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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sermon 12232012 Advent 4

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

Let us pray!  Heavenly Father, the Old Testament is full of prophets that foretell of a great miracle.  Deuteronomy clearly reveals this miracle to us that You will raise a prophet unlike any other.  This prophecy and promise are of the coming Savior, Jesus Christ.  May we not only remember this promise, but see with the eyes of faith the fulfillment of the coming Messiah.  For Jesus is not just a babe born in a manger, but a prophet, priest and King for all of mankind, including all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.

In the tradition of Lutheranism, we have what is known as “Confirmation”.  Some of our youth see it as something to endure or a hurdle to over-come, others see it as a learning opportunity where they will be introduced to the faith of the church.  One of the topics that is discussed in this class is the offices of Jesus Christ.  Unlike the office of President of the United States, Senator or Representative, or Sheriff of Sherman County, the offices that Jesus Christ fulfilled in His life, death and resurrection are simply, the office of prophet, priest and king.

Our Old Testament lesson this morning is a prophecy by Moses of the coming of a great prophet.  Moses writes, “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you”.  This prophet unlike Moses in function would have a special relationship with the Lord.  Moses continues, “I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.”  With a direct speaking role by the prophet, it is not just of a ‘figure person’ that is not respected, but the relationship revealed here has consequences that are dire for the hearer, including us today.  Moses continues, “It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.”  The consequences are clear, if we do not listen, “it”, also known as divine judgment will be levied and life itself as implied by Moses will be required of those who do not listen, heed or follow the teachings of the prophet.  This includes each and every one of us today.

Our society looks at divine judgment with disdain.  Some deny there is a God, some by our actions only call upon God when we are in direst need, like sickness, distress or doubt of what we are to do.  Clearly Moses is instructing the Old Testament people and us today that we are to call upon God and heed His call daily and calls for us to follow a vastly different reality.  Not only is it instruction for how we are to live, but also how we are to believe, hence the need for confirmation, Sunday School, bible study and daily reading, praying, marking and inwardly digesting the Word of God.  Yet, our sinfulness rationalizes away the need for this and replaces it with the radio, iPad, computer, television, cable, movies, sporting events and other worldly or earthly entertainment that has no moral fiber or leanings and requires nothing of us and only entertains us.

The real idea that Moses is instructing us about today is that there would come a prophet after Moses Who would turn the world upside down.  Not necessarily in the ways of man, but definitely in the ways of God.  The prophet Moses proclaims is coming is none other than Jesus Christ.  It is His coming in the flesh to save mankind that radically alters the paradigm of our world.  Jesus Christ being born in a humble manger, surrounded by animals and the stench and stink of the stalls reveals His humble beginnings that were clearly destined to change the world, not like a rich ruler, but by a humble child of a carpenter.

The prophet that Jesus was would tell, not of riches and things that would benefit the people of and on this earth, but of the eternal things that would not pass away.  Jesus Christ came and was willing and obedient even unto death for all of mankind.  Jesus Christ was the prophet that would radically change the perception of the world and alter our understanding of God, His Word and His promises.  In, through and by His coming into this world, Jesus Christ came to set us free from our sins by giving ‘it’, His life as a ransom for all of mankind.  This is what we are preparing for during this Advent season.  This is what Moses prophesied about and which we will celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  Jesus Christ in fulfillment of Moses prophesy came to set all of us free from our sins as the greatest gift given for all of mankind, especially all of us saints gathered here at Emmanuel this morning.  AMEN.
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