Posts

Showing posts from 2013

Rachel's Hope

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The text for this first Sunday after Christmas is Matthew 2:18: “A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.” So, how was your Christmas?I dare say, far better than Rachel’s.Far better than the mothers of Bethlehem who grieve the death of their baby boys.So, whose idea was it to put this dreadful text into our readings for this Sunday?Where’s the quiet pastoral scene with adoring shepherds, and lowing cattle, and the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay?The wise men bearing gifts for the Child?Where’s the peace on earth, good will toward men?The tidings of comfort and joy? Alas, Rachel weeps!She refuses to be comforted, because her children are no more.Worse than that, the Rachel here is not one, but many.Rachel was the wife of Jacob, the father of Israel, and her grave lies near Bet…

The Gift of Christmas Presence

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! The story is told of a man and his son.For the weeks and days before Christmas, the son kept pestering his father, saying, “Dad, what are you going to get me for Christmas?”Hard to believe for you parents, I know.“I want this” and “I want that” and “What are you going to get me?” Finally, the father said, “Son, stop saying that.Christmas isn’t about getting.It’s about giving.” The father was pleased when he saw his son quietly thinking about this.Perhaps he was learning the real meaning of Christmas.Then the boy asked quite seriously: “Dad, on Christmas, what are you going to give me?” Thanks to Old Adam, our sinful nature, we have a way of messing up the whole idea of gifts.Gifts are, by definition, undeserved.A paycheck is not a gift because you’ve done the work to earn it.A bonus is not a gift, because—even though it’s more than you usually earn—you’ve still worked to earn it.A gi…

The Genesis of Jesus (2.0)

Image
Click here to listen to this sermon.

The text for today is our Gospel lesson, Matthew 1:18-25. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.”So begins our text.Actually, the Greek word translated as birth is “genesis,” the same word used for the first book of the Bible.Depending on its context, the word can mean “birth,” “genealogy,” “beginning,” or “origin.” We know from Scripture that as the Son of God, Christ had no beginning.He’s at the Father’s side from eternity.But we also know that as a human being He had a beginning, and it’s this origin the evangelist relates.Matthew tells us of the way the Messiah assumed human nature and took upon Himself our flesh. No other person had an origin in this way.Oh, yes, the origin of Adam was wonderful: “God formed the first man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).But the origin of th…

The Genesis of Jesus

Image
The text for today is our Gospel lesson, Matthew 1:18-25, which has already been read. Grace, mercy, and peace to you from God the Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.”So begins our text.Actually, the Greek word translated as birth is “genesis,” the same word used for the first book of the Bible.Depending on its context, the word can mean “birth,” “genealogy,” “beginning,” or “origin.” We know from Scripture that as the Son of God, Christ had no beginning.He’s at the Father’s side from eternity.But we also know that as a human being He had a beginning, and it’s this origin the evangelist relates.Matthew tells us of the way the Messiah assumed human nature, and took upon Himself our flesh. No other person had an origin in this way.Oh, yes, the origin of Adam was wonderful: “God formed the first man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being” (Genesis 2:7).But the…

Christ Is Coming in Weakness, but with a Powerful Key

Image
The text for today is 1 Peter 3:18-22: “For Christ also suffered once for sins… being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit… who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to Him.”Here ends the text. Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ! Lord Acton of England once said that power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely.Isn’t that true about power as we see it?Those who don’t have it want it; and those who have it abuse it.The powerful may have started out with good intentions, but sooner or later, that same power corrupts them.Just read the newspaper and you’ll find plenty of examples in governmental agencies and large corporations. But the corrupting influence of power is not confined to Washington, D.C. or Wall Street.We all want control and power, don’t we?We all want the power to tell our boss the project we’re working on won’t work.We want the power to mak…