Sermon for 1st Sunday in Advent – Nov. 29, 2020

 

+ 1st Sunday in Advent – November 29th, 2020 +

Series B: Isaiah 64:1-9; 1 Corinthians 1:3-9; Mark 11:1-10

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“Hosanna! Lord, Save Us!”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

“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!”

 

Hosanna is the Palm Sunday word. But it’s also an Advent word. Hosanna. It means “Lord, save us.” A perfect word for our prayers this year. A perfect word for Advent. Hosanna. Lord, save us. This is what Advent is all about. The Lord Jesus coming to save us.

 

Prepare the royal highway, the King of kings is near. The kingly blue paraments are up. The Advent wreath is out. And we hear about Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. No, that’s no accident.

 

The key lies in the word “advent,” from the Latin “adventus,” meaning arrival or coming of a dignitary. It’s the Latin word chosen to translate the Greek word “parousia” which usually refers to the coming of Christ in glory on the Last Day. And that’s the connection. The One who came in humility, riding atop a borrowed donkey, is coming soon. Jesus’ second His advent is near. And in order to rightly understand Jesus’ final advent in glory, we need to understand Jesus’ other advents, including His advent in humility.

 

Surprisingly, a borrowed donkey is the main one of the main characters in this story. It didn’t belong to Jesus or to His disciples. It was just there, just as Jesus said it would be. So, Jesus tells His disciples to untie it and bring it to him. And if anyone should ask, and who wouldn’t ask, especially if you were the owner of the donkey, they were to just say, “The Lord needs it.” So the disciples brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.

 

Here’s yet another surprise in this story. Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a beggar King on a borrowed donkey. You’d think a horse would be more fitting for the occasion. Proper kings rode horses. Egyptian horses were the best. King Solomon loved to collect Egyptian horses almost as much as he loved collecting wives and concubines. But his father, King David, preferred the steady, stable ride of a donkey to that of a horse. So does David’s son and David’s Lord.

 

The crowd picks upon on it. “Hosanna! (Lord, save us!) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!” They recognized and hailed Jesus as the Davidic king who was to come, the promised Son of David who would establish David’s throne and kingdom forever.

There was just one problem, however. Their minds were fixed on an earthly kingdom; on liberation from Roman rule, on reestablishing the proper throne of David, on reviving the glory of Israel and bringing the kingdom of God to the earth. But Jesus’ declares that his kingdom is not of this world. His is no earthly kingdom, but an eternal kingdom that transcends all kingdoms of this earth. He was riding into Jerusalem to die and rise, and in dying and rising to conquer Sin and Death for the world.

No wonder He wasn’t the sort of King people were expected. His advent wasn’t the sort of coming they were looking for: A virgin mother. A manger. A child growing up in Nazareth. A King for a day riding into Jerusalem on a donkey he didn’t own. A cross. A tomb. Not the sort of stuff that kings are made of. Kings have crowns of gold not of thorns. Kings live in palaces and have places to lay their heads. Kings have thrones not crosses. Kings have armies that fight for them. This King comes from above to conquer from below. His victory is His own death and resurrection. He does the fighting and His subjects receive the blessing.

 

That was Jesus’ first Advent. And while we await his final advent, his second coming, still he comes. Jesus advents himself among us. The same Jesus who rode atop a borrowed donkey to make His advent in Jerusalem, makes His advent among us now by way of Word and sacrament. Like his first Advent, it’s hidden and humble one. Jesus borrows our words to speak to us. Jesus borrows our water to baptize us. Jesus borrows our bread and wine to feed us His body and blood. “The Lord has need of them.” Jesus humbly uses the stuff of this creation to bring us a taste of eternity.

 

This is Jesus’ second advent, in which He comes to us to make us His own, to baptize us into His own death and life, to feed us with His death and life, and so to give us a portion and share of what He won for all on the cross. Just like His first advent, this second advent is humble and rejectable. Jesus forces His presence on no one. You can reject it. You can close your ears to the Word preached to you. You can close your mouths to the Supper offered to you. You can live as though you weren’t baptized. That’s your old Adam, who wants to be king over all and subject to no one. That’s the “sinner” at work in you who wants a power king rather than a crucified one, a king who will solve your problems, do you favors on demand, make your life easy.

 

But that’s not why Jesus came. And it’s not why he comes now. Jesus comes to forgive you. To cover your sin with His own sacrificial blood and righteousness. To justify you. He comes to free you from captivity to Sin and Death so that Sin will no longer have dominion over you and Death will not swallow you up. He comes in the power of His victory over Sin and Death, the power of His own Death and Resurrection, to break the chains that hold you down, to liberate you from fear and dread and terror of judgment, to show you God’s mercy and kindness.

 

Hosanna. Lord, save us. That’s what Advent is all about. Jesus comes to save you. Jesus comes to you in the most creaturely and humble of ways. Words spoken into ears, water splashed on your head, than bread and wine given into our mouths. Once He came by way of manger and borrowed donkey. Now He comes to you in borrowed words, water, bread and wine to hear your Hosanna cries and to save you.

 

There’s also a third advent of Jesus. When, instead of a borrowed donkey, Jesus will ride the clouds of heaven. Instead of hidden humility, He will come in glory. Instead of a cross, there will be a throne. For your sin, there will be forgiveness. For your death, there will be life. For your loss, there will be gain and a kingdom that has no end.

 

That is why on this first Sunday in Advent we hear Jesus’ Palm Sunday entry into Jerusalem.

That is why it is good to pray, Hosanna. Lord, save us!

A blessed Advent season to each of you…

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

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