5 u“Say to the daughter of Zion,
‘Behold, your king is coming to you,
vhumble, and mounted on a donkey,
on a colt,1 the foal of a beast of burden.’”
In the Name of Jesus, AMEN.
In the dark setting of fallen creation, in the coldness of hardened hearts set in rebellion to the Lord our Creator comes the light of the Gospel, promised from the beginning. To a people bound and enslaved to sin comes freedom for the captives and the brightest light in the darkest of winter. Our Lord works often when and where we least expect Him to. Whether in the midst the epic tragedy of Adam and Eve’s rebellion against their Lord in the garden, or through an old and barren couple named Abraham and Sarah, through the oppression of slavery in Egypt, or in the midst of adultery and murder as the king of a nation, David is promised One who would remove the dark stain of sin that had overtaken him. Here, in our first Sunday of Advent, we don’t get what we might expect. Our Gospel text doesn’t show us a king coming to conquer the way we might think would make sense. Not on a white horse with a sword to destroy the Roman stronghold over Israel, but rather Jesus the king comes on a borrowed donkey, in humility as the Promised One coming to die for the sinner, and to remove the curse that mankind has brought upon itself.
St. Matthew, quoting Zech 9:9 from the OT shows Jesus as the king who has not come to be served, but to serve and give His life as a ransom for many. Though the king comes to Jerusalem with cries of Hosanna (or LORD save us), He comes to die for those whom He has made and yet have rejected Him as their Lord. For the same ones that cry “Hosanna to the Son of David! (Matt 21:9) are the also the ones who will soon cry out “Crucify Him”. Hope doesn’t always look the way we expect it to look and our Lord, who is the One who gives true hope, works in ways that often to us seem unlikely and even unbelievable, through Word, water, bread and wine.
Our Old man of sin expects to find a new law giver, even a new Moses to give a set of new rules that we might be able to keep. We expect new tools to help us work towards becoming better stronger and more worthy and improving. We, like the rich young ruler ask, “What must I DO to inherit eternal life.” We expect lists of “dos and don’ts” that we can follow, we confuse the Gospel with the Law, so we can mark of the list what we have accomplished and all the while hoping that God grades us on a curve. Surely, God will send a Savior who understands that we’re “doing the best we can” and will just tell us that it’s the thought that counts. That makes sense to our Old man of flesh. However, the cold darkness of our hearts is much darker than we even know. God’s Law spoken to us shatters the false notion that we aren’t that bad, or that our best is good enough. It destroys the lies that the problem of sin is really the world around us, or that person we married, or those people at work, or in our family. The clear mirror of God’s Law shows us where the real problem is, and we have room to point any fingers.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jer 17:9)
“For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. (Matthew 15:19–20)
So now, enter Jesus, the true Light of the world and King of all kings who has come and entered into His creation not to destroy it as He rightly and justly could, but to answer the cries of the crowd, “Hosanna!” or Lord save us. So, entering into the darkness of a sinners comes the Promised son of David to become a curse for you, and to be judged in your place for your sin on the cross. He enters Jerusalem, where He came to die, not randomly or half-heartedly but as: “the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Heb 12:2
So, he comes as God with us, who is friend of sinners, who eats and drinks with tax collectors, harlots and men and women like you and me. He comes in true love to rescue the poor in spirit, comfort those who mourn, and to give Himself for people who have nothing to bring except empty hands, like that of beggar who cry out KYRIE! Or “Lord have mercy on me”
He comes for the blind, sick, the lame, and those born spiritually dead in trespasses and sin to bring real life. Jesus comes for you, that He might speak you alive with His word of all sins forgiven on account of His death and payment of the sins of all the world. For the coming One during Advent season that we might wrongly anticipate, doesn’t come in shouts of thunder and lightning, but born of a virgin and lying in a manger. He comes as a poor carpenter’s son in what we would call ordinary circumstances. He then extraordinarily lives to die in your place and rise for your sins, that He might make you His own, not as your flesh would expect through some sort of mutual cooperation of God plus your effort or through some decision or commitment that you might make, but He does it all, everything you can’t do, for even the name He is given, Jesus, says Yahweh is salvation! So, He comes in the through the power of His Gospel to give you Himself as your Savior, He comes to die on a cross for you. This is not some afterthought or plan B, but His word says He is the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Our Gospel text this First Sunday of Advent comes from Zech. 9 and Is. 62 where we hear of His promise to come a first time but, we are told in His Word the He will also come again as we confess in the Creed, as the judge of the Living and the dead. So for us there is a definite preparedness for Jesus that is spoken of and rightly so at this time of the church year, as we begin a new Advent season anticipating both His First coming or Advent as the Word Incarnate or God in human flesh for us, but also always with a view to His coming again or Second Advent. There are many verses about being ready or prepared for Him to come, and even a deep longing for His coming and as we also confess in the Creed “the resurrection of the dead and the life everlasting.” Whether speaking of His first or second advent it is always the Lord who is the One who is preparing US and working in US. He is the One who works in you give to you in His service. He has gathered you to His name, and through His Word and Sacraments, He is truly present for you, preparing and sustaining you by giving Himself to you. Jesus comes again and again to cleanse you and feed you as He will in the feast to come as John writes about in
 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”—
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
In the Name of Jesus, AMEN.