The Third Sunday in Advent (B)
“The Anointed One”
December 17, 2017
Sermon Text: Isaiah 61:1–4, 8–11
Peace be unto you from our Advent King, Christ Jesus. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
One would expect it to be verses… passages… sentences… found in one of the Gospel accounts… in either Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, where Jesus declares to the disciples,
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
This describes perfectly the person and the work of our Lord Jesus Christ does it not? Jesus, “the Christ”… literally translated, “the Anointed One.” He was anointed to be our “Servant, Substitute and Savior” as we have been considering in our midweek Advent services. Chosen by the Father, sent by Father, with the Spirit of the Lord God upon Him.
The only things is… these words, this text, is not from any of the Gospels and yet, is pure Gospel. It is the Good News foretold, foreseen, envisioned before it all happened… before it all took place… much before, in fact.
The Prophet Isaiah declared this Good News some 700 years before our Lord’s birth. How could that be? How could he know? And this so perfectly.
The thing is, my friends, it is not “as if” Christ said these things, because it sure sounds like what He would say or because it describes Him “to a T.” Rather He is the one really, truly, actually saying it, through the Prophet Isaiah, giving Isaiah this glorious vision which must have been comforting then… to the people then… because it sure is now… to us… to all the faithful…
… that the good news is preached to us and all the poor, all of the spiritually spent who daily, hourly, fight the good fight of faith, which certainly takes its toll physically and spiritually… leaving us weak and weary, poor in spirit at times, many times.
In this midst of this fight we hear the good news of being rescued, saved, revived, refreshed and though the battle rages for yet a little while longer, the war is won and what is more… sin, Satan and death are done!
… we hear the Good News of the One who comes to bind up the brokenhearted as only He can… we who, to a person, have had our hearts shattered in one way or another… at one time or another. What was once in pieces, including our very lives, is whole again… holy again… and this, in Jesus Christ.
… we hear the Good News of our liberty… and this from the very lips of our Liberator… who freed us from death’s dark prison at the cost of His innocent life and with His precious Body and Blood, coming to earth to do this… to offer the same and lovingly give the same… Himself, as the one perfect and acceptable sacrifice.
… we hear also the glorious and grand proclamation of the year of the Lord’s favor… the time of His favor calling all to repent of their sins… calling all to believe and confess that Jesus is Lord… calling all to do this now while there is time… before it is too late.
… we hear, yes, of the day of vengeance which the Lord shall bring about… for vengeance is His and it will come swiftly and completely upon all who continue to live in sin and in the darkness of this world… upon all who are evil and wicked… upon all who break His commandments and go against His holy Word and will.
… we hear of comfort being given to us and all who “mourn in Zion” as it says… that is, all of God’s people… all who make up the Holy Christian Church throughout time… the faithful men, women and children of every time who mourn … who grieve… all who suffer loss… that their tears and our tears shall be wiped away and this… all this… by the One upon whom rests the Spirit of the Lord.
Is this not wonderful my friends? What is spoken to us? What is proclaimed to us, by the Lord’s Anointed… by Jesus, our Savior… to us personally… individually and oh-so intimately?
Hear the news preached and proclaimed to you this very day, this very moment in this very place. And by the very same Spirit of the Lord, take it all in… into your hearts… into your homes… into the world for others to know and be comforted over… rejoice over.
Hear the news. And know it to be real… to be fact… to be true. The truth of the Anointed One… the truth of His message… the truth and the glorious proclamation that is being spoken to you directly… to me… and all the world… to so many who are suffering needlessly… to countless numbers who grieve and countless more who are in prison and do not even know it…who do not have a clue of what is going on and what is coming… Who, is coming.
If you ever wondered or were in doubt as to what this church is all about… what this congregation is all about… it is this – the Good News of the Anointed One… the Good News of Jesus Christ. This Good News lived out among the body of Christ here at St. Paul’s. This Good news preached and proclaimed to so many who desperately need to hear the same.
Talk about the greatest gift we can give. It is the greatest gift we have received, that which prompts us to lift our voices and say with Isaiah what is found in verse ten of our text, if you can find it there.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness.” (Isaiah 61:10)
That’s certainly worth circling or staring and considering in the days ahead. Clothed in the garment of salvation. Covered in the robe of righteousness. And this, by the Anointed One… by our Savior, Jesus. Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“The Anointed One” 12/17/17 The Rev.. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, I