Sermon Recording for 2nd Sunday in Advent – December 6, 2020

+ 2nd Sunday in Advent  – December 6, 2020 +

Series B: Isaiah 40:1-11; 2 Peter 3:8-14; Mark 1:1-8

Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church

Milton, WA

 

“The Voice”

 

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

 

For over 400 years there was no prophet in Israel. The Word of the Lord did not come to. Yes, God’s people had his Word from Genesis to Malachi. Yet, there had been no messenger since Malachi’s closing words 400 years before. God was silent.

 

But then one day, in the Judean wilderness, a prophet, a herald, a messenger appeared. At long last, God broke his silence. Finally, God sent a prophet. God sent the Voice.

 

“Behold, I send my messenger before your face,  who will prepare your way, the voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,’”

 

Mark’s Gospel introduces this mysterious prophetic voice a little bit like a contestant on one of those recent singing reality shows like The Masked Singer or The Voice, where they’re hidden from the judges or crowds while they sing, and then revealed.

 

The crowds from all over Judea and Jerusalem came out to hear the Voice. Who is he? Is he a prophet like Moses preparing Israel for the promised land? Is he a herald like Isaiah declaring the arrival of YHWH’s servant, Immanuel? Is he a messenger like Malachi called to prepare the way of the Lord who is coming into His temple?

 

Who is the Voice? He is Malachi’s messenger preparing the way of the Lord. He is God’s last word before the coming of the Word in the Flesh. He is Isaiah’s Voice calling in the wilderness. It is John the Baptist. John the preacher, prophet, forerunner, the Voice. And if John the Baptist is preacher, Christ is his only sermon. If John is the messenger, the good news of God’s gracious reign and rule in Jesus is his constant message. If John is the Voice, it is God’s Word of warning and consolation that he proclaims.

John’s appearance marks a transition from old to new, from prophetic time to the fullness of time. John stands in the Judean wilderness with one foot in the Old and one in the New. He comes in the spirit of Elijah and all the prophets who came before him, and yet he is the herald of the dawning reign of God in Jesus.

And so it’s no accident that John appears in the wilderness. In the Scriptures, the wilderness is the place you want to journey through. Not the place you want to live. It’s the place God’s people pass through on their way from slavery to freedom. When Mark begins his gospel in wilderness he wants you to have that story in mind.

 

The wilderness is the place of temptation, testing, danger, and death. It’s easy to lose your way, to wander. In the wilderness there are no homes, and no place to make a home. In the wilderness, everything you need to live isn’t easily available, if it’s available at all. In the wilderness things are beyond your control.

 

The wilderness is also a place of confessing. Mark says that all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

 

God sends John to prepare the way for Jesus. And for John preparation means two things: repentance and forgiveness. For the crowds. For you. For me. How do we prepare – or rather how does God prepare us – for Jesus’ coming? The same way John did in the wilderness. by confessing our sins. To confess literally means to say the same words. To say that the politically incorrect truth: that we are poor miserable sinners. To cry out, Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. To say yes, Lord, it’s true; I am a great sinner. But it’s also true that you are a greater Savior.

 

In many ways we still live in the wilderness. In days of temptation. Testing. Trials. Death and danger surround us. Yet God continues to send His Voice. His Word. To you. In this wild mess that we have made of our life, into a wilderness that constantly threatens, the voice cries out: “Prepare the way of the Lord.”

 

Fear not. Jesus is near. He’s coming. He’s not waiting until you can find the way out of the wilderness, or until you can make your way to him. He is forging his way through the wilderness to you. Jesus joins us in the wilderness. Jesus carries us out the road he’s traveling to the cross, through the grave, and out again. Jesus comes to save you.

 

This is why John is out there in the wilderness. The Voice, preparing us for Jesus’ coming. After all, what’s most important about John isn’t John at all, but the One John proclaims: Jesus the Christ. The true prophet Moses foretold who not only speaks God’s Word, he is the very Word of God in human flesh. The very same Suffering Servant and Immanuel – God with us – declared by Isaiah. In Jesus the Lord not only comes into his temple, but he himself in his body is the very temple, the dwelling place of God with man who was destroyed and in three days was raised up again.

 

John preached, saying, “After me comes he who is mightier than I, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to stoop down and untie.  I have baptized you with water, but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”

 

John was right. Jesus is the mightier One. Mightier than John. Mightier than our sin. Mightier than even death and hell itself. And though we, like John, are not worthy to stoop down and untie his sandals, Jesus walks into the wilderness for you. Jesus walks to the cross for you. Jesus walks out of the tomb for you.

 

In Jesus, God’s gracious rule and reign has come. In Jesus, all God’s promises stand fulfilled. In Jesus, we continue to hear God’s word of comfort. In Jesus, we are repented and forgiven. In Jesus,

In Jesus, you are baptized with water, word, and the Holy Spirit. In Jesus you are fed His body and blood for your journey in the wilderness. In Jesus, you are prepared and are at peace with God.

 

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.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977
E-mail
staff@mybslc.com