Do You Come to Jesus? or Does Jesus Comes to You?: First Sunday in Advent - Mark 11:1-10
Do You Come to Jesus? or Does Jesus Comes to You?: First Sunday in Advent - Mark 11:1-10 / Rev. Ted A. Giese / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Now when they drew near to Jerusalem, to Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of His disciples and said to them, “Go into the village in front of you, and immediately as you enter it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever sat. Untie it and bring it. If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord has need of it and will send it back here immediately.’” And they went away and found a colt tied at a door outside in the street, and they untied it. And some of those standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” And they told them what Jesus had said, and they let them go. And they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it, and He sat on it. And many spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut from the fields. And those who went before and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!”
Let us pray: May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable in your sight O Lord. Amen.
Grace peace and mercy to you from God our Father and from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Good Christian Friends. Last week was Christ the King Sunday - the last Sunday of the Church year - we meditated on the Last Day and the Second Advent (Second coming of Jesus): Today we begin the Season of Advent when we likewise look towards Jesus' second coming in Glory even as we ponder anew His first coming, a first coming which was - even with its angles and wise men and gifts - significantly less glorious than what is promised to be in His second coming when He will make all things new and judge the living and the dead.
Advent is a season of preparation and perhaps you remember having an Advent calendar - or maybe you have one for this year - a calendar that marks the days leading up to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the arrival of the Christ Child, our baby Jesus, our Saviour. That kind of calendar is chronologically moving ahead like the hands on a clock day by day it counts, hour by hour it counts, minuet by minuet. So why are we starting the Season of Advent not with a promised birth of Jesus but with the grown man Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a colt, the foal of a Donkey? Why do we start at the beginning of Holy Week - the Cross looming at Good Friday? Why do we start there? Watch - be attentive in the weeks to come and you will see an interesting thing. The Gospel readings this year are a countdown - like a countdown that starts at 10 and works its way down to 1, a countdown that starts at the end and works to the beginning of the incarnation of Christ, the birth of Jesus. Today the Triumphal entry, next week John the Baptizer "proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins," the lone voice, "[Preparing] the way of the Lord, [making] His paths straight,’” The week after that "the Jews [will send their] priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask [John the Baptizer], “Who are you?”" and then the Sunday before Christmas, The Angle Gabriel comes to the Virgin Mary and says, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus." This is our pattern for the weeks leading to Christmas. It is a countdown.
This countdown is all about Jesus coming to you - it's not about you coming to Jesus. To Saint Peter on the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus the King of kings and Lord of Lords, face shining like the sun, clothing as white as light, does not say, 'Yes build us three tents - three booth's - build Me a tabernacle, a Temple, make for me a throne, and bring to Me on this mountain all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, bring to Me all nations, make them submit to their God crawling on their hands and knees to Me to be judged - for I am the righteous one their King above all kings.' No, Just think of today's reading from the Gospel of Mark, Jesus instead comes to Jerusalem humble and riding on the back of a colt, the foal of a Donkey. The Gospel of Mathew says the same - quoting the Old Testament Prophet Zechariah. Martin Luther in an Advent Sermon comments on this saying, "This is what is meant by 'Thy king cometh.' You do not seek Him, but He seeks you. You do not find Him, He finds you. For preachers come from Him, not from you; their sermons come from Him, not from you; your faith comes from Him, not from you; and where [Christ] does not come, you remain outside; and where there is no Gospel there is no God, but only sin and damnation, free will may do, suffer, work, and live as it may and can. Therefore you should not ask, where to begin to be godly; there is no beginning, except where the king enters and is proclaimed."
... and so here we are, we begin the Season of Advent with Jesus coming to you as He did at the Triumphal entry into Jerusalem the Sunday of Holy Week: And as He comes to us, we with those first people cry out “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! ... Hosanna in the highest!” Hosanna - Deliver us - Save us- for that is what Hosanna mean - Deliver us - Save us! As He comes we call out, call out to the one who said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” This is the one to whom we call out our Hosannas.
