Sermon — Pr. Tony Sikora — The Incarnate Ark Meets His Prophet While Mothers Rejoice!

In the Name of Jesus!  AMEN!  Our text is Luke 1:39-45.

 

Beloved in the Lord,

Behold the greatness of our God’s humility!  Though the heavens and the earth cannot contain the glory of our God, He chooses to hide Himself within a virgin.  Though He has impressed upon His people the grandeur of His person with blood, vapor, fire and smoke, so much so that no person was able to touch His Holy mountain, enter His holy quarters, behold the brilliance of His holy face and live, now in these last days He stoops to dwell in our midst for our good and for our salvation.  Mary’s flesh becomes His temple, her Womb the Ark of a New Covenant.  Two tablets of stone have been fulfilled by the divine and human natures.  Manna from heaven is supplanted with the bread of life, and Aaron’s budding staff gives way to the tree of life.  God wears the flesh of humanity in the womb of Mary and today He journeys to the house of Zachariah and Elizabeth.

Today is the day of salvation as the Son of David comes to the house of Aaron’s son.  Yet today He comes in meekness, hidden, concealed, without pomp or circumstance.  No royal trumpeters announce their arrival!  No courtiers greet them at the village gates.  It is as though the whole world is oblivious to the workings of our God this day for He has so hidden the wondrous things He’s about to do; hidden them in the wombs of two women, one a virgin, pure and inviolate, the other barren and beyond child bearing age.  Yet both are miraculously with child!  Elizabeth bearing the prophet of the most high God sent to prepare His way, Mary bearing the Most High God sent to redeem the World.  What Joy must’ve filled that household!  What gladness overflows our own!  God has come among us in humility to be our Savior from sin, death and devil.  Oh, the wonders He has done!  Oh the majesty of His glory!  Oh, the joy of this most holy Visitation!  How great is His love for you and for all!  How mighty are His deeds among His people!

This, beloved, is the wisdom of our God put into action for us and for our salvation.  This is the wisdom which confounds the wise and brings to nothing those who suppose they have everything.  Who would expect to find the Messiah wearing the mask of a virgin’s flesh?  Who would expect a barren womb to suddenly bear fruit?  Not I and certainly not the world.  What about you?

On account of our fallen nature all that we think and know of God apart from the Holy Scriptures has been perverted and twisted so much so that we think and believe God to be far above such things.  God is too dignified to become a man, conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin!  God is too holy to be near us, to dwell in our midst, to love us with this kind of love.  No!  God must be powerful, full of fury and wrath because of our sin. The God of Sinai demands our perfection and we know that we have failed miserably. Our eyes have been blinded to the true glory of God and we therefore seek after a god who thunders, roars, sends bolts of lightning to prepare his way.  We look for power and seek after majesty only to find that God is not there, at least He is not there for us.

What have we found then, if not god?  Is it not an image and idol which we have created in the imaginations of our hearts?  Is it not our own version of the golden calf?  Maybe that’s why so many these day rise up in orgies to play in the worship of their god of glory supposing that he delights in “liturgical dancers” or offering the creativity of their strange (contemporary) fire.  Their god really is a golden calf, who neither thunders, or roars, or causes lightning to bolt across the sky.  He is gold, or silver, or an idea.  He does none of these things  . . . nor does he save!

No, beloved, the God of our Salvation is delighted to be in your midst, even though He is hidden in a womb.  Bursting from His heart through the lips of His mother are words of greeting!  He is the King of Peace.  “Shalom!” He says.   “Peace to you!”  The Savior brings greetings of Peace and Joy to a fallen creation, to Elizabeth, Zachariah, to John and to You!  His Words give the Holy Spirit and move even the unborn to leap with praise and adoration.

Thus when Mary’s greeting graced the ears of Elisabeth, John leapt in the womb and the whole household was full of the aroma of Salvation.  Like a rushing wind the Spirit filled Elizabeth and she began to praise Mary for God’s workings!  This is the wisdom of God as He regards the low estate of His handmaiden!  This is the reaction of a fallen creation whence her creator enters in.  The Hills clap their hands!  The mountains tremble.  The rivers dance and the seas roar with their foaming.  The heavens are rent asunder as God comes among us!  John leaps and all creation with him.  Jesus enters and we fallen sinners are bidden to lift up our heads and fix our eyes upon God in the flesh!  The Savior comes and Angels sing His praises!  The Messiah’s hands stretch out and lepers are made whole!  His voice rebukes death, and death surrenders its captives!  His feet trample the serpent’s head and are pierced through with iron fangs.  God comes among us and creation leaps with joy!  God hides His glory to save us and we receive Him as Savior!  The lame walk, the deaf  . . . hear, the blind  . . .see, the unclean are made clean, sinners are declared righteous.  Having watched the way He died gentiles laud the God of Abraham!  “Truly this man was the Son of God!”  Oh, beloved what glory God has revealed to us poor Christians!   What majesty is hidden under the blood of the cross!  What power is revealed in the resurrection!  God comes to His people and His people burst out in song!  God enters our midst and we wonder at His humility!

Why has this been granted unto us?  Why has God deemed us worthy of such humiliation?  Is it not His great love for you and me?  For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. For God so loved you that He joined Himself to humanity, suffered, died, and rose again, to forgive your sins and conquer your death!  The wisdom of our God transcends all things, yet in love He manifests His glory under the mask of a virgin’s flesh and blood.  These things have been granted unto you, now, today!  For today is the day of His visitation, the day of salvation for you and for the world.  In love He descends from heaven above to earth below, that His flesh and blood may wear the cloak of bread and wine.  We cannot understand the wisdom, but He bids us to receive His love!  It has been granted unto us this day, this day of His visitation, to humble ourselves and receive the love of our Savior the Way He has ordained us to receive Him.  “Take and eat, this is my body!  Take and drink, this is my blood!  Given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins.”  God is here, for you.  Still He is hidden behind a common mask, yet He is most certainly here.  We have His Word. We ought not doubt it.  Nor ought we look for Him elsewhere.

Beloved in the Lord, cast your heart upon the Word of the Lord and believe!  Blessed are all who believe the things spoken to them by the Lord.  Blessed indeed!  For they are able to see what the world cannot.  The God who hides Himself tells us where to find Him.  In our text, He is hidden in Mary’s womb, making His way to the hill country of Judah.  He brings greetings of peace and joy.  Here, He is hidden in His Word and His sacraments!  Blessed are all who believe this!  For He brings greetings of peace and joy, or mercy and forgiveness.  Such utterances move our hearts to leap with inexpressible joys!  He opens our lips and our mouths show forth His praise!  We eat and we drink!  We sing and we pray!  We dance, but not as the world dances.  No beloved, we dance in our service to others outside of this place presenting our bodies as living sacrifices, that the unbelieving world may learn of His great love for them and find the God who hides Himself under flesh and blood, bread and wine, water and the word!  This God is able to save!  AMEN!

 

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding keep your heart and mind through faith in Christ Jesus. AMEN!


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