Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Advent 2 - mid-week

Lord God, heavenly Father, send forth Your Son, we pray, that he may lead home His bride, the Church, that we will all the redeemed may enter into Your eternal kingdom; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Introduction: One of the chapters of the famous novel "Marks of Love & Life" is entitled "Locked in a Room with Open Doors" And older brother threatens his brother who was afraid of open doors. He threatens "Some day I’m going to lock you in a room with open doors!"
Many of us share this condition. We are scared of freedom, adventure, and opportunities. Christ Jesus is the door to new possibilities. He is the One who has freed us from the bondage of sin, and of death, and of the power of the Devil. In our lesson for today we are told that Christ has come to liberate us. Christ has come to give to you salvation and life eternal. Christ this Christmas has come to open doors for you. Let’s consider the doors that He opens to us.

{1} Christ has come to open the door of witness. Listen to verse 1 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has sent me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom to the captives, and release from darkness for the prisoners…"Jesus was anointed with the Spirit to proclaim the good news of liberation for the oppressed. For those weighed down by the burdens of sin and strife Christ comes with good news. His message is one of mercy and hope. In Him there is forgiveness, life and salvation. He has come to break us free from the bondage of sin, of Satan, and misery.

{2} Christ has come to open the door of liberty. Listen to verse 2 "…to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn…" As God’s servant Jesus has been charged with telling the good news of God’s freeing His people held in bondage to Satan, and for those afflicted by Him. Satan would love for us to think that we can not achieve this mercy which is found in Christ. Thus Jesus comes for those who are cast down and worried by the worries and torments of the Devil. In the message that Jesus gives we find redemption and release from those chains which Satan would love to hold us to. Only in Him is there release from our sorrows. In Him we find restoration and forgiveness.

{3} Christ has come to open the door of comfort. Listen to verse 3 "…to bestow on them the oil of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a sprit of despair…." "Curse God and die!" was the message that Job heard. Give up on God! What has He done for you lately?! That is the temptation that the Devil throws at us to despair over sin and to give up on God. But God will never forsake His own. He is more concerned and more powerful then our sin and anything that Satan can place before us. In Him there is liberty, comfort and hope.

Conclusion: To a people who have seen destruction on every side who were wondering whether God had given up on them Isaiah comes with a message of comfort, and good will. God has not changed! He continues to come to us with the same message of good news. In Christ we find what we truly need from Him. He is the God of comfort – our hope in every kind of trouble. Rest in Him. For He is the One who has opened for us the door to freedom and life.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

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