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First Sunday after Christmas

December 30, 2007

First Sunday after Christmas        Trinity Lutheran Church
30 December 2007                         Murdock, NE

+ Jesu Juva +

Galatians 4:4-7

“But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the Law.”

“The fullness of time.”  All of Israel’s history comes to a climax in the birth of Jesus.  Israel isn’t doing the history.  God is.  He’s doing the verbs.  God gives to Israel what her history could not:  THE MESSIAH!  When Israel attempts to make her own history the results were tragic.  Full of unfaithfulness, guilt, and gloom.  Rebellion.  Exile. Deep weeping. Excruciating death.  But now, through God’s creative intervention, Jesus the promised Messiah is conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.  God now reigns on the earth in that Baby!  For the salvation of Israel and the world!

Jesus redoes Israel’s history in His person.  He is God’s Son called out of Egypt.  In Him there is a new and greater Exodus for Israel.  Now, not only Israel, but even Magi from the east worship God who locates Himself graciously for Israel and for the world in the baby Body of Jesus. 

Jesus is the true king of Israel, the promised son of King David, who will reign forever.  In Jesus the love of God will triumph even though King Herod opposes it to the point of murdering all the little boys in and around Bethlehem.  As Rachel, the mother of Israel wept when her children went into exile, so now she weeps again from the grave as Herod continues his serial killing ways.

Yes, God’s love triumphs in the midst of Israel’s history of immense pain, guilt and tears.  Yes, God’s love triumphs even when His plan of salvation collides head on with maniacal King Herod.  Baby God Jesus comes humbly and without fanfare.  He resides in Nazareth as a nobody.  And yet He is Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.  And that’s precisely what Pilate posts above His thorn crowned head as He dies on the cross.  Yes indeed: “But when the fullness of time came, God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the Law.”
    
Born under the Law.”  Why?  “In order that He might redeem those who were under the Law.”

The climax of Israel’s entire Old Testament history comes to completion and fulfillment in the birth of Jesus.  He comes to redeem Israel and you from the Law’s accusations and condemnations.

But how does Jesus redeem Israel and you from the Law?  He puts Himself under the Law like any other sinful human being.  He lets the Law do to Him what it does to you.  The Law accuses us and terrifies you.  The Law subjects you to sin, death, and God’s wrath.  The Law damns you because of your sins.  And rightfully so because you and I are sinners. 

But Jesus, born of a woman, is born without sin.  The Law has no claim on Jesus.  Jesus owes the Law nothing.  And yet Jesus comes and takes your sin in His Body to answer for it all. 

And then Jesus lets the Law have its way with Him. He lets the Law violently and with its full fury rage against Him.  It accuses Jesus of blasphemy, idolatry, sedition, murder and anything else you can think of.  The Law finds Him guilty of every sin and violation of the Commandments in God’s sight.  The condemnation is so great that He begs His Father to let this cup pass as He sweats blood in the garden.  And then He suffers Himself to be betrayed, arrested, tried as a criminal, handed a death sentence, hung, and damned as a sinner when He cries out:  “My God, my God, why have your forsaken me?” 

Jesus permits the Law to lord all its power over Him.  To terrify Him.  To subject Him to sin, death, and the eternal damnation that only sinners deserve.

Jesus does this for you in the fullness of time.  God sent forth His Son in the fullness of time to redeem you.  This is important.  Because the Law continues to push its attack on your conscience in order to trouble you:  “You call yourself a Christian?  If you’re a Christian, you wouldn’t do things like that!  Your sins are too big for Jesus.  You must atone for them.  You must atone for your mistakes.  And since you won’t and can’t, there’s only one place for you.  It’s the place prepared for the devil and all his angels.  Better start packing your bags.” 

What is your response?  Here it is:  “Oh, yes Law, I’m a sinner.  No doubt about that.  You’re certainly right on that count.  But I have a Savior.  His name is Jesus.  Go talk to Him about my sins.  He says they’re all forgiven because He has redeemed from your power to condemn me.  You, Law, cannot reign in my conscience!  Why?  Because Jesus my Savior does.  He died for me!  I am baptized in His Name.  He gives me His Body and Blood for full and free forgiveness.  I am a son of God who has the Holy Spirit in my heart with all His gifts through the Word of Christ’s forgiveness.  I now cry out ‘Abba, Father.’  I know God is merciful, kind, and patient to me for Christ’s sake.  He keeps His promises.  He handed over His one and only Son into death for my sins so that everyone who believes in the Son has eternal life.  So my conscience is at peace because Jesus reigns there.  Nice try Law.  Close but no cigar!”  

The fullness of time has come!  God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born under the Law in order to redeem you who were under the Law!  What joy!  What a salvation!

In the Name of Jesus.   

From → "A" Sermons

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