Saturday, December 18, 2010

Advent 4

Stir up Your power and come to us, bringing light into the darkness of our hears; for You live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit, One God now and forever. Amen

The high cost of Christmas is a topic getting plenty of press these days. Some will spend way beyond their means, going into debt which will not be paid for months. Though Christmas may be costly so some consider what it cost God. Jesus was a precious gift. It cost the Father His all. While for us it is only money. Consider today the high cost of Christmas.

1. Cost Himself – Emmanuel God with us. Vs. 23

A. Jesus is unique among all humans.

1. Conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a human mother Jesus enters our world sinless.

2. As the sinless Son of God He will give up His divine power. He did not and would not fully use the divine attributes communicated to His human nature. He could have turned stones into bread. He could ask the Father to send down legions of angels at His defense. He could have taken His kingdom by force. Yet He chose not to.
B. This is the only change the Father has to win the world and free it from sin and corruption.

1. Then the owner of the vineyard said, “What shall I do? I will end My Son, whom I love. Perhaps they will respect Him”. But when the tenants saw Him, they talked the matter over, ‘This is the heir’, they said, ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours’. So they threw Him out of the vineyard and killed Him. [Luke 20:13-14]

2. God who is the author of second chances has none for His own Son. If the world is not redeemed by Him all is lost. There is no other option. There is no other way. There would be no hope. This child to be born is Emmanuel – God who is with us. He is the only solution for the world today.

Transition: Christmas cost God Himself. It cost Him pride and humility.

2. The cost of Humility – Jesus is born of a virgin Vs. 18

A. Is the virgin birth offensive to you? Matthew simply tells us before marriage Mary was “found” to be with child. That is putting it mildly for those times. Joseph knows two realities – his betrothed is pregnant. He is not the father. He experiences betrayal, humiliation, shame, disgrace. His life is forever changed.

B. Rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. [Romans 5:7] Joseph is a good man. Joseph is obedient. He did what the angel commanded him to do. He makes no protest. He does not hesitate. Jesus has a godly father in Joseph. Out of compassion he had planned to put Mary away quietly and privately to avoid a scandal and humiliation. He will have no union with her until after Jesus is born.

Transition: The cost of Christmas cost the Father, it involved humility. It came at the cost of the cross.

3. The cost of the cross – He will save His people from their sins. Vs. 21

A. Jesus is altogether God’s work. He saves them from their sin. He came in time for You. He carries your sins, burdens and cares. He becomes your redeemer.

B. He saves you with the goods the world considers foolish. He choose to be found in those places the world would least expect. He chooses to reveal Himself in those places the world considers unimportant. He chooses to exert His power in what an unbelieving world considers weak and of little consequence.

The cruel cross of Calvary looms ahead of us. Does the death of a condemned man seem compelling enough to offer atonement? Could His life and sacrifice really save you? The surroundings and the circumstances of His birth predict His death. They are the means by which we find peace with God and absolution for our sin.

Schnorr von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS used by permission for private and congregational use

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