Here is the Servant of the Lord /Luke 1:26-38 / Pr. Lucas Andre Albrecht / Fourth Sunday in Advent December 20th 2020 / Mount Olive Lutheran Church
Text: Luke 1:26-38
Theme: “Here is the Servant of the Lord”
Intr – What about hearing at the beginning of this year: “You will have more time to stay home”. For many people it would be news long awaited. Life is in such a hurry that for many families having more time together at home welcomed announcement.
Enter March 2020. What comes with that? A global pandemic
What comes at first as good news, may change into something different if you think about what comes ahead
1 – THE SERVANT
_The news to Mary. She is the favored one, the chose by God. She will be the mother of God.
_The challenges before Mary; Her marriage could be in jeopardy; she might fall in disgrace before society; even her life could be at risk.
_Humbleness and courage in Mary; She shows a servant heart. She surrenders her will to God’s plan.
Mary was humble and courageous. But she had knowledge as well. In our case, we didn’t know the corona virus pandemic was coming. We had to deal with it came, and continues to come. Mary might have been not aware of what would come next if she didn’t know the Scriptures well. But she did.
_She knew the Word; - Old Testament
_She knew the Prophecy; - The Messiah would be born of a virgin in Judah.
_She knew the Promise; The Messiah would be the Redeemer of Israel.
She even knew that an Angel could come to her. Notice that St. Luke says she was greatly troubled by the message, “o favored one”. Not because an angel was in her room – which might leave shock many people today. She knew the Scriptures and knew that sometimes God would communicate with His people using that way.
Compare this with for instance:
_What happens in Holy Communion – many people might be shocked with the idea of a real body and blood are present in that bread and wine. For us, it’s just the way it is - because we learn it from the Scriptures
_Persecution that comes with living our faith – for many this could be a shocker too since we belong to God and he is our Protector. We would say “Yes, I don’t like it, but I know from the Bible that it may happen.”
_Problems in the life of a faithful Christian – again, many could be appalled by the fact that a lifelong, churchgoer Christian could have big problems in life. Again we would say, “Yes, I don’t them, but I know from the Bible that they may come.”
Mary had knowledge and this is where her security and foundation were laid even in face of many problems that would come with the good news. On our side, we didn’t know what was ahead of the good news of the more time at home thing. But when we study the Scriptures we become full aware not only of the Good News of the Gospel in Christ, but also what lies ahead of us in our spiritual life in this world, both the blessings and the challenges.
2 – GOD’s WILL
Another aspect of the Gospel today is that it drives us into the Catechism again, in the section called “The Lord’s Prayer”. What’s the most difficult petition of the Lord’s Prayers?
Thy Will be done. Thy Will be accepted. Thy Will be.
It’s easier, or less difficult, when God’s will is up our alley. It’s can be extremely hard when it is down to a path we didn’t think before.
It is also difficult when the impossible is before our eyes. Perhaps we are relying to much in our capacity of solving things and forgetting that for “nothing will be impossible with God”.
Let’s listen again to Dr. Martin Luther in His Large Catechism: “For our flesh is in itself indolent and inclined to evil, even though we have accepted and believe the Word of God. The world, however, is perverse and wicked; this he incites against us, fans and stirs the fire, that he may hinder and drive us back, cause us to fall, and again bring us under his power.
Now, this hurts our flesh and the old Adam; for the test is to be steadfast and to suffer with patience in whatever way we are assailed, and to let go whatever is taken from us. Hence there is just as great need, as in all the others, that we pray without ceasing: “Dear Father, Thy will be done, not the will of the devil and of our enemies, nor of anything that would persecute and suppress Thy holy Word or hinder Thy kingdom; and grant that we may bear with patience and overcome whatever is to be endured on that account, lest our poor flesh yield or fall away from weakness or sluggishness.”
“ for our own sakes we must pray that even against their fury His will be done without hindrance also among us, that they may not be able to accomplish anything and we remain firm against all violence and persecution, and submit to such will of God.”
3 – The KING
And a third aspect is that the text talks about the Kingdom. Now, I ask you, what would you do if you were a King or a Queen of a country or a land?
We tend to think we would be fair and just rulers who would do the best for our people. But a quick look even on the Kings that the Bible itself portrays in their lives and acts shows us the human reality when it comes to power. How many of them, including David and Salomon, committed disgraceful acts.
Christmas brings us The King of Kings, the One above them all. Talk about power! Now what did this King of kings do? Did he abuse his power, or reclaim human honor and privileges? On the other way around, “He humbled Himself, becoming a Servant being born in the likeness of men – and was obedient to the point of death, even death on the cross.”
In Christmas we realize that the size of the measures taken show the size of the problem we had. The King of King was needed to perform what any king, queen or servant could do. Perfect obedient, finished work, death and resurrection, to assure access to His Kingdom to every person, every men and women, everyone.
Cc – So what do we do when good news on this life come also with challenges and even dangers?
We can borrow from Mary words: “Here is the Servant of the Lord.” In Mary we see this model of accepting the 3rd petition, as well as the other ones for sure. “Thy Will be done.” We trust God’s will. We trust that the good news of the Gospel will bring what our heart and our life need the most: The baby Saviour, the King. Emmanuel. God with us.
Martin Luther. Large Catechism, 3rd petition.
Source of the image: https://www.pexels.com/photo/light-people-woman-art-6244101/