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Advent 1 2021
Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamilton, Ohio
Pastor Kevin Jud
November 28, 2021
Jeremiah 33:14-16, 1 Thessalonians 3:9-13, Luke 19:28-40
Text and Audio: immanuelhamiltonchurch.com click “sermons”
Full Service Audio: bit.ly/ImmanuelWorship
Some parades, like the July 4th parade, mark an annual remembrance; other parades mark the beginning of something, such as the opening day parade for the Reds.
This past Thursday the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City marked both an annual remembrance and the beginning of something. It is the annual celebration of the National Day of Thanksgiving and, perhaps more importantly for Macy’s, the kickoff of the Christmas shopping season as the final float carrying Old St. Nicholas takes up the rear. The parade gets you ready for Black Friday; the day after Thanksgiving, on which the retailers hope you spend lots of money.
In our Gospel reading today we have a parade down the Mount of Olives and into Jerusalem. Jesus is riding a young donkey down the hill while His followers lay their cloaks on the road so the colt does not step on the dirt. This parade down the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem marks the beginning of the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry. This parade marks a great transition for Jesus as He comes into Jerusalem to fulfill His calling on that dark Friday we call Good on which this King riding a donkey colt is sacrificed for the sins of the world.
At Jesus’ birth at Bethlehem angels announce to the shepherds Luke 2:10–12 (ESV) 10 … “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. An army of angels sings, Luke 2:14 (ESV) 14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
A baby’s birth announced by angels. This baby is the Christ. Christ is Jesus’ title. He is the anointed one. The chosen one. When the Magi come to Jerusalem they ask around, Matthew 2:2 (ESV) 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Herod the Great, who thinks he is king of the Jews, is not pleased with the news there is a new King of the Jews and he plots to kill Him. Jesus’ stepfather Joseph is warned to escape and flees by night with Jesus and Mary to Egypt.
Now, in broad daylight, Jesus parades on a donkey down the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem to shouts of, Luke 19:38 (ESV) 38 … “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord.” And words that echo the angels’ song at Jesus’ birth, “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”
Angels announce Jesus’ birth. Crowds announce Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem. The Pharisees want Jesus to shut them up, but there is no quieting the announcement of Jesus as King. Luke 19:40 (ESV) 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.” And that is what happens.
At the end of the week Jesus is crowned and put on His throne. The governor declares Him to be “Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews” and when His followers are silenced by grief and fear, the rocks indeed cry out as Jesus breathes His last. Matthew 27:51 (ESV) 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” Jesus accomplishes what He came to do.
Today is the first Sunday in Advent. Advent means coming into place; arrival. Today we hear about Jesus’ advent in Jerusalem at the beginning of that fateful week. He comes into place by riding a donkey into the city as prophesied in Zechariah 9:9 (ESV)
9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.” A donkey is the mount of a king who is coming in peace. Jesus has been on the way to Jerusalem and the cross for His whole ministry and now the time has come for Jesus to bring peace between God and man. Jesus has arrived.
As we begin the advent season and prepare to celebrate Jesus’ arrival on the scene as a baby in Bethlehem 33 years earlier, today we fast forward to the reason for the advent of our King. The birth, announced to lowly shepherds told to search for a baby lying in a manger, gives us a clue to what kind of king Jesus is. Jesus is the servant King, the suffering King, the sacrificial Lamb of God King. He is the King crowned with thorns and enthroned on the cross to accomplish His most glorious work of paying for the sins of the whole world.
This Advent season we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Baby Jesus and this is good. But, I fear, sometimes we can get so focused on Bethlehem, the city of David, that we forget that this son of David has a terrible, wonderful mission to accomplish in Jerusalem. Today, as we begin this new Church year, we focus on the goal of Jesus’ coming as God in flesh. Jesus came to die for your sins and rise from the dead to conquer death for you.
Advent is a busy season. As we look forward to celebrating Jesus’ birth, we also remember Jesus coming to Jerusalem as the sacrifice for sins, and look forward to Jesus coming again on the Last Day. We look forward to that day when Jesus and His parade of angels come to earth to raise the dead and ready the living in preparation for the judgment and eternal life in heaven for those clothed in Christ.
This beginning of a new church year we are reminded that Jesus came into our crazy, sin-filled world of turmoil to bring peace between God and man. Jesus brings peace between God and you. This morning Jesus comes to you in His Word declaring your sins forgiven. He comes to you in His body and blood to unite with you and strengthen you and preserve you in true faith. He comes to bring you the peace of God which is beyond understanding.
Jesus’ mounted parade on Palm Sunday marks the end of His ministry of preparing people for His coming to Jerusalem, it marks the beginning of Holy Week which brings Jesus’ teaching at the temple, the Last Supper where Jesus transforms the Passover meal into the Lord’s Supper, it brings Jesus arrest and trial, His abuse and condemnation before Pontius Pilate, His crucifixion, death and burial, His rest in the tomb, and His resurrection from the dead on Sunday morning.
Today, and throughout the year, we remember what Jesus came to do, what He continues to come into our midst to do, and we look forward to what He will come again in glory to do, for you, for eternity. Amen.