True Man & True God
Wednesday of Advent 4 Trinity Lutheran Church
21 December 2016 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Jesus: True God & True Man
Well, there He is. Do you see Him? A Baby! A Boy! He’s there with His mother Mary. Mary and Joseph weren’t concerned like the PC police of today that naming the Baby “Jesus” would make Him think He was a boy and that He will have to grow up as a boy! Of course He was a boy! Good grief! His is a male anatomy! A male body. A little boy! Mary and Joseph were not confused like we are with regard to gender.
He looks like an ordinary baby boy. Has all the body parts including the little member between his legs. Ten fingers. Ten toes. Two lungs. Two kidneys. Two eyes. A nose. A mouth. A heart, etc., etc., etc.
The tiny Tot looks so ordinarily human, so run of the mill human, that no one in Bethlehem takes notice. Very few have any use for Him. Most could care less. Too busy. Too hectic. You know the drill. The in-laws are no shows. Mary’s parents are even MIA. The landlord doesn’t make room for Him in the inn. He naps in a manger. Cuddles in Mary’s arms. Cries. Coos. Wets His diaper. Ho hum. Just another little Baby Boy born in backwoods, boondocks, the middle of nowhere Bethlehem.
Then why in the wide, wide world of sports are these Persians, these Gentile-ish star gazing professional astrologers knocking on the door of Jewish home? “Magi.” It’s where we get the word “magician.” Don’t open the door Joseph! They’re monstrous-hideous-idolatrous-wrong-ethnicity-outsiders! Star worshippers! Horoscopers! Joseph, however, does the unthinkable. He lets them in! Welcomes them. Takes their coats. Waters their camels. Washes their feet. Offers them some tea and crumpets. And that’s just the beginning. There’s more. Shockingly more!
The Gentile-ish Magi have traveled hundreds of miles, sacrificed a whole heck of a lot of time and money – NO THEY’VE RISKED EVERYTHING — to be given … A GIFT – the gift of salvation that only the Baby can give. This is primarily what it means to “worship.” They’ve come all this way to be given to. Forgiveness / Reconciliation / Redemption / Atonement in the Bethlehem Baby. Given to, they pull off some more “worship.” They adore the Tot. Bodily they bow. They offer the sacrifice of prayer, praise, thanksgiving and gifts.
Is the more of their idolatry? After all, worship only belongs to God! “Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only!” (Deuteronomy 6:13; Matthew 4:10) Or: “You shall have no other gods before Me,” (First Commandment).
And yet these Persian, Gentile, Magi “BOW DOWN AND WORSHIP HIM” as God!
They’re no longer worshiping stars. They’ve repented of that! Turned away from that idolatrous nonsense. Instead, the little Tot has used the gleaming light of a star to bring them from the home in Persia to the true light – capital “L” Light – Himself! The King not only of the Jews but also of the Gentiles – ALL NATIONS!
The run of the mill ordinary Baby is not just true man but He is also true God. Very God of very God. All the fullness of God dwells in Jesus. So when you see the Baby Jesus you see the face of God. You see God Himself. God in the flesh.
It’s one thing for Jesus to be God in the flesh. That’s neat. Really cool. But it’s quite another thing for Jesus to be God in the flesh FOR YOU! Little Baby Jesus is God in the flesh to be God on the cross to save you and ALL PEOPLE no matter what their nationality or ethnicity from your sin and all its damnation.
The Magi were once in darkness – of sin and death! But now they are in the Light! The majestic Light of God Himself in the flesh of Jesus. In Him there is no darkness at all but only the Light of Salvation.
The Magi are given the gift of salvation. Not in the stars! Their salvation is given in the every day ordinary run of the mill Baby Boy named Jesus. True man. But also true God. God FOR THEM! GOD FOR ALL! GOD FOR YOU TOO!
You too were once in darkness. But now the Light of the world has come. True Light. Jesus. He gifts you with Himself. He gives Himself into death FOR YOU in His Good Friday death. He bestows His saving name to you in Baptism. He donates all of His Good Friday forgiveness with His Body and Blood in the Lord’s Supper.
There you have it. Baby Jesus. True man born of the Virgin Mary. True God. He’s worthy of your worship too. You, like the Magi, take the time, make the effort, even if it’s costly, to worship Jesus. After all that’s what Christians do!
Your true worship of Him first of all is reception. Passively receiving Him by faith in the way that He gives Himself and the salvation He Good Friday-ly won FOR YOU in His Word and Sacrament on Sunday mornings. Again, true worship of Jesus is receiving what He gives in the way that He gives. Word. Sacrament. Week after week. If you want to give Him something in response, you certainly may. You’re free. Usually that looks like prayer, praise and thanksgiving.
Let’s do just that by singing the Magnificat and praying in Jesus’ holy Name!
In the Name of Jesus.