Today’s Reading: James 5:7-11
Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 29:15-30:14; Revelation 1:1-20
… behold, the Judge is standing at the door. (James 5:9b)
In the name of Jesus, amen. Yikes!!! This text sounds a little too scary for Advent; but here we are 12 days from Christmas; maybe we “aughta” temper the strong judgey language… Nah…. Instead, let’s dig in a little deeper as to who the judge is and at which door He stands. What else is Advent than the 1st coming of our Lord, the breaking in, the deluge, and the life-giving flood of Jesus’ blood that covers the sins of all the world? The Judge is standing at the door, 12 days now away from breaking down the door, the curtain, the wall, and the chasm that had separated us from God.
Here’s where you’re saying “Wait just a minute, you’re telling me a precious little baby is the Judge!? This precious little child is standing at the door looking to bust it all to pieces and break into the prison of this fallen world, to breathe our poisoned air and dwell with us in our sin, death and filth? C’mon….
That’s precisely what St. James writes: He writes about farmers waiting for the precious fruits of the earth, he writes about waiting for early and late rains, and behold, here in the dark doldrums of winter, the stark bitter coldness, the ever darker days of December we prepare again to celebrate the birth of the Judge, the birth of the Just One, the Justifier. The wait is over, the fields are ripe, into the darkness and dwindling light comes the light of the world, Jesus the Judge. But notice dear saints of God how He comes to you; lowly, a baby, not pounding down the door but instead breaking into a Silent Night; barely a whisper, a murmur or even one in Bethlehem who will notice that the Judge is on earth, past the door, dwelling with us as OUR SAVIOR, come to judge us not by what we have done or failed to do; but to judge us according to what He has done FOR US!
This is His first Advent; the Savior comes meek and mild, lowly, our Judge, our Savior comes as a child. Surely we can see how He is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love? But this Judge Jesus is steadfast in His meekness; this Savior comes willingly to bear your sin, to suffer and die, to bleed His own blood to save you. Yes, the Judge is at the door, but this Judge has come to willingly be judged for you. The Innocent One became your sin, died as the guilty one in your place, and has bestowed to you by simple water and word His own righteousness, innocence and blessedness; yes He’s at the door to tell you today, tomorrow and forever; you’ve been judged already; judged innocent, forgiven for the sake of Christ Jesus. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O Savior, rend the heavens wide; come down, come down with mighty stride; unlock the gates, the doors break down; unbar the way to heaven’s crown. (LSB 355 O Savior, Rend the Heavens wide. St. 1)
-Pastor Adam DeGroot is Pastor of Calvary Lutheran Church in Rio Rancho, New Mexico.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Harrison Goodman.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.