus would be the One to sit on King David’s throne forever, and how He would be the Prince of Peace that established an eternal reign of peace, justice, and righteousness. Today we see that the Glory of this coming King wouldn’t come through earthly honors, but by His suffering and death. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

The symbol printed on all of our materials for confirmation class this year is a fitting description of this passage, and indeed the whole picture that the Bible paints of Jesus’ work as our Savior. The symbol is of a person wearing a crown. But rather than sitting on a throne, He is kneeling in service. A Servant-King, just as Jesus knelt to wash the disciples’ feet, though His crown and glory was hidden from their eyes…

Sermon on Isaiah 9:1-7, for Wednesday Advent 2, "The Lord will Install His King Forever"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Last week we looked at the prophecy from Isaiah 7, given to unfaithful King Ahaz who was shaking with fear of his enemies. The prophecy told that God hadn’t abandoned His people, but would defeat their enemies and provide a miraculous sign of His presence among us—the birth of a child from a virgin. This child’s name was to be Immanuel, God with us. Today, we read in Isaiah 9:1-7 of the description of Immanuel’s birth and His eternal reign. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

Where King Ahaz was an unfaithful king who disregarded the Lord and ignored His Word and promises, Isaiah 9 speaks of a coming king who will not only be a faithful and good king, but will in fact be perfect. Yet it speaks of this king as a child! A child who would bear the government on His shoulders. And it’s prophesied that He’ll do remarkable things. This coming king would sh…

Sermon on Zephaniah 3:14-20 & Luke 7:18-28, for the 3rd Sunday in Advent, "Shall We Look for Another?"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Today we come with the disciples of John the Baptist to ask Jesus an urgent question. While John is languishing in prison, facing what will soon be his death, his disciples come to Jesus with the question: “Are you the One who is to come, or shall we look for another?” Were they just seeking confirmation that He was in fact the Messiah, or did they or John have doubts? Was John, captive in chains, wondering what had become of Jesus’ first sermon, where He said He’d come to “proclaim liberty to the captives?” Where was John’s liberty? What was Jesus doing to show He was the “real deal?” Jesus gives us the answer in the gospel reading, and we find confirmation in the Old Testament reading from Zephaniah, that Jesus fits the bill. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

When John’s disciples came to Jesus with this question, they were reporting back to John…

Sermon on Luke 3:1-14 for the 2nd Sunday in Advent, "The Word of God Came"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. As we continue in the season of Advent, we come to John the Baptist, who levels a path in our hearts for the coming of the Lord—whose message was like a refining fire and a fuller’s soap. We turn our attention today to his preaching of the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Please keep both the Old Testament and Gospel readings before you today, as they refer to him. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

What would you do if you had a life-saving message that could spare untold numbers of people? Let’s say you were a scientist and knew in advance of a volcanic eruption that was going to happen in a highly populated area. Or an astronomer who knew of a killer asteroid that was headed toward earth. Who would you tell to get the message out to the most people? You might notify a prominent government official, who could initiate some public…

Sermon on Isaiah 7:1-17, for Wednesday Advent 1, "The Throne of David"

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. During these three weeks of Advent we’ll be looking at three prophecies from the book of Isaiah that point forward to Jesus the Messiah and King. Today we look at the first, from Isaiah 7, the prophecy of Jesus’ virgin birth. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
This Scripture passage is all about faith. It’s about faith in God’s promise to carry out salvation through His Son, the Virgin-born Messiah. It’s about the having the faith to trust in God and His continuing presence and action in our lives, even when circumstances dictate otherwise. It’s one thing to do whatever is in your ability and trust God to provide a way through challenge and difficulty when the way is uncertain. It’s another thing altogether to disbelieve God and try to engineer your own solution to a problem through dishonorable means.

The reading from Isaiah describes just such a s…