ImageThey brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. Mark 117–8
We begin a new Church Year boldly begging for the advent of our risen Lord Jesus, His final coming to rescue and save us. Our boldness, however, is tempered with the humility of faith that says, “Nevertheless, Thy will be done.” For we know and even expect that His answer to our prayer will be hidden in mystery. It may be the mystery of our continued cry for mercy or the surprise of His final advent as victorious Lord and Judge of all. We know what followed our Lord’s humble entry into Jerusalem that great and holy week of His passion, namely, the mystery and surprise that His victory and the glory of God should be displayed for all the world on a cross. So today we pray with bold humility and confidence, for His coming and deliverance will always have a note of surprise—blessed surprise.
In the name of the Father and of the t Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
CONFESSION AND ABSOLUTION 1 John 18; John 316; Matthew 516
As we begin a new Church Year, let us put behind us everything in the past that would disqualify us from a new life, and remembering our Baptism, we boldly petition our Savior Jesus Christ, seeking for our entry into His presence and His plan and future for us, saying, stir up Your power, O Lord, and come, that by Your protection we may be rescued from the threatening perils of our sins and saved by Your mighty deliverance.
What are those threatening perils? I now ask you before God, who searches the heart, do you sincerely confess that you have sinned against God and deserved His wrath and punishment? I do confess.
So you should confess as Holy Scripture says, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Do you also repent of all your sins committed in thought, word, and deed? I do repent.
So you should repent as did King David, who prayed for a contrite heart; Peter, who wept bitterly; the sinful woman; the prodigal son; and others. Do you sincerely believe that God, by grace, for Jesus’ sake, will forgive you all your sins? I do believe.
So you should believe as Holy Scripture declares, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” Do you promise that with the aid of the Holy Spirit you will amend your sinful life? I do promise.
So you should promise for Christ the Lord says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Finally, do you believe that through me, a called servant of God, you will receive the forgiveness of all your sins? I do believe.
As you believe, even so may it be to you. Upon this, your confession, by the grace of God in our Lord Jesus Christ all your sins are forgiven in the name of the Father and of the t Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
PRAYER OF THE DAY
Let us pray. By Your own great power, O Lord, we pray that You come to us to protect us by Your might from all evil, and deliver and save us from our sins; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
OLD TESTAMENT READING Isaiah 641–9
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you! 2 As when fire sets twigs ablaze and causes water to boil, come down to make your name known to your enemies and cause the nations to quake before you! 3 For when you did awesome things that we did not expect, you came down, and the mountains trembled before you. 4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. 5 You come to the help of those who gladly do right, who remember your ways. But when we continued to sin against them, you were angry. How then can we be saved? 6 All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. 7 No one calls on your name or strives to lay hold of you; for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins. 8 Yet, O LORD, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. 9 Do not be angry beyond measure, O LORD; do not remember our sins forever. Oh, look upon us, we pray, for we are all your .
EPISTLE 1 Corinthians 13–9
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. 4 I always thank God for you because of his grace given you in Christ Jesus. 5 For in him you have been enriched in every way– in all your speaking and in all your knowledge– 6 because our testimony about Christ was confirmed in you. 7 Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 8 He will keep you strong to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 God, who has called you into fellowship with his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, is faithful.
HOLY GOSPEL Mark 111–10
As they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage and Bethany at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and just as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 3 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ tell him, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.'” 4 They went and found a colt outside in the street, tied at a doorway. As they untied it, 5 some standing there asked, “What are you doing, untying that colt?” 6 They answered as Jesus had told them to, and the let them go. 7 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it. 8 Many spread their cloaks on the road, while others spread branches they had cut in the fields. 9 Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” 10 “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”
The bible lessons for this Sunday raises important questions for this Advent season. Christian, do you know the identity of Jesus as Sovereign Lord of all creation? And if you do—then what is the proper way to prepare and welcome Him into your life? Which brings me to something that I’ve was wondering when studying for this sermon text. Maybe you’ve wondered this too. Did any anybody else put two and two together and wonder why just a few weeks shy of Christmas, we’re reading about the grown-up Jesus riding the donkey into Jerusalem, just a week away from his death? You may have wondered “did read the lectionary right?” Yeah it does seem like we have things a little out of order, doesn’t it?
Well, you see, Advent is more than a preparation for Christmas. Right now is the time of year when Christians around the world need to be asking this question Lord Jesus how should I prepare to and welcome you this season—and each day of my life? Brother and sisters in Christ remember as children of God we live by faith. In the letter of Hebrews we read (Hebrews 111) “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Every Christian ought to prepare each day for God’s Kingdom! In all situations we accept that God has prepared another home for us. As we cling to this truth, Christians will find true peace and comfort in this life. The nature of Jesus is Son of God and true man. He lived among us in order to give us salvation and preserve us in God’s Grace. And, Jesus born in a little town called Bethlehem, raised in an even littler town called Nazareth—never comes in the way we expect!
Today we Christians live temporarily in America. And we ought to keep focus on the reality that Jesus was born a man to save us from this sinful life. Tis not the season to be jolly. Some of our states governors cancelled Thanksgiving and even made it a jailable crime to have gatherings in homes. Christmas has never been about black Friday deals and presents under the tree. And spreading Christmas cheer is not about displaying signs that read “put Christ back into Christmas!” Christians just take a look at the signs of the times. We have lock downs, our churches are ordered to shut their doors, as are schools, and there’s increasing political and social unrest. These are the signs of the times. Whatever Advent season has come to be, is not defined by the —Christians need to go back to God’s Word for the answer!
