Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest! "Hosanna" means "save us now!" So Jesus rides into Jerusalem to do that. To save you. To repent you. To faith you. It always seems strange to think that our wait for Christmas begins with Jesus going to die, but then again, that's really what Christmas is all about: Jesus showing up in the flesh, to die for you. So no surprise that Christmas doesn't come without Jesus' cross. Jesus rides into Jerusalem to show that He is the king. He'll wear a crown of thorns. His throne will be the cross. The world is gearing up to party. We're coming off the feasting and shopping and it's just full bore until we can tear into the presents under the tree in a few weeks. Advent, on the other hand, slows us down. Hit the brakes. We don't celebrate just to celebrate. We celebrate Jesus' birth at Christmas but we celebrate it because He was born to die on Calvary for our sins. So Jesus coming into Jerusalem on the First Sunday in Advent sets us up for the whole year: where are we looking? What are we hearing? Where is our attention? On Jesus Christ, who came to save sinners. He is the righteous branch whose name is "The Lord our Righteousness." So says Jeremiah and that tells us everything we need to know about this King riding to suffering and death.
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! We need to know that Jesus is the king and that He's the King who saves us. When King David was on his deathbed, one of his sons tried to become the next king. But David had decreed that Solomon should be king. So they put Solomon on David's donkey and rode him into Jerusalem so everyone would know who the real king is. So Advent orients us by reminding us who the real King is. Jesus. Not you. Not me. This is our problem. We like to be kings of our own little kingdoms, thinking this life and world are all about us. We are in charge. No one is the boss of me. I do what I want. Believe what I want. Think how I want. Jesus comes riding into Jerusalem in Advent to save us from that. If He doesn't bring us repentance and faith, we'll never receive Him when He comes in the flesh. Advent is the time of preparation when we stop to consider: He is riding into Jerusalem because of me. Because of my sins. Because I want to be God instead of Him. Because I don't want to love my neighbor. Because I don't really want to love God and give Him any time or attention either. Just think of it: we're living in a holiday season in which you feel guilty for not getting just the right gift and pretty awesome when your party or presents or anything else turns out great and everyone loves it. We have too much excess; or we feel really good for helping others this time of year. Doesn't matter. See how we did that? We made the holidays all about us. That's our problem. Repent! Change! Flee your false god of "you." That's why Jesus is riding into Jerusalem. To save you from that. To be your real King and your true God and your Savior. To wear the thorns for you. To suffer the mockery for you. To go to the cross for you. To breathe His last for you. To rise on Easter for you.
Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest! That all sounds great and it would surely keep our attention if we were there spreading our cloaks and palm branches. But we're not there. It's easy to forget. But Jesus is here. We still sing those words. Right before Jesus shows up on the altar. Save us now! Ok, He does. Body. Blood. Given and shed. Forgiveness of all your sins. Advent wouldn't really do us any good if it were only about Jesus showing up back then or sometime in the future. Advent means "coming." And the Lord comes to us right here, right now. Font. Altar. Pulpit. Word. Water. Body. Blood. There He is! Your King. Righteous and having salvation. Why does Jesus show up riding on the donkey? To save you. Why does Jesus show up in water and the Word or with the bread and wine? To save you. Why will Jesus show up again on the Last Day? To save you. Get it? Do you see the light and comfort of Advent? Jesus is coming to save you. Rescue you. He already did. He still does. He will again. So Happy Advent. It's the season the Lord rescues you...from you! It's the season that gets us ready by teaching us to cast aside our idols and believe in Jesus. To remember our Baptism and to receive Jesus coming to us in His body and blood. Hosanna! Save us now! And that's exactly what He does. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Sermon Topics: Matthew