Reflections: December 24, 2020
By Bradley Drew
Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: "Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test."(Isaiah 7:10-11)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. The LORD tells Ahaz to ask anything of Him, to put Him to the test. Ahaz's response? "I will not put the LORD to the test!" Talk about putting the LORD to the test, right?
Lest we miss the joy of Christmas, we should learn to see ourselves in Ahab. It's what we do every Sunday when we confess we "ever offend God"and "justly deserve His temporal and eternal punishment."What is that but to confess we, too, always put God to the test? That we, too, like Ahab, constantly weary God with sin?
God's response? God promises to send a Son into our flesh to bear our sin and be our Savior. His Son, born of the Virgin, will carry all our sin, even Ahab's, to the Cross for us. By His death there, Jesus will forever erase all sin with His blood. God loves Ahab that much. He loves you that much, too.
While it is Isaiah's lips that are moving, it is the LORD who is speaking. That's how the LORD speaks to us--through the Office of the Holy Ministry. And what a word it is that He speaks: "Therefore, the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and hear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel" (Isaiah 7:14).
"God with us." It's what the name "Immanuel" means. It's the promise that God is not going to abandon Ahab, or you, or anyone else, to their sin. The Father is going to abandon Jesus to sin when Jesus suffers and dies for us upon the Cross.
And while it is the pastor's lips that are moving while Baptism is being administered, as the Absolution and sermon are being spoken, and as the Supper is being served, it is the LORD Himself who is talking. And what a word He is saying to you. He will not abandon you to all, or to any, of your sin. That's what the gift of Jesus is for. For you. God will stay with you. God will never let you go. That's the promise of Christmas. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, You make us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Grant that as we joyfully receive Him as our Redeemer, we may with sure confidence behold Him when He comes to be our Judge; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.(Collect for Christmas Eve).
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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