The season of Christmas in this country has come almost to an abrupt halt! In past years the excitement began at Thanksgiving and lasted well through Christmas Day. This year many Church doors will closed and Sanctuaries empty. There won’t be a traditional Macy’s Parade, or many traditional work and social parties, contact with community gatherings, or traveling to be with family, friends or much store shopping. God never intended for humanity to ban social contact. Is this the new definition of living life? So we cry out, Lord how should I meet you? Lord Jesus how should I welcome you?
Well the bible is the place to answer this question. Hosanna! “Dear God, please save us.” And the bible shows us that God never comes in the way we expect! Today our Old Testament reading of Isaiah gives a true insight to how God interacts in the lives of the of His creation. Reading the bible reverses our expectations of who God is and what God should be doing. In the reading from Isaiah, he prays “O God, that you would tear open the heavens and come down,” he’s praying that God would come down on the whole corrupt bunch of humanity and wipe out, enemies and allies alike. The alliances that think join them together, in reality pits nation against nation, neighbor against neighbor, family against family. Because Isaiah knows the real score, by the grace of God it was revealed to him that, the moment God takes Himself out of the picture, everything literally goes to hell, everything falls apart. “We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 646).
Let’s take a real good honest look at Marks gospel. Taking it at face value what do the find when they welcome Jesus? Well, they find interruption—their way of thinking, their way of settling into this life. Jesus is entering Jerusalem on the Passover. The celebration remembering when God delivered Israel out of the bondage and slavery from Pharaoh in Egypt. On Passover the traditional lamb would be slaughtered for atonement. But when King Jesus comes into Jerusalem that day, His entry interrupts the sort of celebration the are used to. Jesus comes into Jerusalem to suffer and to die as God’s ultimate Passover Lamb. Jesus’ sacrifice interrupts the monotonous routines of sin and death.
Jesus the humble King doesn’t make an appearance in royal splendor or with military might. No, Jesus parades through the crowd as the Servant who embraces the cross—He suffers, He is in agony, He dies, for you and me and all humanity. And if Jesus had not humbly entered into Jerusalem to willing die on the cross, all humanity would have been swallowed up in our own pride and left to our many selfish ambitions. But with the words of Ps 11825-26, the crowds confess Jesus as Lord, even as they cry out to him, pleading Jesus with their glad hosannas which means “save now.”
They yearn for salvation from the oppression of the Roman government. They yearn to be free from following laws which restrict their livelihood. Most of all they yearn for the freedom to worship God in their lives, not in the Temple under the scrutiny of government. They want Jesus to lead a military defeat and restore Jerusalem to the Jewish nation. Not so the plan of God. True salvation comes only with the shedding of Jesus’ blood. He is the Blessed One, because only by hanging on the cross does God send the blessings of heaven—forgiveness of sins and peace with God—down to earth. of every generation embracing this truth find real peace and comfort now and true hope now!
Advent is the beginning of a New Year to hear the hope that this Jesus is Immanuel, God with us. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (v9). How does Jesus come to us? Powerfully!!! When God brought you to the waters of Baptism, as He speaks promises to you through His Word and remains with you, giving Himself to you with Take and eat. . . Take and drink . . .(Matthew 2820) “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Where the King comes, there comes his kingdom (v10). We don’t build God’s kingdom with our efforts. It’s a pure gift. The Lord’s Prayer reminds us of this truth, “Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth!” Jesus’ kingdom is established by his death and resurrection. We do not come to the kingdom; it comes to us!!! Brothers and sisters in Christ, God has brought us into his kingdom by the faith-creating Gospel. I want to remind you the words of the Catechism “God’s kingdom comes when our heavenly Father gives us His Holy Spirit, so that by His grace we believe His holy Word and lead godly lives here in time and there in eternity” (Acts 238) (Luther’s Small Catechism, p 20).
Lord how should I meet you? Lord Jesus how should I welcome you in this season and each day of my life? Every Christian does it by thanking God daily, having faith and trusting He is protecting you each moment of your life into eternal life. Paul writes, (Ephesians 320-21) “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” See, your King comes to you, no longer on a borrowed donkey, but with his Word and Sacrament. He comes to claim you as his very own. He comes to take away your shame and to restore to you the joy of salvation. “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” (Mt 219). AMEN!!!
I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, Begotten of his Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.
He suffered and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures and ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And he will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose kingdom will have no end.
And I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And I believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church I acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and I look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
Psalm 981-2 “Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.” Almighty God, our Father, we give You thanks that You bring us once again into a new Church Year. Help us to proclaim Your great love for the world in the sending of Your only-begotten Son as the Child of the Virgin Mary, the Lamb proclaimed by John the Baptist, the teacher of the holy apostles, the sacrifice for the sins of the world on the cross, and the risen Savior of all, who will come again in glory on the Last Day. Lord, keep us in this confession and faith. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Proverbs 411 “I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths. When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.” Supply Your whole Church on earth with faithful s and laborers who will continually feed and lead Your , rightly proclaiming Your Word, administering Your Holy Sacraments, and caring for all in their charge. Guard and bless Your servant [Matthew], our Synod President, and [Greg], our District President. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
1 Timothy 21 “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” Bless and direct all to live in peace and safety, we ask You to continually bless and direct those in the authority of government in the USA. Grant that they rule according to Your Will and by Your grace. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Psalm 10719-21 “Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent forth his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave. Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men.” Comfort, O Lord, all who are in illness, [especially . . .]. Grant healing, peace, and courage for all bearing their crosses to Your praise and honor. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayer.
Isaiah 96-7 “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.” As Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, came down to us at Christmas and now comes to us by Your Spirit in Your Word, we pray for His final coming to deliver us all in the great day of the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Lord, we commend all for whom we pray, trusting in Your mercy; through Your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
LORD’S PRAYER Matthew 69–13
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.
The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make His face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord look upon you with favor and t give you peace. Numbers 624–26 Amen.