Sunday, November 28th, 2021

God at Peace With Man

First Sunday in Advent [c]                                         November 28, 2021


Luke 19:28-40

28 And when [Jesus] had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.'” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought [the colt] to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”


In the Name of Jesus.


The people of Jerusalem see Jesus ride into town on the back of a donkey. They chant,

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest!”


They are sinners, all of them. They know that, or at least they should, for they hear the Scriptures read each week at the Temple, and they sing the Psalms. The Scriptures, which say such things as,

We are all as one who is unclean,

All our righteous deeds are filthy rags.

[Isaiah 64:6]


The Psalms which have the sinner singing such things as,

All men are liars.

[Psalm 116:11]


I was brought forth in iniquity,


My sin is ever before me.

[Psalm 51]


They are sinners, all of them, these people watching Jesus ride into Jerusalem, yet they chant to him,

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest!”

[Luke 19:38]


How does the sinner here on Earth end up singing about peace in Heaven?


Heaven is the dwelling place not of sinners, but of God. And the sinner can have no confidence of standing at the face of holy God.


Unless, that sinner is himself, or herself, made holy.


The One to make the sinner holy, he’s the One riding on the back of the donkey. Jesus rides into Jerusalem for just that. That’s why he sheds his blood on the cross. That’s why he then takes the blood he shed on the cross, and delivers it to the sinner at the Lord’s Table for the forgiveness of all sin.


That’s why Jesus baptizes the sinner into his Name, to make the sinner holy. In Baptism, Jesus sets the sinner in his place, so that the sinner, now clothed in the righteous robes of Baptism, stands before the Father in righteousness and purity forever.


So the sinner on Earth, seeing Jesus ride to the cross on the back of the donkey, seeing Jesus shed the holy blood on the cross, and hearing Jesus gather sinners to receive him in his Body and Blood for the forgiveness of all sin, that sinner now sings of what he knows not by sight, but by faith, by the hearing of the words of Jesus,

“Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in Heaven and glory in the highest!”



He comes, they chant, In the Name of the Lord.


He comes by the Name Jesus. Jesus is a Hebrew word. It means, Yahweh saves. In the Hebrew it would’ve sounded more like Joshua, or a little more precisely, like, Yeshua. But Yeshua, Yahweh-saves, comes to us English speakers as Jesus.


That’s the Name the Lord comes by—Jesus, Yahweh-saves:

Blessed is the King who comes in the Name of the Lord.


Blessed is Jesus.


He establishes peace in Heaven. Peace in Heaven for the sinner here on Earth. Peace in Heaven for you and me and our families.


Peace in Heaven is when God the Father hears the intercession of his Son. And, according to that intercession, according to his Son’s holy blood, he justifies the sinner.


A Father at peace with he created—Peace in Heaven.



But we’re here on Earth. What about peace on Earth, peace to us?


That’s what the angels sang of when they were proclaiming the birth of Jesus to the shepherds.

“Glory to God in the highest,

And on Earth peace among those of his good pleasure.”

[Luke 2:14]


Peace on Earth, how?


Peace in Heaven is when God the Father hears the intercession of his Son on behalf of the sinner, and, according to that intercession, the sinner is justified in Heaven.


Peace in in Heaven, then, is God the Father and the God the Son sending forth the Holy Spirit from Heaven to sinners here on Earth, bringing to the sinner the word of the cross, the word of the justification of the sinner by grace, that is, bringing to the sinner the Gospel.


Peace on Earth is the sinner here on Earth—you, me, our families—hearing the proclamation of the Gospel, hearing the word of all sins forgiven, of the sinner justified by grace, and by that Word knowing the forgiveness of all sin so that we have faith that we are at peace with God the Father in Heaven.



Peace in Heaven is, then, for the sinner here on Earth, the life of faith. Faith is the substance of the things in Heaven not seen by our eyesight, but known by the Word of Gospel.


Peace on Earth, peace in our own lives, in our own families, is for us to hear this Word of justification from Heaven, to hear the proclamation of Christ crucified for every sinner, and having faith, then, that we are justified not by any worthiness of our own, but purely and only by Christ crucified, which is the one word the Church knows to preach to sinners.


It’s Advent. Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey. He rides in to give himself over to death on the cross, to die in the place of the sinner, shedding the blood to atone for us and our families.


With this knowledge of the Gospel, we now see how Advent brings us to Christmas and the Incarnation, the birth of God the Son in human flesh.


But in that, we are given to see the Christmas birth not just as the miracle of the Almighty, Eternal, Infinite God coming in the flesh to join those in the flesh, but much more profoundly, we are given to see Christmas, to see the Incarnation, as God coming in the flesh for grace to the sinner, for mercy upon us.


For God comes in the flesh for one reason only, to take our sin upon himself and then to suffer and be humiliated as the One who, bearing our sin, is standing in for every sinner of every generation in order to die, to be the Lamb of God taking away the sin of the world by shedding the holy Blood.


Advent means Entrance: Jesus entering Jerusalem to die for sinners.


And it means Jesus entering your life and mine, coming to us in his Word, coming to us in his Body and Blood, and coming to us always to forgive our sin, to clothe us in his honor, to cleanse our consciences, to justify us, so that we have peace on Earth, even as he has established peace for us in Heaven.


In the Name of Jesus.