Sermon Text: Advent 1B; The Lord Comes to Us in Unexpected Ways

November 29, 2020 Church Blog, Sermons, Sunday Message0
Advent 1B; The Lord Comes to Us in Unexpected Ways

Advent 1B: Is 64, The Lord Comes to Us in unexpected ways

  1. What is it about us as people that we’re always curious to “see” God or see some great manifestation of Divine power
    1. For many years I’ve been interested in shows and movies whose main story line is the battle between angels and demons and the end of the world
      1.  Probably not so PC for a pastor but it’s fascinating to see a secular portrayal of the spiritual warfare that the Bible reveals
      1. To think about the spiritual reality just out of our sight that is revealed throughout the pages of Scripture.
    1. But it’s not all that unusual, people have always desired to catch a glimpse of the divine
      1. Even Moses said to the Lord in Ex 33, “show me your glory.”
      1. Remember this is the Moses who sat with the Lord in the tent of meeting, received the 10 Commandments on Mt Sinai, saw Him in the burning bush – but it wasn’t enough.
      1. He knew it wasn’t a complete revelation of God, he wanted more
      1. But God replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD’…but you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live
  2. Sinful human curiosity is never satisfied with what God has revealed about Himself or with what He’s done for us in the past, it always seeks more, as we see in the OT lesson
    1. The year was probably somewhere around 700
      1. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had already fallen to Assyria
      1. Much uncertainty existed about the Southern Kingdom’s future
      1. Of course, the children of Israel (north and south) had been warned repeatedly to turn from their sin which they didn’t.
      1. They had forsaken the God who had delivered them from Egypt and had patiently waited centuries for them to return to Him
    1. Here Isaiah was looking forward about 150 years in the future when the southern kingdom would be carried away in exile
      1. When those exiles would cry aloud to God for deliverance, “Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at your presence…to make your name known to your adversaries, and that the nations might tremble at your presence!”
      1. The language is reminiscent of God’s appearing at Mt. Sinai when the Lord first delivered Israel out of Egypt and revealed Himself to the people.
      1. We hear the account in Ex 19, And the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.” On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled…Now Mount Sinai was wrapped in smoke because the LORD had descended on it in fire…and the whole mountain trembled greatly. (Exo 19:9,16-18)
      1. But as we hear in chapter 20 it was too much for them, “Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” (Exo 20:18-19)
    1. That’s what the people hoped for here that God would reveal Himself in that kind of raw power and glory that He would carry out vengeance on their captors!
      1. But there’s hesitation at the realization that they brought the captivity on themselves: “Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved? We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
      1. The realization that sin separates from God, that they can do nothing to repair that breech and therefore they don’t deserve His intervention
      1. Maybe they don’t really want the kind of intervention they were asking for
      1. But God did rescue His people again, in unexpected ways: rather than shock and awe He delivered His people through Cyrus a pagan king who allowed Israel’s peaceful return from captivity by the stroke of a pen
  3. This prefigured the God Who would come in the most unexpected way to save the world from the rule of sin and death, not in power but humility
    1. Advent is the season that anticipates the Lord’s intervention in history through His Son, Jesus
      1. Our Gospel takes place on Palm Sunday at the end of Jesus’ ministry as He came into Jerusalem in fulfillment of Messianic expectation, “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest
      1. The people of Jerusalem thought, as OT Israel, surely God was going to reveal His powerful right arm now – the mountains will indeed quake
    1. But this king’s work wasn’t going to be done in power, rending the heavens, but on a cross, in a display of human weakness and public humiliation
      1. But that’s the way His life began, too, in humility in a manger in Bethlehem – to the world’s eyes He came in obscurity and departed in shame
      1. But even so Paul reminds us that, “in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,”
      1. Here was the full revelation of God, “veiled in flesh the Godhead see, hail the incarnate Deity,” to reveal what Divine power and glory really look like
      1. And cloaked in human weakness Paul says, “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them,” through the cross, paying the penalty of all of our sins!
  4. It hasn’t stopped – God continues to come in unexpected ways intervening for us now
    1. We often sound like Isaiah or Moses, looking for God to reveal His glory
      1. If only He’d show up like we want all of our problems would go away
      1. If only He’d show up like I want I’d the I’d believe
      1. We’re still not satisfied with how and when God reveals Himself
    1. Though it may not look like much (we don’t see the heavens rent asunder) the power and promise of what He’s doing for us are hidden under ordinary means
      1. Just as under the unassuming veil of a carpenter’s son from Nazareth dwelt the fullness of deity who presence was the promise of our salvation
      1. Today, He continues to come to us with the forgiveness of sins and victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil won on the cross
      1. He promises that when we gather in His Name, He is here among us, when we confess our sins you hear Him say “I forgive you,”
      1. In our sacraments He says to you, “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit…”; “Take, eat, this is my body…take, drink this is my blood for YOU”
    1. Our Lord is not a God who is far off but right here with us as He has always been, He still comes in unexpected ways
      1. Do not despise the apparently lowly means that our savior King uses to deliver His grace and strength!
      1. As Paul says, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong
      1. He comes to those of faith with the mercy and peace we need hidden in plain sight to the unbelieving world as a gift for you.
      1. This Advent season look for Your Lord where He promises that He is found, in His Word and Sacrament for you!