Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Advent King

Psalm 24 - Advent 1 Midweek - November 30, 2011
  Christ Comes as our King

For our midweek Advent services this year, we’ll consider a three-part theme by taking a look at what is often called the three-fold office of Christ, known as Prophet, Priest, and King.  The Old Testament is filled with prophets, and priests, and kings.  Sometimes these offices would even overlap.  Moses, for instance was a prophet and a priest.  David was a king and a prophet.  God appointed various men to these positions throughout Israel’s history, and He did so always for a specific purpose: to point them to Christ who was to come as their Redeemer.  When we talk about how Jesus fulfills the Old Testament, we usually think about all the explicit promises that were made about Him.  But Jesus also fulfilled the very offices that God instituted and filled for the life of His Old Testament Church.  The offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, were once so necessary for the existence of God’s chosen people in the Old Testament.  Well, they still are for us in the New Testament. But today we find them all revealed in Christ alone. 

In the next couple weeks we will consider how Christ comes to us as our Priest and as our Prophet.  But today we consider what Psalm 24 teaches us about how Christ comes as our King. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Advent 1

Matthew 21:1-9 - Advent 1 - November 27, 2011
  Blessed is He that Cometh in the Name of the Lord

Today is the first Sunday of the Church Year and the beginning of the Season of Advent.  During Advent, we prepare for our celebration of Jesus’ birth at Christmas.  We do this first of all by remembering why He was born in the first place: to die on the cross and take away the sin of the world.  It’s fitting, then, that we begin the Church Year with this account from St. Matthew’s Gospel that we just heard, because it records Jesus’ final entrance into Jerusalem right before His long awaited crucifixion under Pontius Pilate.  We begin the Church Year with the same Gospel, which is appointed for Palm Sunday as well.  We do this because the entire Year, indeed, our entire lives revolve around that singular event that took place on Mt. Calvary 2000 years ago.  The reason we make the cross the focus of our Church year is because it is the focus of Scripture.  

The Old Testament is full of prophesies concerning Christ’s death on the cross.  In Genesis 3, we have the very first promise of the Gospel, when God says to the serpent, “[The Seed of the woman] shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”  This means that the incarnate Son of God would save mankind from the tyranny of the devil, but in the process, He would give His own life.  Isaiah describes the events of Jesus’ crucifixion with striking accuracy: He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities…”  Psalm 22 likewise, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? … they pierced My hands and My feet …” And still there are many more places in the Old Testament that speak clearly of how the promised Savior and King of Israel would sacrifice His own life in order to save sinners from hell.