Lutheran Worship and Resources

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Midweek Advent Service

Midweek Advent III, 2012

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson

Mid-Week Advent, Thursday, 7 PM Central

The Hymn # 554     Now Rest Beneath             3:67
The Order of Vespers                                             p. 41
The Psalmody            Psalm 100                             p. 144
The First Lection                      
The Second Lection           
 The Sermon Hymn #94            Hark the Herald Angels            3:19

Jesus God and Man

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer                         p. 44
The Collect for Peace                                           p. 45
The Benediction                                                   p. 45
The Hymn #136  Angels                                     3:86

Luke 1:26 And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? 35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

Jesus God and Man

Luther said, in a brilliant summary, that all false doctrine breaks down into three categories:
  1. They attack the humanity of Christ.
  2. They attack the divinity of Christ.
  3. They attack justification by faith.

That is important, this summary, because our hackles should go up when we hear an attack on A, B, or C, no matter what the source might be.

The Virgin Birth of Christ is a statement of Christ’s humanity and His divinity. Since this audience is not uncertain about His divinity or the reality of the Virgin Birth, I will focus on His humanity.

The actual birth was a major stumbling block (scandalon – the trip mechanism in a trap, not our definition of a scandal – something far more dangerous).

The people of the Apostolic Era had considerable trouble with Christ being truly man, born of a woman, suffering and dying on the cross.

Although we can certainly see many miraculous elements of the Virgin Birth, from the conception to the birth itself, the angels and Wise Men, most of the story reminds us of the humanity of Jesus and early cross (persecution, slaughter of the innocents).

How does a young maiden answer to God when the birth of a Savior was announced as a promise to her?

The mythological approach was to make her as divine and perfect as Christ – the Immaculate Conception of Mary, the Romanist claim that she was born without any sin, that she never committed a sin during her lifetime. Her mythical Assumption is another affirmation of that approach.

Many more mythological details could be added, and they all add to the claim that Christmas itself is a myth.

That is why we should never let any human being get between us and the plain Word of God. Why? Because people reject the false statements and the truth of the Word at the same time. They mix the two together and throw both out together.

Joseph and Mary suffered from this great Promise. Joseph felt compromised and humiliated – to such an extent that he planned to end the marriage quietly. He was persuaded otherwise by the angel, but that did not take away his burden. Likewise Mary shared this early cross to bear, since the Word brings the cross.

Every aspect of the birth of Jesus was tinged with difficulty, from the journey to Bethlehem to the birth in the stable. He was not only denied earthly honors but the very men who came to greet Him (the Wise Men) were placed in great danger.

Note how they escaped and went back to teach their own people about the Savior they saw.

All this happened so we would identify with the infant Jesus and see how God was willing to come down to our level and dwell among us – and the Word became flesh.

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