If you think your soul is not sin-sick, if you think you are self-righteous and not clothed in righteousness as a gift, then you will think 'I need no Jesus ... I can stand on my own two feet ... thank you very much ... I need no saviour.' The honest man, the honest woman, the honest child who carefully looks at their life will see the sin-sick-heart that beats within their chest. Even if they have not been taught the ten commandments they will see how they haven't lived up to their own man made standards. With the gift of honesty, the gift of repentance we call out 'Deliver us, Save us!' realizing that, "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us," and this King who comes to us brings with Him our salvation, our medicine for our sin-sick-soul, he bring life to those who think they are dying but who are truly "dead in ... trespasses and sins," He brings life to each and every one of us, "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." Jesus makes the house call on Jerusalem and doesn't demand that they come to Him.
Today in Holy Communion He makes the house call to you, He comes today riding the humble elements of bread and wine, and at the communion rail, at your open mouth He enters in like He did riding upon the back of a colt, the foal of a Donkey and when He enters in what next? He rides to the Temple of your heart and He clears out the moneychangers - He clears out the sin that sickens your soul, be that sin greed, or anger, or lies, be it idolatry, rebelliousness, or sexual infidelity, whatever it is, He clears it out and makes the Lord's House of your heart what it is intended to be, as Saint Paul says, "your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
The price Christ Jesus has paid is the sacrifice of His Body and Blood unto death, His Life for your life and His death for your death, and with this price paid by Him - He rides into your heart today and cleanses you of all your sin. He rides to you, He comes to you, lift up your heads and receive Him: Lift up your heads and look to the manger of Christmas Eve, of Christmas Day; Lift up your heads and look to the Cross and your King nailed there; Lift up your heads and look to the empty Tomb and the angle there who say, "Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; He is not here. See the place where they laid Him;" Lift up your heads to look and see His coming on the Last Day - when He again comes to you and does not demand that you come to Him. From the first promise of His coming, to His birth, to His death, to His resurrection, to His Second coming, Christ Jesus has always, and is always, and will always be coming to you. As Saint John says in 1 John chapter 4, "We love because He [The Lord] first loved us," We do not first love Him, We can't seek Him where He has not revealed Himself, we can't call upon Him when He is far off, we cannot ride to Him, or climb His mountain - Jesus rides to you, He comes to you, day by day He comes, with each candle on the Advent wreath lit in the darkness He comes, He comes to your suffering, and loneliness, your sin and trouble, with peace and forgiveness He comes. In Him you have Life, in Him you are forgiven, you are forgiven. Amen.
Let us pray:
Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us, Lord have mercy on us, “take our minds and think through them, take our lips and speak through them, take our hearts and set them on fire; for the sake of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen.
 Mark 1:4
 Mark 1:3
 John 1:19
 Luke 1:30-31
 Matthew 17:1-9, "And after six days Jesus took with Him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with Him. And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to Him.” When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, “Rise, and have no fear.” And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, “Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”
 Zechariah 9:9
 Matthew 21:5
 Sermons of Martin Luther, The Church Postils. Luther, Martin. Translated by John Nicholas Lenker et al. Edited by John Nicholas Lenker. 8 vols. Reprinted by Baker Books, 1982, 1995. Vol. 1. Sermons on Gospel Texts for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany (a reproduction of Vol. 10, The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther [Minneapolis: Lutherans in All Lands, 1905]) pg 32-33.
 Mark 2:17
 Mark 7:14-23, "And [Jesus] called the people to Him again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand: There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him.” And when He had entered the house and left the people, His disciples asked Him about the parable. And He said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile him, since it enters not his heart but his stomach, and is expelled?” (Thus [Jesus] declared all foods clean.) And He said, “What comes out of a person is what defiles him. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.”
 1 John 1:8
 Ephesians 2:1
 Romans 3:23
 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
 Mark 16:6
 Genesis 3:15
 1 John 4:19
 Isaiah 55:6, “Seek the LORD while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near;"