Reflections: December 13, 2020
The Third Sunday in Advent
By Bradley Drew
And Jesus answered them, "Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me." (Matthew 11:4-6)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Picture the anticipation, the uncontrollable joy and excitement of a child on Christmas morning. Wouldn't it be wonderful if every day was like that for you and me? Never a sorrow. Never a fear. Never a worry. Only sunny skies above and happy days ahead. Sounds like heaven, right? The thing is, God never promised heaven in this life. In fact, "If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied" (1 Corinthians 15:19). A Jesus who promises heaven today is a Jesus you will find offense with today. "Should we look for another?"
No. This is the Jesus the Father has sent you and me. The One in Mary's womb, but soon to be placed in a manger because there's no room for Him in the inn. The One who would be raised in obscurity by a carpenter and his wife. The One who would be ridiculed and rejected by most. The One who would go to the Cross for us to bear our sin and be our Savior. The One who would rise triumphant so He could reign and rule for us so that heaven remains ours forever, now.
This is the promise God washes over you every day in Baptism. "Clothed with Christ." It's the promise He speaks to you in the Absolution and in sermons. "I forgive you." It's the promise made at the Supper. "For you." It's the promise that says, "Yes, God delights in you, now. Yes, He smiles at every thought of you. It's the promise of the Cross. Why, God even has a picture of you on His heavenly refrigerator that makes Him smile every time He passes by it."
That it doesn't always, if ever, look like that in this life, doesn't mean it isn't true. Why, then, so many trials and troubles in this life? There is no greater wisdom for that than Jesus. The true Jesus who promises you forgiveness today, who promises you redemption today, who promises you that no matter what, is with you: washing you, pardoning you, saving you by God's grace. And He's promising you an eternal Christmas on the day He returns for you. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Behold the Lamb of God That bears the world's transgression, Whose sacrifice removes The devil's dread oppression. Behold the Lamb of God, Who takes away our sin, Who for our peace and joy Will full atonement win. ("When All the World Was Cursed" LSB, 346 st. 3)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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