Tuesday, December 8, 2009

“Do You See the Need?” (Luke 19:32-34)

S-1149 11/29/09 1SIA/3C (O) #60; (S) #70; L.S.#73; #307; #74; (C) #72

Texts: Jeremiah 33:14-16; 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13; Luke 19:28-40

Theme: “Do You See the Need?” (Luke 19:32-34)

Question: “How observant are you?”


Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! Alleluia! The text for our First Sunday in Advent is the Gospel Lesson: “So those who were sent went away and found it just as He [Jesus] had told them. And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, ‘Why are you untying the colt?’ And they said, ‘The Lord has need of it.’” (Luke 19:32-34).

Introduction: In Nomine IESU

Saints in Christ a terrible car accident took 8 people to the hospital in critical condition. The hospital staff called upon people to come and donate blood to save the lives of those injured. Many came to donate blood.

A neighbor’s house was on fire. As firemen gathered and began to extinguish the fire, they needed help getting as many items out of the house as possible before it all burned to the ground. The call went out for help in the hour of need.

A 3 years old girl wondered into her father’s corn field and was lost. As the family began to look for the 3 years old, they realized they needed to get more help before the night came upon them. The call went out to get as many people to look for her. Neighbors, other family members and even strangers came to the farm. They formed the lines and began to search for the young girl. There was a need.

These three stories show us there was a need—a need to help someone get blood, another to save the precious family heirloom and a young child lost in a corn field. Today the Evangelist Luke tells us in our Gospel reading of Jesus’ need. Jesus has a need for a donkey to aid Him to come into the city of Jerusalem. Why such a need for the Lord of heaven and earth? Why would the One who Created all things have such a need? To fulfill the promises of God and the prophecies of old.

Jesus as the heaven-sent Savior is the promised Messiah. He came as the Son of David who will establish His Throne and Kingdom forever. When Jesus came upon the scene He didn’t come riding on a stallion as a conquering hero; He didn’t come with fanfare parade to show Himself as a King; but rather, He came riding on a donkey as the humble Servant of the Most High God of Israel. He came not to rule but to redeem those who are bound and captives as slaves of satan.

Jesus came on a mission—a mission that His Father sent Him on to earth. That mission is to save the human race from the punishment of sin, the destructive power of satan and the sting of the grave. His mission was the most important mission in the world to save you and me because without His help we would be doomed forever.

Throughout His earthly ministry Jesus clearly saw the needs of the people. In the Gospel of St. Matthew we are given this image that burns in our hearts forever. “When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, He had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Mt. 9:36).

Yes, Jesus looked at the crowd and had compassion on them because He knew they needed Him. He saw their needs and for this reason He sent the disciples to bring the colt so that He may come into the city of peace to help those who were in need. But that city and its leaders would plot to destroy Him by hanging Him on a tree.

In interesting to note what Dr. Luke speaks in the text before us today: “And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. And as He rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. As He was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of His disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, ‘Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’” (Mt. 35-38).

Here they are crying out in praise and adoration to this King—a King that came on a mission to save them and all of mankind. In another Gospel account, we are told the same story however with a different twist. “And the crowds that went before Him and that followed Him were shouting, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!’” (Mt. 21:9).

The people of Jesus’ day cried out for help without knowing it. They cried out to Jesus saying: “Hosanna” which means “Save us now!” And Jesus came for that very purpose to save and deliver and redeem His children from satan’s hold and sin’s death.

Surely they cried out to Him Hosanna, but they had no concept how He would save them. The Parade of that Palm Sunday was a joyful day in the lives of the people of Jerusalem and the disciples but not the religious leaders. These religious leaders even complained to Jesus to quiet the crowd and not let them speak, but He told them, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out” (Lk. 19:40). This cry on the Palm Sunday Parade was like none other. The parade doesn’t lead to giving Jesus the Keys of the city, or to the King’s palace, but rather to the cross of a criminal. Jesus rode into Jerusalem filled with expectations. And He delivered. He delivered by going to the cross to free the people both then and now from an oppression that was far worse than the Roman oppression. The King of Kings delivered His people from sin and death by dying on the cross. He did what the people of His day and ours don’t expect Him to do. For Christ’s death on the cross is not a defeat but victory. Because the very same Christ who died is the Christ that is still arisen from the dead for now and forever! PAUSE.

Beloved in the Lord, Jesus saw the need before Him and He acted upon it. How about us? Do you see the need that is before us? Do you see the multitude who are living but actually dead. They think they are rich but are poor in relationship with God. They think they are going to heaven, but are heading towards to hell.

Oh that we would see the need that Christ has told us about—a need that is found in this place, in this town and in this world. This need is not for material prosperity, peace on earth or social ministry. But to introduce them to the heaven-sent Savior, Jesus Christ who comes to us this Advent Season to remind us again of our need and His mission of mercy on our behalf.

Lift up your eyes and see the state of our nation and the people of this world. Many are concerned with getting more of earthly goods. Why then is Black Friday such a big day? Why do people get up in the wee hours of the morning to stand in line in the cold to buy this item or that, but we can’t get over a 100 souls on a Sunday in God’s house? Why is it that people spend and spend and spend on this gift or that, but we can’t meet the Church’s budget? Isn’t because people don’t see the need? Of course it is.

On this First Day of Advent, Luke exhorts us to hear the Words of Jesus. For He doesn’t speak of a need to take pilgrimages or fasts or to do penance. That’s not what He wants from us. He speaks of the love He has for you and the love He wants you to reflect in your life with those around you. Listen to Him. Do you want to please the King who gives you Himself, life, and salvation? Love and unselfishly serve all those in need. Do you want to bring a smile to the face of the Almighty God? Stoop down to help someone who can’t pay you back. Would you like to do God a favor to show Him your gratitude? Forgive someone who has hurt you and deserves no forgiveness. Are you looking for a way to thank Him for His help and generosity not only in spiritual things but in all that you are and have and hope to be? Give back some of what He has given you by giving to the church and the needy.

Do you see the need? Do you…? Jesus did. And He met that need by coming as a babe of Bethlehem to give His life as a ransom for you and me. Thank God with me today, that He has met our needs through His death and resurrection. Amen.

Now the peace…

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