Reflections: January 3, 2021
The Second Sunday after Christmas
By Bradley Drew
This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, "Out of Egypt I called my son." (Matthew 2:15)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. We know that God called Israel of old out of Egypt. Is He having Himself, then, a new Israel here in Jesus? He is. Are we to find our identities before God then, not in ourselves, but in Jesus? Yes. For we have all been promised a new us before God, a new identity, in Jesus. As the angel announces every Christmas, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people" (Luke 2:10).
That's certainly good news for Israel of old. For they never could get it right. But are we any better? No. We, too, are a sinful bunch. As soon as God has delivered us from one trouble, we wonder why He has allowed another. As soon as God has given us some blessing, we wonder why He hasn't followed it up with more. Does God love us, or not? That's not on God. It just shows the idolatry in our own hearts and how we'd rather worship creation and not the Creator.
God's response? Great joy for all. For rather than deal with us on our terms, God sends His only begotten Son and promises us a new righteousness, a new identity before Him. Jesus. This Israel will get it right. Never once will Jesus fall into idolatry. Never once will Jesus fall into sin. This new Israel will keep every righteous requirement of the Law perfectly. And Jesus will do it for you. His death upon the Cross promises that. For Jesus does not die for any sins of His own. He dies for our sins. For all of our sins.
His righteousness? That's promised you now every day in Baptism. It's spoken to you in all of the Absolution and sermons you hear in church. It's given to you with Jesus' own Body and Blood at Holy Communion, "for you, for the forgiveness of sins."A new identity for all is great joy for all.
Merry Christmas, friend, whoever you are. God doesn't deal with you by looking at you, but by looking at Jesus. And if that's where God finds your identity now before Him, then you need not be afraid. You are loved. You are redeemed. You are holy in God's sight. Wherever Jesus ends up, that's where you will end up, too. Great joy to all! In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
Almighty God, You have poured into our hearts the true Light of Your incarnate Word. Grant that this Light may shine forth in our lives; through the same Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Second Sunday after Christmas)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is the pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
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