30 November 2014

O Lord, How Shall You Meet Me?

He is your King, who comes to meet you.  He has come in person, in the flesh, conceived and born of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  And you know that He shall come again in glory to judge the living and the dead.  But even now, year after year, week after week, and here today, He is your King, who is coming to reign over you in love by His Word and Spirit.

And that is a big deal.  Not only because it is a great honor for your King to come to you, but because you need Him and He provides for you; not only for your daily bread in this body and life, but for the rescue of your body and soul from sin, death, the devil, and hell, and for life everlasting with the one true God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It really is a matter of life and death, and so He calls you to rejoice in His coming to you.  For He enters into your precarious and perishing existence in order to save you, to set you free from the devil’s kingdom, and to bring you into the Kingdom of His God and Father.  It is for this purpose that He goes up to Jerusalem: To bring you to God in His own Body.

Because He comes for you, to do you good, He does not sneak up on you; He is not out to catch you by surprise.  Has He not taught you to be on your guard, to watch and wait upon His coming?  He does not act spontaneously or randomly, but deliberately and with great care, according to the will and counsel of the Lord from before the foundation of the world.  He comes, therefore, in fulfillment of the Holy Scriptures, just as He has spoken.

As always, He sends His servants ahead of Him to prepare the way, and as the way and means by which He comes.  He calls them to Himself, and He sends them in His Name, with His royal authority, to set you free from bondage, and to bring you to Himself as a disciple.

As He called St. John the Baptist from the womb, and sent him to prepare His Way before Him by the preaching and baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, so does He send His disciples to find and retrieve the colt of a donkey on which He will enter His Holy City.  And so will He send His disciples, again, to prepare the Passover where He will take bread and wine, give thanks to His Father, and distribute His Body and His Blood to His Church on earth, even to the close of the age, for the forgiveness of all sins, including all of yours.

In all of this, He demonstrates His divine royalty, His royal divinity, but in such a way that eye has never seen and ear has never heard before.  You do not recognize Him for who and what He is by your natural senses, but only by faith in His Word.  It is a great Mystery, and a far greater Wisdom than this world is able to comprehend.  It is also the truest Truth of all.

He is the King of the Jews, and the King of all Creation, by whom, through whom, and for whom all things are made.  But He comes as such a King in humility and meekness; His almighty power is made perfect in His voluntary weakness, in His suffering and His death.

He comes by such ways and means as no man has ever come before, by a new donkey that no man has ever ridden.  He is born of the Virgin, and that sets the tone for His whole life and ministry: Not by the will and power of man, but by the power and wisdom of God.  He comes by the washing of the water with His Word.  He comes with His own flesh and blood, given and poured out as the Feast of His own Sacrifice by the means of bread and wine.

So, His power is not of the world, but of the Lord your God.  As the true Son of the Father in the flesh, He comes to save you by His righteousness, by His perfect faith and holy love, by His humble obedience, even unto His death by Crucifixion.  He releases you from the death-grip of your sin by the Atonement of His own Blood.  He sets you free from Satan’s dreadful accusation, and He acquits you of the Law’s terrible condemnation.

He is such a King who suffers, sacrifices, and serves on behalf of His people.  And He thus enters His Kingdom and ascends to His Throne at the right hand of God the Father Almighty by the way and means of His Cross.  Because He does all of this for you, He is surely with you in your suffering; and, not only that, but you are raised up with Him in His Resurrection and seated with Him in the heavenly places.  As He comes to you here, so do you come with Him to the Father.  As He sends His servants before Him, so do you now follow after Him.

Now, then, as He instructs you by His Word and with His Spirit, recognize and acknowledge your King as He comes to you in His Ministry of the Gospel, in His means of grace, in the preaching and teaching of His Word, and in His Holy Sacraments.  Rejoice in His coming, and receive Him to yourself in humility: Not a fake modesty, nor a manufactured show of merely outward humility, but an honest recognition of your need, your unworthiness, and your mortality, and that you would perish in your idolatry and unbelief if He did not come to save you in His mercy.

Confess your sin, confess your Savior and your King, and call upon His Name in holy faith.  Let the humility of repentance be completed in the joyful confidence of His Resurrection.  Pray, praise, give thanks, and sing.  These sacrifices of your lips are pleasing to Him, and He does not spurn them nor reject them, but He receives them, as He receives you, in love.  To exercise your faith by the prayer and confession of His Word is fundamental to your life as a disciple, by which you follow after Christ, and by which He guards and keeps you.

Not only with your lips and voice, but with your whole body and life, and so also with your possessions, acknowledge your Lord and King, entrust yourself to Him, and serve Him.  Lay your coat and your leafy branches beneath His feet; that is to say, with whatever gifts He has entrusted to you, and whatever the work of your hands may be, let all be done to the Glory of His Holy Name, to honor His Body of flesh and blood, to serve and care for His people.

And if He would have your colt, the foal of your donkey, let it be.  The Lord has need of it.  Not as though He were tapped out and desperate for your help, but because your King has, in mercy, redeemed you from your sin and death, and from the power of the devil, to live with Him in His Kingdom and to serve Him in righteousness and peace.

As when a father engages his little son to assist him with some task, in order to share with him his own life, so does your Lord honor you by enlisting your service in the support of His Church and Ministry on earth.  He uses your donkey to bear the burdens of your neighbor.  He uses your coat to clothe and cover the neighbor who has none.  He uses your offerings to provide for the preaching of the Gospel, and for the teaching of His Word and faith.  He uses your water for Holy Baptism, your bread and wine to give you His Body and Blood.

Learn from your Lord and King to live according to the righteousness of faith in His Word, which is to say, according to the tender mercies, forgiveness, and life of His Holy Gospel.  For by His coming, by His Cross, and by His care and compassion for you, He establishes His Kingdom for you, and He establishes you in His Kingdom.

As He forgives you all your sins, as He clothes you and covers you with His Righteousness, and as He feeds you with His holy Body and His precious Blood, He shows you His ways, He teaches you His paths, and He leads you in His Truth.  And by these ways and means of the Gospel, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ gives to you His Holy Spirit, so that, by His grace, you believe His holy Word and lead a godly life according to it.

So does God’s Kingdom come to you in Christ Jesus, who is both David’s Son and David’s Lord.  Offer Him your thanks and praise, serve and obey Him; not as though you must find some way to appease Him, but because He is righteous, and He is your King who saves you.

All that you are and have is from Him, and for Him, and still He gives you more.  His need of you is not for His benefit but yours.  He comes, not to be served, but to serve.  He acts on your behalf, so that everything of His may also become yours.  He remembers you in mercy, that you may remember Him in peace, and hope in His great salvation, even in the midst of sin and death.  For those who wait upon the Lord shall not be put to shame.

He has sent His disciples to make a disciple of you, to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins, to baptize you in His Name, to catechize you in all that He has spoken, promised, and commanded.  So does He also send His servants in His Name to take up His gifts of bread and wine and give them to you with His Word, that He should thereby come to you in person, in His own flesh and blood, given and poured out for the forgiveness of all your sins, for life and salvation in Him.  And just as Jesus has spoken, so is it done, and so it is.

In the Name + of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

No comments: