Another Advent Sermon!
Fourth Sunday in Advent Trinity Lutheran Church
21 December 2014 Murdock, NE
+Jesu Juva +
Another sermon today! A royal annunciation! A regal announcement! This time from the mouth of the angel Gabriel. The congregation? The virgin Mary. Gabriel is the mouth – the preacher sent by God to speak for God. Mary is all ears – the little church in the town of Nazareth in Galilee – who receives what the Lord speaks and gives through His preached word.
And what a sermon it is! Who would ever have expected such a sermon?
Not me. Not you. You come to church expecting happy, clappy, sappy sermons loaded with jokes, riddle and rhymes. Or a sermon that gives you practical advice on how to cope with life’s problems. You want sermons that provide you with useful tips for daily living. Sermons that give you lots of “How To’s.” How to get rich, how to maintain wealth, how to stay healthy, how to have better intimacy in the bedroom, or how to reach your potential in the boardroom.
And with such sermons, who is usually the odd man out? Jesus! Yes, that’s right, Jesus the Savior who has come to get and save His sinners. Including a Mary the virgin. And you too.
Good thing God sends a better and faithful preacher. Gabriel’s sermon magnificently preaches … what God will do. What God will give to you and all sinners through His Son Jesus. The annunciatory sermon preaches God’s working. The sermon is the good news of the gospel that is for sinners!
Again, check it out. What God is up to FOR YOU.
Gabriel is God’s messenger. God’s “favor.” God’s Word. God’s “Spirit.” God’s “power” with whom nothing is impossible. And above all there is God’s grace that gives Israel and all people the greatest of all divine gifts: “THE SON OF GOD TO REIGN FOREVER ON THE THRONE OF DAVID.” Bottom line, Gabriel’s sermon is all about the … good news of God’s Son who is the Savior of you His sinners!
Again, this is an incredible sermon preached by Gabriel. So what you don’t expect. BUT WHAT YOU NEED. Jesus the Savior!
Listen to it again. “You will be with child Mary,” Gabriel says. “You will give birth to a son. His name will be Jesus. He will be called great – Jesus The Great – and He will be called the SON OF THE MOST HIGH – GOD’S SON. The promise given to King David in 2 Samuel 7 is now fulfilled. Your son, God’s Son will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom of salvation will never end.”
Give birth to a son? How can this be? Oh, yes, Mary is engaged to be married to Joseph but there’s been no honeymoon yet. She’s still a virgin. Virgin’s don’t get pregnant … unless of course … but again that hasn’t happened.
Gabriel’s answer to Mary the virgin goes like this. Listen carefully folks. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you Mary. The power of the Most High God will overshadow you Mary. And that’s happening right now Mary as I have been preaching God’s Word to you. As the Word of God has been going in your ears the Holy Spirit has come upon you. The power of the Most High has overshadowed you. In other words, Mary, the Holy Spirit has just conceived the Divine Son of God as a Baby in your womb through God’s Word spoken into your ears.”
We confess the divine sermon Gabriel preached to Mary this way in the Creed: Jesus was “conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary.”
Do you get it folks? I hope so. Let me repeat it. How will Mary get pregnant as a virgin and then give birth to a son named Jesus who is also the Son of God, the Second Person of the holy Trinity? Well, the Baby Jesus is conceived in Mary’s belly because a sermon was preached. A faithful sermon that delivered God’s Word. And let’s not forget that God’s Word and the working of the Holy Spirit always go together. That’s how the Holy Spirit rolls, if you will. The Holy Spirit “spoke by the prophets.” Now He speaks through the angel Gabriel’s sermon doing and giving what He promises in that Word.
And the Holy Spirit-filled, divine sermon has its way with Mary. She believes what she has heard promised! No matter how unreasonable. No matter how much heartache it will bring. “May it be to me AS YOU HAVE PREACHED IT,” she said. In other words, she said: “Amen” which means, “it is true.” SHE DOESN’T HAVE BETTER WORDS THAN THE HOLY SPIRIT! She trusts the Holy Spirit’s Word spoken to her! Trust in the NT is spelled: F-A-I-T-H!
Well, folks, this sermon from Gabriel is so excellent because it announces the conception, birth and reign of the Holy One, Jesus The Great, the Son of God, Son of the Most High. Who is conceived and born in order to do the Good Friday salvation job FOR YOU. Taking all your sin and answering for it through the shedding of His divine blood. On the cross He lords His bloody death over all your sin. Lords His death over death. Lords His heaven over hell. Lords His pardon over damnation.
Today, Jesus extends His Good Friday reign of salvation over you by sending you a preacher. A messenger. All your life you’ve had preachers. And they’re always sent to preach … God’s Word. To repent you through the preaching of the law. To faith you through the preaching of the gospel.
As the pastor speaks God’s Word faithfully into your ears and hearts the crucified, risen and ascended Jesus is physically present in that Word preached to you in the power of the Holy Spirit. And He has an announcement to make. Another annunciation. Good news!
The proclamation of Jesus comes through the pastor the Lord’s mouth that preaches: It is this. Do not fear. You too have God’s favor. God is gracious to you. All your sin is forgiven.
You’ll hear another sermon from Jesus shortly after we pray. I will turn and face you with the bread and wine in my hands. The words I will sing are not my own. They are Christ the Lord’s words! Since they are His words, it’s Jesus that you’re hearing. Jesus is preaching to you in the Lord’s Supper’s Words of Institution. In His words you hear the living voice of Christ (viva vox Christi)!
And what does Jesus preach? He says that the bread is His Body. That the wine is His Blood. Same Body and Blood that was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary! He doesn’t have any other Body and Blood! Same Body and Blood that suffered, died, rose on the Third Day and ascended to sit at the Father’s right hand! He doesn’t have a different Body and Blood. And then He gives the most comforting promise to sinners that can ever be spoken. He promises that in this Sacrament your sins – ALL OF THEM – are forgiven. There is no sin He left out of His Good Friday dying. There is no sin that He leaves out of the Lord’s Supper’s forgiveness.
As you hear the gospel in all its forms: baptism, absolution, sermon, and Lord’s Supper, let Mary be your example. The example of FAITH. Trust. Give your full-throated “Amen” when you hear that your sin is forgiven, that Jesus died for you, or that He gives His Body and Blood for you. Or you can say it like Mary did. “I am the Lord’s servant. May it be to me as you have said.”
Nothing better than what He has said whether it’s through the preacher named Gabriel or any faithful preacher He sends to you at Trinity. And as you believe – so you have!
In the Name of Jesus.