Advent 1 Ad Te levavi
December 1, 2013 A+D
St. Matthew 21:1-9
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
With every passing year, the anticipation for deliverance, redemption, and salvation grows in the hearts of the children of God. For every year and every generation that God does not complete everything He has promised is another year and generation closer to its fulfillment. “For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” The story of God’s salvation in the Old Testament is the story of the Savior coming nearer. Believers throughout time anticipated His coming and celebrated every deliverer that God raised up knowing that it was another step closer to the Messiah.
When King David was too old to reign, one of his sons, Adonijah gathered to himself the high priest of the temple, the commander of the military, and all the members of David’s royal household (except Solomon). He made a play for the kingdom for himself. He concocted the fanfare and noise of victory, he convinced the people to shout and celebrate him as the king, he had the heads of the church and the military on his side; but it rang hollow. He was not the rightful heir of the throne. Everyone knew it, but they thought if they pretended well-enough, if they had power and religion on their side, that they could overthrow the rightful king and the Word of God.
Nathan the prophet, Zadok a priest, Benaiah the king’s bodyguard, along with Bathsheba and feeble David were the only ones left to thwart the coup. They were few in number, but with the Word and Promise of God, they placed Solomon on the throne in this way (1 Kings 1:33ff):
They took him down, out of Jerusalem into the Kidron valley, washed him in the Gihon spring, anointed him with oil, placed him on David’s female mule, and on the mule, he led them back up into the city while they followed after shouting and playing music. You can almost hear them shouting, “Hail to the son of David!” The Bible says that the ground seemed to split with the noise. When he reached David’s throne, the people who had been with Adonijah scattered and Adonijah ran for his life.
In this real, historic account of Solomon’s coronation we have a type of the Lord Christ. Solomon’s name is a derivative from the Hebrew word for “peace.” Christ is the true Prince of Peace (Is. 9:6). Solomon was washed and anointed with oil. Christ was baptized in the Jordan and then later anointed with perfume and tears. Solomon rode a powerful beast to claim an earthly throne. Christ rode a lowly beast, for His kingdom was not of this world (Jn 18:36). Solomon was coming to reign. Christ was coming to die. Solomon was the fulfillment of God’s word to David that his son would sit on his thrown. Christ was the fulfillment of every promise of the Old Testament that the Messiah would come; that He would be God and man, born in David’s line, but be true God. The people shout “Long live the king” for Solomon, but for Christ it is the Messianic proclamation from Psalm 118: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” This is because, according the prophet Zechariah, the one who comes lowly, comes also with justice and salvation (Zech 9:9).
Hosanna means, in Hebrew, “save us now!” Its derivatives are found over 350 times in the Old Testament primarily used when God raises up a human vessel to carry out deliverance for His people. You know these derivatives in English as, “Save!” “Salvation,” “Savior,” and in the proper names “Joshua,” and yes, the name of the Son of God, “Jesus”. “You shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins” (Mt. 1:21).
Every year and every generation from the time of Adam and Eve, Noah, Moses, the Judges, David, Solomon and all the kings, was a generation closer to the coming of Christ. So here we are at Advent again, at the beginning of another church year, not anticipating God’s humble birth in Bethlehem, but waiting for His second coming, when He comes in glory to separate the sheep from the goats, the wise from the foolish. We are another year closer. We wait in hope and anticipation.
And even though we know God’s Word: that Jesus came, suffered, died, rose again, and ascended into heaven. Even as we confess that He will come again to judge the living and the dead, the satanic Adonijah, the self-proclaimed leader of this world, has collected people to himself, concocted earthly glory, made himself and his rule desirable to the sinful shame of his followers. He has made a claim to a throne that is not his. And by all this, he seeks to lure you by his false promises of pleasure and happiness into the farce that is his kingdom. The temptations are well-known, St. Paul exposes them “orgies and drunkenness, sexual immorality and sensuality, quarreling and jealousy” (Romans 13:13; cf. Gal. 5:21; 1Pet 4:3). If you were honest you could flesh these out even further to include your selfish ambitions, your gluttony, your laziness, your obsession with alcohol, your ability to waste mindless hours in front of the T.V., computer, or phone, your power struggles as you seek your own happiness above your parents, spouse, or children, your neglect of being thankful to those who help you or give you things that you don’t deserve, your evil thoughts and jealousies about friends and family who are nicer to you than you deserve. St. Paul could have gone on and on, because the prince of this world seeks to take the kingdom away from the King. He will stop at nothing to gain you for his side. But God’s Word and promises stand. They cannot be overcome.
The King, the Messiah, your anointed One comes. He came, lowly and in a manger, humble and riding on a donkey. He comes today mysteriously in Word, water, bread, and wine. For all the rebellion from the beginning of the world and even today, for all of your sinful desires to overthrow the King for your pleasures, He should come in anger and judgment, vengeance and wrath, reprisal and retribution. But instead he comes with salvation, to save His people from their sins. To save you from the devil and yourselves. He comes to die in your place, oh rebel, so that He could give you more than you sought to steal. He did not come to take the kingdom away from you and subject you to slavery. He came to liberate you from your sins, to give you freedom from death, to give you His kingdom forever in heaven.
Therefore “make no provisions for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Strip them off as though they were a dirty garment and lay them on the road, for your King comes. He is your brother and Savior. By His coming in the flesh, He has brought you into the holy, royal family. He invites you to sit at His table, where He has prepared His own body and blood for the forgiveness of sins. You acclaim him here in the words of Isaiah and Ps. 118 in what we know as the Sanctus. And even children adore Him by taking what He has to give.
Yes, O daughter of Zion, O child of God, you wait in expectation of the fulfillment of all that God promised. His Word is sure. He is coming again to take you to heaven.
In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
The Rev’d Michael N. Frese
Redeemer Lutheran Church
Fort Wayne, Indiana