Reflections: Monday of the Third Week of Advent

Today’s Reading: Isaiah 40:1-11

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 29:15-30:14; Revelation 1:1-20

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.  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 40:1-3)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. It was the first week of school at Concordia Nebraska. I was in the commons visiting with the food service manager and I asked, “What’s on the menu?” He said, “Mac and cheese, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, grilled cheese and tomato soup. Comfort food. These incoming freshmen need something to make them feel at home when they are not at home.” 

We all need comfort because we are not at home. We’re here, sinners, in a broken, sinful world. Broken relationships leave us bitter and untrusting. Sinful, lustful thoughts drive us to steal the gifts of the Sixth  Commandment. The world around us sings a siren song of selfishness and life without suffering. 

Sin always has consequences, and when the weight of my sin comes crashing down on me, I expect the worst. My guess is you do the same. That is how this broken world works. You get what you deserve without mercy. But that’s not how our good and gracious God works. 

God’s Word does what it promises. God’s Word is formative. It accomplishes what it says. “Comfort!” Comfort is what it promises. Jesus on the Cross, forgiveness of sins and peace are what it delivers.  

God’s people didn’t do anything to earn or merit God’s favor. Quite the opposite. They chased false gods, and they rebelled against His authority. Completely broken, without any hope, and God gives Jerusalem “double for all her sins.” Not double wrath or punishment. Not double death or eternity in hell times two. Double gift from a tender and forgiving God. He sent us Jesus who died and rose again. He gives us grace and mercy! Forgiveness and peace! Comfort and joy! Our risen Savior gives us the greatest comfort food ever as His Body and Blood are put into our mouths. Take and eat, take and drink for the forgiveness of ALL your sins. 

We are not at home yet. One day soon we will be with the Lord. Sin will be done. Hell will be sealed. Until then, rest in His comfort and promises for you today. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

The gifts Christ freely gives He gives to you and me To be His Church, His bride His chosen, saved and free! Saints blest with these rich gifts Are children who proclaim That they were won by Christ And cling to His strong name. (“The Gifts Christ Freely Gives” LSB 602, st.1)

Rev. Randy Sturzenbecher is pastor of Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church, Black Hawk, SD. He is also the vice president of Higher Things.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch