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"Behold Your King Comes To You" (Advent 1)

November 27, 2011

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Introit / St. Mark 11:1-10

You are frantically busy!  Black Friday shopping now begins at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday.  You rush here.  You rush there.  You push through this door.  Then that door.  Sprinting!  Heart pumping!  Adrenaline rushing!  Projects to finish.  Dozens of appointments to keep.  Commitments to honor.  Did you get your 80” TV?  Do you have your pies baked?  Cookies frosted?  Presents purchased?   Better hurry!  The time is short! 

 

Activity without insight is most to be feared. 

 

And so the season of Advent.  Advent barges into your frenetic whirlwind of a life.  And Advent gives you insight.  God’s! 

 

God has something on His mind.  He has something to say.  And it’s high time you take a moment from all your fleeting activities and busy-ness to listen!  Otherwise the occasion of your death or the Last Day will soon come and you’ll realize:  “Oh yes, I need to refocus my life on God.”  But then it will be way too late! 

 

Advent puts your lives back in focus through a royal pronouncement spoken by the prophet Zechariah.  And then fulfilled on Palm Sunday!  “Behold your king comes to you … lowly and riding on a donkey.”

 

And the Advent King is the Lord Jesus Himself!  He rides into Jerusalem as the promised Davidic, messianic king! 

 

He didn’t call, email, facebook, text, or tweet first to make an appointment.  Thank God!  You’d have politely told Him, “Thanks but No!  Just don’t have the time.  Who was that weirdo?  I don’t ever remember inviting Him to be my Facebook friend!”

 

King Jesus made His plans.  Dispatched two disciples.  “Go into the village just outside the city.  Find a never been ridden donkey.  Untie it and bring it to me.  And if anyone asks you what in the world you are doing just say that the, ‘LORD needs to borrow it for the day.’” 

 

King Jesus is quite bold.  How He dares to interrupt your hectic lives!  How inconvenient!  How rude!  He just rides on in!  Who invited Him? 

 

That’s precisely why He comes this way!  He just enters your life because you’d never take the time to invite Him into your life!  You do not seek Him.  HE SEEKS YOU!  You do not find Him.  HE FINDS YOU!  If He didn’t come, you’d remain locked out!  On the outside!  In sin and damnation!  So He comes! 

 

Behold your king comes to you!  This is the insight of Advent!  The word “advent” literally means “coming.”  And so the season of Advent brings together all three “advents” of royal King Jesus. 

 

He comes in the flesh, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, in order to ride into Jerusalem and do a Holy Passion and a blessed Good Friday as the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 

 

This same Lamb of God King Jesus now comes riding into your midst in the preaching of His Word, in Holy Baptism, Holy Absolution, and in the giving of His Body and Blood in the Supper!  He advents Himself among you now through these lowly means to graciously give you the remission of sins won in His Calvary – Cross death! 

 

Lamb of God — donkey riding — King Jesus who comes today, hidden in the coverings of Word, water, bread and wine, will have one final glorious advent.  That’s the Last Day when He reveals Himself for all to see.  No more coverings.  Full blown Jesus with His resurrected but Good Friday-scarred Body to judge the living and the dead!  The only way to be prepared to receive Him on that day IS TO NOW EMBRACE HIM BY FAITH!  TO BELIEVE IN HIM! 

 

King Jesus comes.  Now.  In your need.  “See, your King comes to you righteous and having salvation.”  King Jesus has what you lack.  Your sin has made you unrighteous.  Your sin has made you strangers and enemies to God’s salvation. 

 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German pastor who was imprisoned and murdered by the Nazis right before the end of WWII, wrote these words in his book called Ethics:  “Man feels … shame because he lacks something,” (20).  Shame is the recognition that your sin has divorced you from God and that we lack unity with Him.  Shame is what Adam and Eve experienced when they believed the Satanic lie that they could be God!  Bonhoeffer writes:  “instead of seeing God they saw only themselves.”

 

And so God would show you your shame today!  You do not fear, love and trust in the Triune God above all things.  You fear, love, and trust in other idols – usually yourself as the number one false god.  And so you are naked before God.  You lack His righteousness and salvation!

 

And even more than that – the fig leaves that you sew for yourself to cover your nakedness and hide your shame do not work!  God sees right through every futile attempt to make excuses.  When you try to justify yourself!  You can’t defend yourself before God!  So just quit trying!  Your legs are not long enough to out run Him.  Your arms are not strong enough to push Him away.  There is no place to hide from Him!

 

“Behold, your King comes to you.” 

 

But He does not come now to terrify you!  He does not come to throw your sin in your face and damn you to hell!  He comes with gifts.  Pre-Christmas, holiday gifts!  Something you’d never shop for!  Something that’s not on your list!  He comes to give away all of His righteousness – with His salvation!  FOR YOU!  FOR FREE! 

 

HE COMES TO SAVE YOU.  FROM YOURSELVES.  FROM YOUR SIN.  FROM YOUR DAMNATION.  AND TAKE AWAY YOUR SHAME.  HE COMES TO GIVE YOU WHAT YOU LACK!

 

One of the greatest advent hymns is “O Lord, How Shall I Meet You” written by Paul Gerhardt.  Please turn to that hymn.  It’s #334.  Let’s sing stanza three together.  This illustrates so well what I’m trying to teach you today.

 

I lay in fetters, groaning;

You came to set me free.

I stood, my shame bemoaning;

You came to honor me.

A glorious crown You give me,

A treasure safe on high

That will not fail or leave me,

As earthly riches fly.

 

God does not leave you in your shame.  Scripture puts it like this in Romans 5:6, 8, “For when we were still without strength, in due time, Christ died for the ungodly … God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  Isn’t that incredible?  Absolutely amazing?  That Jesus died for us while we where His enemies? 

 

And King Jesus did it to reconcile you to the Father.  He did it to cover all your shame with the robe of His own righteousness! 

 

In a few moments, King Jesus comes to you with His Body and Blood in, with, and under the bread and wine.  He comes to take away your shame.  He comes to restore you in the joy of His salvation.  So how do you greet Him?  With these faithful words of Palm Sunday:  “Hosanna!  Blessed is he [Jesus] who comes in the name of the Lord! … Hosanna in the highest!”

 

In the name of Jesus.

 

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