O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Your King is Coming to You
Your King is Coming to You
Based on Luke 19:28-40
Preached on Novemebr 29, 2015
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In the Name of Jesus, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I want you to imagine what it would be like if Queen Elizabeth - our Queen - was going to come and visit us here at Beautiful Savior. I mean, she's not just coming to Winnipeg, she's not just coming to St. Vital. Her Royal Highness is coming to visit us - here - at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church.
Would we do anything differently? Would we make special preparations? Would you? Would you come early, be sure to get a seat? Dress differently? Would you prepare in some way?
I'm pretty certain that if our Monarch Queen Elizabeth were to come here on a Sunday morning, we would all do something a little different.
And yet One greater than her is coming. Has come. Does come. Behold, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation."
The One who is coming in glory, might, and power is the One who came by the humility of the Virgin, the donkey, and the cross. And He is the One who comes to us here and now, hidden and sublimely "with us," present in water, Word, bread and wine, to prepare, to forgive, to strengthen, and to keep us. That is the very heart and core of the season of Advent. Advent means "coming." "Behold, your King is coming.
Your King has come to you, righteous and having salvation. In one sense, it is past and accomplished. "It is finished." He left His royal throne at the right hand of the Father and came to us, born of the Virgin daughter of Israel, in the fullness of time, at just the right moment in God's plan of salvation. Virgin's Son made here His home, Savior of the Nations, Come.
He came in deep humility, ignored, rejected, despised by those He came to save. "He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him." He is the creator of all things, yet the world in its unbelief did not recognize Him. He is the Messiah of Israel, the promised Son of David, yet Israel rejected Him. Yes, He had a few disciples. One hundred and twenty when the final count was taken. Hardly much of a movement. Certainly not enough to register on the world's scale of greatness. Can you even imagine that today? Someone claiming to be a great religious leader, having a following of one hundred and twenty disciples. The world would laugh; and the world did laugh and mock and spit.
He came into His own city, Jerusalem, the holy city. The place of the temple, of sacrifice and priesthood and prayer, the dwelling place of God on earth. He came as the royal Son of David, riding on a donkey as the prophet had foretold it. His disciples shouting "Hosanna" and "Blessed is the King!" anticipating that the time had come for Jesus to take His throne. His disciples rolled out the royal carpet of palm branches and coats. But the donkey was borrowed, pressed into service because "the Lord had need of it." Can you imagine a king borrowing someone else's car to make his grand entrance? Hardly the stuff of kings now, is it?
But that borrowed donkey is a clue as to what sort of King Jesus is - a beggar King. One who was rich, but for our sake becomes poor. One who stepped down from His throne to become the Servant of all. One who left the power and majesty of the right hand of the Father to take up the humility of the manger and the cross. One who wore royal purple only as people mocked Him. One who was openly called a King only in derision and as a reason for His crucifixion. His crown was made of thorns. His scepter was a nail driven through His hand. His throne was a cross on which He died. His victory was His death by which He defeated the last and greatest enemy of our humanity, namely Death and the Grave. That is your King. That is the kind of King you have.
The religious in the crowd were offended by Jesus, as He still is an offense to human Religion today. The Pharisees called on Jesus to silence the celebration, to shut up His disciples. But even the mute rocks and stones knew who Jesus was and would cry out, if called upon. He didn't come to fix the world; He came to save it. He didn't come to fix injustice; He came to do justice. He didn't come to rid the world of suffering, of poverty, of disease; He came to deal with the root cause and source - our sin, the corruption of our humanity, the Law that damns us, the wrath of God that hangs over us. He's the King that fights and dies for His people, and there is no other King like Him in all the world.
Beloved, your King comes to you, righteous and having salvation. He came once in humility to fight and die and rise. He comes now to bless, to forgive, to make you His own, to give you a share in His life and royalty. He comes to establish His reign - not on earth, but in hearts and minds, turning them in faith toward Him. As we wait for Jesus' coming in glory, He still comes to us - "sacramentally," through the means He has ordained for us - through the Kingly Word He proclaimed, through the water of Baptism, through the bread that is His Body and the wine that is His blood. These are His coming to you, to His Church even to the end of the age, lording His death and life over us to prepare us for His final coming.
The Church is always in a perpetual advent, celebrating her coming Lord even as she awaits her coming Lord. As Jesus once entered Jerusalem atop a donkey, now He enters His Jerusalem in the hidden humility of His Word, His Baptism, His Supper - no less here or present, but hidden under the ordinary and the humble so that we might approach and receive Him without fear. He comes to forgive, speaking words of absolution into your ears that you might know with all certainty and without any doubt that His death applies to you, His blood covers your sin, His righteousness is your righteousness.
Your King is coming to you, righteous and having salvation. The One who comes now by Word and sign is soon to come with inexplicable glory. Now a hint, then the full blast. This is the Day the season of Advent anticipates and prepares for. It really isn't so much a countdown for Christmas, Jesus' first advent, as it is a look forward to His final advent - that coming in great glory and power to judge the world in His righteousness. Luther said, "He will then not be bedded in the manger, nor ride on an ass, as He did in His first advent, but will burst forth from the clouds in great power and glory." What we now hear will be seen. What we now believe will be revealed to all. What we long and hope and wait for will be ours. What is promised will be delivered.
Then you will know, my dear baptized believers, what it means to be justified for Jesus' sake, when you rise from the dead (or are instantly changed), and are presented blameless and holy before the judgment throne of Christ to hear of the good He has accomplished in and through you.
Then you will see, my dear baptized believers, what you now hear, that your sins are forgiven, put as far from you as the east is from the west. Then you will possess in yourselves and experience for yourselves what you now long for and hope for, and what is already now true of you in Christ - life in abundance, life eternal, life in Jesus, life in union with all who trust in Him, life forever.
The day is coming soon. The King is ready to ride. The time is at hand. Prepare to greet your King. He comes to you righteous and having salvation. Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord.
In His Holy Name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr