SERMON FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT, Nov. 29, 2015
Christ, Your Past, Present, and Future
Vicar Brad Akey


In the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.


In the famous novel entitled a "Christmas Carol," the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, was visited by three different ghosts. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future each brought a core theme of how Scrooge needed to fix his life. While this is a secular story there is quite a bit of overlap with the Advent season taking place. And no, I do not mean that both prepare for the Christmas season. What if I told you those three ghosts are an interpretation of what Christ does for us? That just as these ghosts came to Scrooge, Christ has come in the past, comes in the present, and will come again in the future. And just as the three ghosts came to fix Scrooge, so Christ comes to fix us, only Christ does not come proclaiming what we are to do as the ghosts do.


Christ has come, continues to come, and will come again to bring you home.


Now... they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is a key place for Jesus’ ministry. It is there that He pleads with God to remove the cup of wrath placed in front of Him, the night before His crucifixion. Christ also acknowledges that if this is God's will that He, being the perfect sacrifice, will go to death willingly. But what kind of significance does this place have here before the Triumphal entry? Here, Jesus acquires the beast of burden, the donkey.

SERMON FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT, Nov. 29, 2015
Christ, Your Past, Present, and Future
Vicar Brad Akey


In the name of Jesus our Lord. Amen.


In the famous novel entitled a "Christmas Carol," the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, was visited by three different ghosts. The ghosts of Christmas past, present, and future each brought a core theme of how Scrooge needed to fix his life. While this is a secular story there is quite a bit of overlap with the Advent season taking place. And no, I do not mean that both prepare for the Christmas season. What if I told you those three ghosts are an interpretation of what Christ does for us? That just as these ghosts came to Scrooge, Christ has come in the past, comes in the present, and will come again in the future. And just as the three ghosts came to fix Scrooge, so Christ comes to fix us, only Christ does not come proclaiming what we are to do as the ghosts do.


Christ has come, continues to come, and will come again to bring you home.


Now... they drew near to Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, to the Mount of Olives. The Mount of Olives is a key place for Jesus’ ministry. It is there that He pleads with God to remove the cup of wrath placed in front of Him, the night before His crucifixion. Christ also acknowledges that if this is God's will that He, being the perfect sacrifice, will go to death willingly. But what kind of significance does this place have here before the Triumphal entry? Here, Jesus acquires the beast of burden, the donkey.


Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’” Christ has come! The Son of David, our king was here! He was born of a virgin and called Emmanuel, which means "God with us."


In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The Lord is our righteousness. He became flesh that he might dwell among us to fulfill His purpose. The Savior had to come to us first if we were to come to Him. Here he rides to fulfill the promise of God. Jesus was coming into Jerusalem, coming to you, coming to die.


    The triumphal entry was Jesus entering into Jerusalem on the back of a young donkey. The text tells us exactly how he got the donkey and why he does. He said to his disciples, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Untie them and bring them to me.”


A beast of burden will carry what is ours upon itself, just as Christ bears our sins and carries them upon Himself to the cross. As Jesus told his disciples, tell anyone who would try to stop them, ‘The Lord needs them,’ so too He tells us regarding our sins, ‘The Lord needs them.’


This is the past coming of Jesus. He who became incarnate, would march to His death in the midst of His people. He came as a humble king, entered into Jerusalem, and would be the final scapegoat. History forever made at this point in time.


Behold, your king is coming to you. Notice here the tense used. The king IS COMING to you. This was not done by mistake, for Christ comes in this present time as well. In the Bible studies here at Luther Memorial Chapel, we have reviewed the liturgy and how Christ is here, now.


We do not say, “we begin in the name of the Father...,” but rather “in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,” because He is among us. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, Christ prays with us! This morning/weekend when Keziah was baptized and brought into God’s family, Christ was not far off. When we “take and eat,” “take and drink,” we eat and drink the true body and the true blood, not a symbol. He is physically before us in the Lord’s Supper, in Baptism, in His Word. He is active in the Divine Service.


    Therefore love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. Your master - your Lord - your God, is in your presence, will you refuse His command? Then love your neighbor, even if they should sin against you. Love them, as Christ has loved you. By fulfilling this you would fulfill both tables of the law. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. But this, you are not able to do. The Messiah is the only one who loves us perfectly, and He is the only one who has fulfilled the law of God.


That is why only His sacrifice was able to cleanse us all from our sins. That sacrifice is sufficient. Because of it you may put on the Lord Jesus Christ, even as Keziah was first clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ this morning/weekend. We read in Scripture, For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ (Gal 3:27). It is enough to satisfy your entire debt even to this day.


 Do not think that you are left alone to take on the world. No matter your struggle, you will not be abandoned. When you drown the Old Adam each day, Christ is with you. When you come to God in prayer, Christ is with you, praying alongside you. When you lean upon your foundation, Christ is with you – He is that foundation!  Christ bore the punishment of being forsaken in order that we do not. The debt has been fully paid, that when you do not love each other as you should, you may be forgiven. And you are forgiven even as Christ serves you.


From the book of Zechariah, which Matthew quotes, the prophet says, “Rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” We are to rejoice because the king’s coming is the most comforting thing to all sinful consciences and afflicted hearts. We can know that we are truly forgiven, because He is truly here saying it. We all know that when pastor absolves us, it is not his forgiveness which we are seeking, but that he brings the forgiveness of Christ! This is the present coming of Christ. He comes to us through the means of grace instituted by God for the forgiveness of our sins.  


His coming will be most pronounced on the final day, when the trumpets will blast. On that day every knee shall bow of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth (Phil 2:10). This will be the final coming of Christ. On this day He will send His messengers out to gather up all His faithful. The faithful bride will be brought to her bridegroom.


Just as Jeremiah tells Israel, “Then they shall dwell in their own land.” So shall you dwell in the land which Christ has prepared for you. Make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires, for you are not meant for this world. Rather you will be taken from the land in which sin and rebellion runs rampant, to the eternal kingdom. Jesus has come, continues to come, and will come to you for this reason. This is not from anything that you have done, but all has been done for you! 


No man knows when this day will come. We are told, the night is far gone; the day is at hand. Christ’s coming is imminent, therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Prepare yourself and gird your loins for the coming of the promised Messiah. The dawn will be soon be upon us, the dawn of a new age, one of righteous thanksgiving and eternal praise.


On this day we shall again say, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” This coming will not be in a manger, nor will it be on a beast of burden like the donkey. No longer coming as a humble king, but rather this coming will be in absolute victory! The Son of David shall take up His throne and all His people will enjoy their eternal promises. 


This is what we are celebrating this Advent. Advent is a time of preparing for the coming of our Messiah. One may ask, which coming? The correct answer is all of them. Jesus, came at one point in history born of a virgin, fulfilling His preordained purpose to save his people from their sins.


Our Emmanuel is still coming to us. He is present here and now in this Divine Service and forever present beside you in all that you do. The Bridegroom will come again in glory. On that final day He shall purge from our midst all who have rejected Him. On that day, all shall be fulfilled.


We give no thought to ghosts of Christmases past. Our sins of the past are gone – not by our doing but by the coming of the one mounted on the donkey. The humble king has washed us with His blood, in order that we be made white as snow. This He has done and continues to do in our baptism and in His Word of Absolution.  Christ is our past, our present, and our future. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
(414) 332-5732 |lmcusc@lmcusc.org

Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a