Reflections: December 14, 2020
Monday of the Third Week of Advent
by Bradley Drew
Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. (Isaiah 40:2)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. I was thrilled when my parents decided to retire to Telluride, CO. I love the mountains. The peaks, valleys, winding, twisting roads. The rugged terrain. What fun! Of course, mountains can also be hard work to navigate. In fact, at such elevations it's hard work sometimes just trying to catch your breath. When it comes to navigating God? Isaiah says, "Breathe," as he cries out the promise of the Gospel: "Her warfare has ended." However mountainous your sin, however deep the depravity you've fallen into, God's got double forgiveness in Jesus to cover and fill it all. In Jesus, for you, all the twisting, winding roads have been made straight and all the rugged terrain made smooth. Heaven and earth may pass away, but never that word, never that promise.
God is sending His own Son to carry whatever sin would chase God's smile from you. Whatever would cause God's anger to burn against you, Jesus will take for and from you forever when He goes to the cross to suffer and die for you. Though your righteousness withers and fades, "the word of our God will stand forever" (Isaiah 40:8). Jesus, God's righteousness, will never stop being your righteousness, too. "Fear not" (Isaiah 40:9).
No more putting sin away or doing good works as if they were artillery aimed at toppling God. No saying prayers in the hopes of conquering God or giving your heart to Jesus in order to capture God. That warfare is over. "'Comfort, comfort my people,' says your God" (Isaiah 40:1). By sending Jesus for us, God has declared "peace on earth" and "good will" toward all. Even you, the reader of these words.
By all means, say your prayers. Work at putting sin away and doing good deeds. Just don't do all or any of that as warfare with God, because that warfare is over. Ended for you by Jesus. That's His promise to you every day in His Word, in His water, and at His Supper. God is carrying you. God is holding on to you. Breathe. You're not fighting anymore. You're not even navigating impossible heights anymore. You're just living now as God's rescued child. Living in the joy and gladness of Jesus, His promised salvation. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
"Comfort, comfort ye My people, Speak ye peace," thus saith our God; "Comfort those who sit in darkness, Mourning 'neath their sorrows' load. Speak ye to Jerusalem Of the peace that waits for them; Tell her that her sins I cover And her warfare now is over." ("Comfort, Comfort Ye My People" LSB 347, st.1)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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