December 30, 2018 A+D
St. Luke 2:22-40
In the Name of the Father and the +Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Christ Our Lord is truly above the Law. The Law does not apply to Him according to His Divinity. He can’t break the Law. It is His own will. It wasn’t written for Him. It was written for us. But in the fullness of time, He came into our world, as a creature, and was born of a woman under the Law in order to redeem those under the Law.
This humiliation and condescension was not passive. The Father did not send the Son apart from His will or knowledge. The Son denies Himself in order to redeem us. He gives up, in part, for a time, His Divine rights and attributes. He goes as a Lamb to the slaughter, willing to pay what it takes to reconcile us to Himself.
There are two broad aspects to His being under the Law. His active and His passive obedience. His active obedience is that being under the Law He did not sin. He did not do anything that the Law forbade. That means that He never coveted or lusted or held a grudge. He never got jealous or petty or hurt anyone with His words or deeds. He also did everything that the Law commanded. He remembered the Sabbath and honored Mary and Joseph. He loved His neighbor as Himself. He was under the Law, but the Law had no accusation to make against Him because He obeyed it in full.
His passive obedience is that He allowed the Law to do to Him everything it should have done to us. Primarily that means that He allowed the Law to punish Him for sin. That culminates on the cross. He is forsaken by the Father and pages the wages of sin.
But that suffering included other indignities. Being born under the Law meant that He was subject to the cruelties of this fallen world and fallen men. Thus He is hunted by Herod, hated and slandered by the Pharisees, and betrayed by those whom He loves. And it means that He must keep the ceremonial law, even having pigeons sacrificed for Him.
Having been born under the Law, also means that He doesn’t gain His wisdom and learning by magic or Divine right. He has to be potty trained. He has to study. He has to grow and learn by work and effort and often without recognition or praise. He has to be taken for granted, resented, and maligned.
All this to redeem those born under the Law. He doesn’t come into our world as a full grown man and go straight to the cross. He is born under the Law. He endures all that we endure, including imperfect parents, governments, and friends. He knows all our heartaches. He mourns. He regrets. He feels frustration. He is ashamed. He makes Himself a Sacrifice worthy of our sins in this deliberate way. He doesn’t merely take the form of a man. He is a Man. But He is a Man without sin who lays down His life for His friends and His enemies. He is God who is Love and with whom nothing is impossible. His mercy endures forever.
And thus we, born under the law, are no longer slaves. He calls us sons. He makes us sons. His inheritance is ours by grace. We are born from above. His Name carried by water is upon us. So let the sword pierce our hearts and reveal His righteousness and show us as His sons.
In +Jesus’ Name. Amen.