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What A Sermon! (St. Luke 1:26-38) Advent 4B

December 18, 2011

Click here to listen to this sermon.


St. Luke 1:26-38


Check it out!  One of the most incredible events in the history of the universe is about to happen.  What the prophets of old proclaimed.  What they searched for intently and with the greatest care!  Tried to find out the time and circumstances when God would give Israel and the world THE DAVIDIC MESSIANIC KING who would reign forever.  2 Samuel 7.  When God would intervene in the world and in their lives to save sinners.  Even the angels in heaven longed to look into how God would save/redeem the world!  The great day of the LORD!


And lo and behold – it begins!  And what a commencement it is!


However, the inauguration of the Lord’s salvation of the world work sure doesn’t start like we’d do it!  Seriously!  We’d never launch the salvation job like this!  We’d never think to do it that way!  In fact, we’d insist that it couldn’t be done the way the Lord does it!


But the Lord doesn’t ask us.  He just goes to work.  Rolls up His sleeves and gets the salvation of the world ball rolling!  How? Great question!    


Are you ready for the answer?  Well, are you?  Really?  All right!  But I warn you – it is going to blow you away!  How the Lord does it is the last way you or anyone else would look or expect!  Here’s how the Lord does it.  He does it … THROUGH A … SERMON! 


Yes, that’s right – a sermon.  Not another one!  Haven’t we had enough sermons in our life?  And we barely pay attention to any of them anyway! 


But that’s the Lord’s cup of tea.  He’s a speaking, talking, preaching God!  “Let there be light!”  “Be fruitful and multiply.”  “Eat from any tree in the garden but not this one or you will surely die.”  “Abraham, your senior citizen wife will have a son.”  “I am the Lord your God who brought you up out of Egypt.”  “I will build a house for you David.  I will establish he throne of your son’s kingdom forever.  I will be his father and he will be my son.”  “I will make a new covenant … I will be their God and they will be my people … For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”   I could go on and on.  But we don’t have the time!


So the Lord gets His salvation show cranked up by, of all things, ANOTHER SERMON!


Preached this time by the mighty archangel Gabriel!  Gabriel has a sermon in his mouth.  A Word of the Lord on his lips!  And he can’t wait to get it out!  For when he proclaims this divine Word the power of the Most High will be unleashed!  The Holy Spirit will be doing His best Lord and Giver of Life work!  God at work in the world through a sermon! 


And so the sermon begins.  Quite simply.  Quite briefly.  A greeting.  “Hello Mary.  Highly favored one!  The Lord is with you!”    Mary, of course, is troubled.  Who wouldn’t be?  Have any of you been greeted by the Gabriel the archangel?


And that’s when Gabriel’s sermon goes full blast – no holds barred preaching.  “Fear not Mary.  I have great news for you!  God’s favor rests on you!  He’s chosen you.  Yes, you!  To be a mother.  THE mother!  Of Jesus!  And if that doesn’t blow your mind, then get a load of this.  This Baby Jesus that you will bear is the Son of the Most High God!  He is the world without end King promised to David!”


“Yes, yes, we all know you’re a virgin.  That you’ve never been with a man – especially Joseph – we all know that!  Yes, yes, we all know how this is going to look.  It certainly is scandalous!  But nothing is impossible with the Lord!  No doubt you’ve already heard that your ready for the nursing home senior citizen never could have kids relative Elizabeth is already at the end of her second trimester.  Her baby bump is quite large!”


“So if the Lord can bring about a pregnancy in the old and dried up woman Elizabeth, he can certainly cause a virgin to conceive!  And you’re the one!  You are going to have a baby.  His name will be Jesus!  He is the promised Savior of the world!  He is the eternal Second Person of the Holy Trinity!”


And because of the sermon preached into her ears – because God’s Word is proclaimed – the baby is conceived in Mary’s body.  Mary is now pregnant with a baby who is both true God and true man in one person.  The eternal and divine Jesus takes on flesh and blood.  And the Holy Spirit brings this about – through Gabriel’s sermon!  God’s Word preached does what it says.  God’s Word proclaimed gives what it says.  And the salvation of the world and redemption for every sinner is in full swing!  All because of  — A SERMON! 


And Mary – the virgin – believes the sermon!  All of it!  She trusts the Word of the Lord from the lips of an angel – Gabriel – God’s messenger!  “I am the Lord’s servant.  May it be to me as you have preached.”


Incredible!  This is the highest of worship!  It’s faith!  Believing exactly what the Lord says.  Receiving what the Lord promises.  Mary is given to.  She doesn’t not say, “Thanks, but no.  Use somebody else.”  Instead, she rejoices in God’s gracious favor. 


She carries the Baby for nine months.  She gives birth to Him.  She names Him Jesus.  She watches and she listens to the Davidic King.  And there were loads of sermons from Him.  The biggest and most important was a sermon He preached many times:  “I will suffer, die, and rise on the third day!”  She hears that the “throne of his father David” is the Cross!  Crowned with thorns, hung on the cross, bleeding and dying – He reigns.  “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews.”   And there He dies!  God in the flesh and bones of Jesus dies!  And then rises from the dead! 


For Mary, for the world, for you, for me!  Salvation achieved.  Done.  Accomplished.  Once for all.  Once for all time.  Once for all people. 


And all this for your hearing.  To go into your ears.  Through sermons!  Preached by the Lord’s messengers.  His called and ordained servants in the holy ministry.  They come – sent by the crucified and risen Jesus – to proclaim that all your sin is forgiven.  That Satan and death are defeated enemies.  That heaven and eternal life are yours.  This is good news!  A Holy Spirit filled and power of the Most High Word inserted and drilled into your ears.  For the creation (or – the birthing) and sustaining of faith – faith only in Jesus who died and rose for you. 


Faith that can’t help but saying:  “I am the Lord’s servant.  Let it be with me just as you have preached.”  And as you believe – so you have!


In the Name of Jesus.          


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