S-1459 1MIA/3B 12/03/2014 Hymns: (O) #55; (S) #61; (C) # 66
Texts: Psalm 96:1-13; Isaiah 6:1-7; Matthew 13:10-17
Theme: “Humbled Servants” (Mark 11:9-10)
Question: “Is being humble easy for you?” 1st in sermon series on: “Humility in the Holy Land”
Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia. The text for 1st Midweek in Advent is from the Gospel Lesson: [Jesus said] “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” (Matthew 13:16-17).
A very blessed Advent celebration to you dear children of the heavenly Father! Tonight we call upon the Holy Spirit to help us reflect, meditate and celebrate the story of our salvation that is revealed in God’s holy Word—which is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path (Ps. 119:105) By the grace of God we have been brought here together through the working of the Holy Spirit under the Theme, “Humility in the Holy Land.”
Yet, with the joyful expectation of celebrating the birth of the Savior, Jesus Christ in Bethlehem’s manger, there are many who despise this holy and blessed season. I would be a very rich man if I got a penny for every time I heard someone say: “I wish Christmas was over!” It saddens and pains me to hear on the 26th of December people saying, “Thank God Christmas is over!” Really! Can Christmas be over for us Christians?
Perhaps because we put such great emphases on buying, decorating, shopping and preparing for the celebration that we lose focus of what it is about? The more people consider all that they need to do, they don’t value this special time. Rather than slowing down and thinking about the Gift that keeps on giving, we speed up and highlight the latest gadget and glitter.
But thank God it wasn’t always the case. Study Scripture and you will hear of prophet after prophet proclaiming, preaching and professing the long expected Messiah. These humble servants went about teaching the young and old of God’s promises. They stood in the public square and told of the coming Savior. They shouted from the mountaintop the truth that God is the Deliverer from sin and death. They declared to the world throughout all generations the blessed hope.
Some of these humble servants spoke of God’s good news. They spoke of the forgiveness of sins to troubled hearts and guilty consciousness. They spoke of the coming virgin’s Son. They spoke of the Lamb going silently to be slaughtered. They spoke of the mighty power of the resurrection and those who believe in Him would see God face to face. They spoke of Him coming humbly riding on a colt. They spoke of His grace in providing for the widows and the orphans. They spoke of the One on whom all sins were laid and by whom all sins were paid.
These humble servants like Job, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Elijah, Elisha, Daniel, Jonah and others became hoarse with shouting the blessed good news for all the world to hear. These humble servants spoke this great message even and in spite of being threatened with death. But they were faithful and humble servants. PAUSE.
St. Peter spoke about these humble servants with these words: “Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look” (1 Peter 1:10-13).
Peter is telling us during this Advent Season, that these humble servants longed to see the coming of Him promised of old. Even the angels wanted to see Him come so that the earth and all its inhabitant would be delivered from the curse in the Garden of Eden.
My beloved brothers in Christ; Jesus Himself in the text highlights this fact. He states: “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it” Yes, we are the blessed ones who are able to see and hear with eyes and ears of faith of the coming One.
Advent helps us see the great works of these humble servants who spoke the truth in love to all people. And you and I can do no less than to carry the torch of the Good News. In a similar way, we become the humble servants. We preach, we teach, we confess and we tell the truth that Christ is our Savior. We continue to point others to the Humble Servant, Christ Jesus Himself who came as a lowly Servant to redeem mankind from the curse of sin. But we don’t assume this mantle by our own choice or effort.
By the grace of God we have been called in the waters of Baptism, fed on His Word, nurtured through His life-giving meal of love at His table. Daily, weekly, monthly and yearly we read, study and learn the value of the coming of the Humble Servant to Bethlehem’s manger. And when we hear, read and learn about what He accomplished for us in His coming, in His perfect life and in His death on Calvary’s cross, we can’t help but be thankful and become the humble servants to the next generation. PAUSE.
Jesus, the Gift of heaven to you, taught His disciples these Words in His high-priestly prayer saying: “My prayer is not for them alone [disciples]. I pray also for those [you sitting in the pews] who will believe in Me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I Am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me” (John 17:20-21).
What a glorious prayer this is. It is an amazing thing to know that Jesus, on the night He was betrayed, thought to pray for us! So often, we read the words of John 17 and study them as a prayer for His apostles in the upper room. But if we look closely at this passage, we also see that Jesus prays for us, those who believe on Him because of the apostles’ testimony. He wants us to be one! He wants us to live with the same unity, purpose, and character of God that He did. If we do not, then how will the people of the world know that God sent His Son? How will they know what to believe? How will they know that Jesus is their Savior and the way to heaven?
Beloved in the Lord, we are indeed blessed because of the many humble servants who preached, professed and proclaimed to us that salvation is found in no one else except in Jesus Christ. By the mighty power of Christ our Savior, through His mighty Word, with the same joy and energy we go out of this place sharing the glorious good news of our Salvation. That Jesus is our Savior and live under His hands of grace and mercy.
May God grant this to us today and always to be used as His humble servants to the world. Amen.
Now the peace…
SOLI DEO GLORIA