Thursday, January 8, 2015

“An Advent Prayer” (Mark 11:9-10)

S-1458 1SIA/3B 11/30/2014 Hymns: (O) #568; (S) #574; L.S. #401; 535; 306; (C) # 36

Texts: Isaiah 64:1-91 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 11:1-10

Theme: “An Advent Prayer” (Mark 11:9-10)

Question: “What have you prayed for today?”

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. The text for 1st Sunday in Advent is from the Gospel Lesson: “And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” (Mark 11:9-10).

Children of the heavenly Father, SIN; that 3 letters word has brought much evil and chaos into our world. Ever since that fateful day in the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve fell prey to the devil schemes, sin brought sorrow and suffering, despair and death, darkness and doom. And from that day forward, the people of God have been plagued by this deadly disease and been praying to Him for deliverance and mercy.

Adam and Eve prayed as they were driven out of the presence of God. The Israelites prayed to the Lord while in Egypt seeking Him to deliver them from the bondage of slavery. Hanna prayed to the Lord to fill her womb with child. David cried out to the Lord for deliverance from Saul. Naomi prayed to the Lord to remove the bitterness away from her. Daniel cried to the Lord while in the lions’ den. Those in captivity in Babylon prayed to the Lord to deliver them and return them to their homes in the Promised Land.

Throughout all of history we hear the people of God crying out to Him to intervene in their lives.

We hear of their pain and anguish. We have seen their tears. We have heard their cries. David summed it up well when he said: How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?” (Ps. 13:1). PAUSE.

Today on this first Sunday in Advent we hear again the prayer of God’s of people. As the Rabi from Nazareth is making His entrance into city of peace, we hear them shout. “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” These people had been waiting for centuries. They have heard the promises of God. Promises such as: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” (Gen. 3:15), [A…‘Star’ that would ‘come out of Jacob’ and a ‘sceptre’ that would ‘rise out of Israel’ (Numbers 24:17). “The Lord Your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to Him you shall listen.” Deut. (18:15), “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” (Is. 7:14), “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for Me One who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days” (Micah 5:2).

These people have waited and waited for the Messiah to come and now as He enters their world they cry out in prayer. Their prayer is like the prayers of the people of old for deliverance and intervention. They have been waiting in hope and anticipation to the heaven-sent Savior, Immanuel, “God with us.” Jesus is the long expected Messiah. Jesus is the long expected deliverer. Jesus is the long expected Champion, Warrior and Defender who will get them out of the bind they are in. PAUSE.

It is not only the people of old who cry out to God in prayer, but we, His people and His followers today, cry to Him in the hour of need. We pray for deliverance and intervention. We cry out with deep sighs as well. How many times have we gone to sleep with tears in our eyes and pain in our hearts? How many times have we called upon Him not to forsake us? How many times have we lifted our voices to Him to deliver us from the anguish and affliction that visits us daily?

Advent people are people who pray to God. We pray in the hour of trouble and hardship. We pray in the hour of sorrow and suffering. We pray in time of death and pain. We pray for deliverance from the persecution that afflicts us. We pray for our young people who are confirmed but don’t come to His house. We pray for those who stay away. We pray because we know He—the Incarnate One, Jesus Christ, hears our prayers and comes to our aid and rescue.

But sadly some of us don’t pray. We don’t pray for those who don’t know Him. We don’t pray to be used to spread the Gospel to all the world. We don’t pray to be used by God for His good and brining His kingdom. At times we don’t invite anyone to His house to hear His Word or care at missed opportunity. This ought not to be my brothers. PAUSE.

However, just like the people in the text called upon the Rabi from Nazareth, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! ”So do we; knowing that our prayers ascend to the Throne of Grace in the name and for the sake Jesus. For Jesus said in John, Whatever you ask in My name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (John 14:13).

Advent people are people who pray to God in expectant hope. Jesus teaches us about the life of God’s people as they go to Him in prayer. For, even He, in another Garden, cried out to His heavenly Father for deliverance from that which lies before Him. What was before Him? God’s wrath to be unleashed! God forsaking Him! God sending Him to the cross for the sins of the world—yours and mine!

As He faced the hour for which He came to earth, He knelt and prayed saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done” (Luke. 22:42). He prayed for strength and support. He prayed because He knew death was coming and was still willing to go to that cursed tree to fulfill every promise ever made. He was willing to be scorned and put to shame so that salvation might be procured and given to all people everywhere. He endured all of the hatred, animosity and even death for you and me. PAUSE.

Beloved in the Lord, is your prayer life the best it can be? If it isn’t, then don’t go out and buy another book on “how to pray.” Instead listen to God as He shares with you His promises in His Word to be Your God and Savior. Learn of His promise that He has given you His only Son, to die and rise for you. Listen to His Word shared from this pulpit and know that your sins are forgiven. Receive His Word given at this altar to strengthen you and nurture you in the faith. Come often to His house and learn all you can about what He has done for you and continues to do for you.

Time is of the essence. As Advent people we continue to pray as the people of old did. Because we know that God our Savior hears and answers our prayers! He answers them in accordance to with His will and at His time. As Advent people we pray often to be delivered from temptation, from trials and tribulations. But we also pray for the triumph we have as God’s baptized and forgiven saints.

You know what else we pray for? We pray for His Kingdom to come upon us. Today you saw firsthand the kingdom coming as Callie Brown (adult 21 years old) became a child of God. Therefore, we say thank You Lord and God for Your people who during Advent know the certainty of answered prayers that You have come.

The people that stood in the streets of Jerusalem cried out: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! ” So, too, we cry out “Hossan!” Save us now. And the good news He has. He has come to Bethlehem’s manger, to Calvary’s cross and through the empty tomb; ascended into heaven and is coming again to take you to be with Him forever. And thus, the Advent people of God say: “Amen and Amen!”

Now the peace…


No comments: