Vicar Zachary Marklevitz


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: The meaning of Advent is the arrival of the Christ. As we begin a new church year we hear the prophet Jeremiah who prophesied a coming Messiah. The Israelites anxiously waited for these days to be fulfilled. The Messiah would be brought up from the line of David. He would bring justice and righteousness to the land. Jeremiah proclaimed that this Messiah would be called, “‘The Lord is our righteousness!’ Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely.”


The Israelites expected justice on earth. They expected a monarch that would come riding on horseback in worldly splendor for whom everything depended on his authority. He would right the wrong for his people. He would save his people and secure their nation. These were shared expectations for many Israelites. Even the disciples asked the resurrected Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” These were the expectations of the coming Messiah. In time, these expectations became clouded. These earthly expectations led some Israelites to miss the presence of the true Messiah, who was among them. 


Today, we still desire earthly justice. We want the wrong to be made right. This is good! However, our expectations can cause us to wait for another messiah. We hope someone, or something, will bring us earthly justice.


We may not admit it, or even realize it, but we desire to see a messiah-like figure come and fix the world’s problems. In our built-up anticipation, this messiah could enter through many avenues. Some of us hope for a political figure to rise in power. Our expectation is for this person to bring high moral standards and be a decisive commander in chief. Others hope for a reformation in the judicial system that would orchestrate justice and morality. And some of us hope for justice through education. Perhaps if people knew more, then justice could be served through civil conversations and discussions. The list of our expectations goes on and on.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be upset and saddened by the wrongs in this world. We are bombarded with stories of the unjust, the unrighteous, and the evil in this world. This, fellow Christian, should sadden you and make you cry out for justice. But do not look for a coming earthly messiah or messianic system that will right our world’s wrong. 

SERMON FOR THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT, 11-30-14
Vicar Zachary Marklevitz


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ: The meaning of Advent is the arrival of the Christ. As we begin a new church year we hear the prophet Jeremiah who prophesied a coming Messiah. The Israelites anxiously waited for these days to be fulfilled. The Messiah would be brought up from the line of David. He would bring justice and righteousness to the land. Jeremiah proclaimed that this Messiah would be called, “‘The Lord is our righteousness!’ Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely.”


The Israelites expected justice on earth. They expected a monarch that would come riding on horseback in worldly splendor for whom everything depended on his authority. He would right the wrong for his people. He would save his people and secure their nation. These were shared expectations for many Israelites. Even the disciples asked the resurrected Jesus, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom of Israel?” These were the expectations of the coming Messiah. In time, these expectations became clouded. These earthly expectations led some Israelites to miss the presence of the true Messiah, who was among them. 


Today, we still desire earthly justice. We want the wrong to be made right. This is good! However, our expectations can cause us to wait for another messiah. We hope someone, or something, will bring us earthly justice.


We may not admit it, or even realize it, but we desire to see a messiah-like figure come and fix the world’s problems. In our built-up anticipation, this messiah could enter through many avenues. Some of us hope for a political figure to rise in power. Our expectation is for this person to bring high moral standards and be a decisive commander in chief. Others hope for a reformation in the judicial system that would orchestrate justice and morality. And some of us hope for justice through education. Perhaps if people knew more, then justice could be served through civil conversations and discussions. The list of our expectations goes on and on.


Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, we should be upset and saddened by the wrongs in this world. We are bombarded with stories of the unjust, the unrighteous, and the evil in this world. This, fellow Christian, should sadden you and make you cry out for justice. But do not look for a coming earthly messiah or messianic system that will right our world’s wrong. 


A Messiah has already come that is much greater than anything that we can imagine here on earth. He has made our wrongs right before God. We have been given a hope far greater than any earthly messiah could achieve. Righteousness is not from a nation. It cannot be obtained in the world. But our righteousness is from Christ. Our hope is set on the living God who is the Savior of all people. Our hope is set on the Messiah that came to us and will come to us again.


This Messiah does not come as a monarch riding on horseback in worldly splendor. “Behold, your [Messiah] is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey.” He is our king and Lord. “The Lord is our righteousness.” We have been made awake and righteous in the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus. St. Paul’s proclamation to the Romans applies to the Church of Christ then and now, “the hour has come for you to wake from sleep!”


For us to be awake, we realize that this same Messiah, the one who is coming to you humbly on a donkey, leaves the worldly splendor for others. We watch as others in the limelight come to us riding on a great stallion and with empty promises. We have heard claims to bring justice into our fallen world. Yet, we are always left disappointed. We have often been given blatant lies.


Our Messiah did not ride to us on a great stallion and proclaim empty promises. He came to us mounted on a donkey fulfilling what had been spoken by the prophets. These prophets had many beautiful and precious prophecies concerning the coming Messiah, or Christ, their King. He would establish His everlasting kingdom and eternally help and save His people from all evil. This is what Jesus fulfilled. Not with worldly glory, but by coming like a beggar.


We are the beggars! We are poor in patience for one another and we fail to love each other. We become distracted with our own lives. We seek an earthly messiah, or system, that preserves or enhances the life we already have. We become self-centered and we quarrel with one another. We become jealous of those who have what we want. We fail to love our neighbors. We fail to fulfill the law. In our hearts we covet. In our heart we commit adultery and murder. We are the beggars!


Our Messiah comes to us, humble. His throne is a cross and his crown is made of thorns. This is the epitome of the unjust, the unrighteous, and the evil of the world. We bring a violent and bloody death to a man that was completely innocent. We place Him in a tomb. But the hour came for Him to awaken in His resurrection. Here, He executed justice and righteousness in the land. He made our wrong, right. He now calls us to be awake for the hour of our coming resurrection. In all of history, there is no king like Jesus Christ. In his death and resurrection, he removes our wrong, all of our sins. He rescues us from eternal death and damnation. He brings us more than earthly justice, but executes justice and righteousness in all lands before God. His death and resurrection gives us eternal life.


This New Church Year we put on the Lord Jesus Christ. This Advent, as we proclaim the coming of the Christ in flesh, we know that He came to us in love. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. We are the neighbors and we are the beggars. Still, Jesus, who fulfilled the Law, came to us in perfect love. He did not purchase us with gold or silver, but with His precious and holy blood. Our King does not come to us as a taskmaster, but as humble servant. He invites us to His table. At this table we receive our King and His gifts; His gifts are forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The Lord is our righteousness. His kingdom is eternal. The hour has come that we may be His own and live under Him in His kingdom and serve Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence, and blessedness. Just as Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, lives, and reigns to all eternity. This hope is not an empty promise. This hope is given to us by the Messiah that fulfilled the Word of the prophets. This hope is the same Word that resurrected the Messiah. This Word, now gives us the hope of our own resurrection into the eternal kingdom of the true Messiah, the Christ, our Lord. We will be gathered in crowds, shouting, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” In the name of Jesus. Amen.

Luther Memorial Chapel & University Student Center | 3833 N Maryland Ave | Shorewood, WI  53211
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Divine Service: Sundays - 9:00a Mondays - 7:00p Bible Study & Sunday School: Sundays - 10:45a