Second Sunday in Advent
Second Sunday in Advent Trinity Lutheran Church
7 December 2008 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
St. Mark 1:1-8
Somebody obviously didn’t get the memo. Did you see the new preacher? Did you check out what he’s wearing? Good grief. What is this? It looks like a human costume from the old movie The Planet of the Apes. A camel hair body wrap. Hand made leather belt and all. What a get up! I’ll bet he hasn’t washed his hair or had a hair cut his entire life!
And how about the food this preacher eats? Is the Reverend on a diet? Or is it the latest health food fad? He refuses prime rib, cheesy potatoes, green beans, hot rolls with butter, and an ice-cold beer. He insists on dipping locusts into wild honey.
He won’t come in to town. Bullish on country preaching. Hears sinners make confession! Stubborn on baptizing in the Jordan River. And thus his nickname: The Baptizer. John the Baptizer.
He claims that he’s come as a voice in the wilderness to prepare for the Mighty One! In other words, the Messiah, the Savior, is soon coming after him. The Baptizer is only the pre-game. But when the Mighty One comes, then it’s game on!
Will you listen to this preacher today? Or are you bored and totally indifferent to his message? Would you be embarrassed to be associated with this critter looking country parson? Would you dare take the chance to be a member of his country congregation? Would you? Would you take his words seriously? Who would? I mean he wouldn’t be taken seriously by any of the church big wigs of today.
Well, let’s take another look. The Lord has good use for this Baptizing-Hearing Confession-Pastor John. All of Judea and all of Jerusalem goes out to him. To hear his preaching. To confess their sins. And to receive his baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of their sins!
For the forgiveness of their sins!
The life and death issue. The eternal life and death issue.
Try to deal with your sin on your own and it won’t be good. Attempt to answer for your sin by your lonesome and it will turn out hellishly.
Ignore the Baptizer’s sermon at your eternal peril.
Or believe what he promises about the Mightier One, the Messiah, the Savior, Jesus, for the forgiveness of your sin and the gift of eternal life.
Yes, Jesus. The Baptizer’s voice declares Him. “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” Gospel. Gospel means “good news.” Jesus is the good news. Jesus is the gospel. For you.
The Mightier One than preacher John has come. The way of the Lord is that He will answer for your sin.
What sins do you have? Can you name any? I’ll bet there’s a bunch you’ve forgotten. Perhaps a few that you’d rather not give up because you love them so much. Maybe some sins that you want to stop doing but can’t. And don’t try to blame someone else for your sin and sinning. You’re to blame. All of it is your fault. Your own fault. Your own most grievous fault. In thoughts, words, and deeds. And the pay check that you’ve earned is death. Eternal death. Damnation.
But today there is good news! Gospel! For you! Jesus, the Son of God! “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God,” is front and center this Second Sunday in Advent.
While the world frets and despairs over the markets, Detroit’s Big Three, 401ks, unemployment, and trampling over anyone who gets in my way to get a big screen TV at Wal Mart, the Baptizer says it’s time to REPENT!
And so does the apostle Peter who tells you in his epistle that God doesn’t want you to perish, but come to REPENTANCE!
Repent. Confess your sin. Whatever sin that bothers you. Whatever doesn’t bother you but you know it’s wrong. All the living for the self. All the hurting of others. All the living and believing that you’re your own god and savior. All the apathy to the preaching of Jesus and His gifts.
Leave all your sin on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God. He’s answered for its enormous entirety in His Body on that Friday we call Good between Noon and Three.
Repent. In other words, believe the good news that Jesus died for you and that your sins are totally forgiven. You are! Really you are! Your sin, all of it, now belongs to Jesus not you! It does not condemn you any more.
This is God’s promise to you and He does not lie. Jesus gave Himself into death for you and your salvation. This was the Baptizer’s message. And the Baptizing Preacher John was only a voice pointing to the Mighty Savior.
But in a few minutes John will gives way to Jesus. John will be quiet. He’ll get out of the way. He must decrease. Jesus must increase. Shortly you’ll hear Jesus make another promise. More good news. “My body. Eat it. It’s for you. My blood. Drink it. It’s for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Forgiveness of sins is everything. It’s salvation. And it all comes as gift from the Lord to you.
John’s pointing us to good news Jesus for forgiveness is the best gift we could ever receive from such a preacher. Or any preacher for that matter.
Have a happy Advent.
In the Name of Jesus.