Reflections: The First Sunday in Advent

December 3, 2023

Today’s Reading: Mark 11:1-10

Daily Lectionary: Isaiah 9:8-10:11; 1 Peter 5:1-14

“If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it…” (Mark 11:3)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Today marks the beginning of the season of Advent.  Our journey over the next three weeks will eventually lead us to a manger in the city of David where an angel of the Lord announces, “for you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).  

This little baby’s life journey will take Him to a different city, Jerusalem, where He will accomplish His life’s mission, “you will call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).  We need Advent; I need Advent, the coming of God’s Savior to save us, you and me, from our sins.  Jesus knew why He was sent; His purpose was clear, and He willingly gave up all to be born to save us from our sins.  “The Lord has need of it.”  

This simple phrase marks the life and mission of Jesus, “the Lord has need of it.” What does the Lord need?  A womb to be conceived in, a manger to be born in, a river to be baptized in, a donkey to ride upon, a cross to die on, a tomb to rise from.  Everything must take place, just as the Lord planned, for you, to save you.    

The Lord has need of it. Why?  Because of the simple and plain fact that you and I cannot save ourselves.  We try, don’t we?  We make plans to do better.  We make promises to change our behavior.  When we fail, we can find reasons and excuses to diminish the offense of our sins.  When we have good days we are tempted to think they will somehow cover the bad ones.  Advent reminds us that we cannot save ourselves – no way!  We are imprisoned without any chance of escape. We owe an insurmountable debt that we honestly can never repay.  We need someone to deliver us, to rescue us, to pay the price, to die our death, to bring us back into a loving relationship with God.  

Hosanna, blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna, the cry of those who realize they need someone to save them, and the crowd that lined the road into Jerusalem knew the one riding on a donkey had come to do just that. The Lord has need of it.  

Advent graciously reminds us of our need for a savior, and then proclaims to us the very Savior we need, Jesus.  The Lord has need of it, your sin, your death, His cross, His tomb.  Jesus is the answer to our hosannas, Lord save us, and He does.  After all, that’s why He came in the first place, for you.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Once He came in blessing, all our sins redressing; Came in likeness lowly, Son of God most holy; Bore the cross to save us; Hope and freedom gave us. Amen.  (LSB 333:1)

– Pastor Darrin Sheek is the Senior Pastor of Prince of Peace Lutheran in Anaheim, CA.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Jonathan Lackey is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church, Vine Grove, Ky.

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.