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Rejoice!

Isaiah 40:1-8

Rev. John F. Wurst

The Third Sunday in Advent
The Lutheran Church of Christ the King  
Duluth, Minnesota

Sun, Dec 16, 2012 

"For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified." (1 Cor. 2:2)

Isaiah 40:1-8

The Third Sunday in Advent (Gaudete)

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Today is the Third Sunday in Advent otherwise known as Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete translates as rejoice in English. You will notice that the third candle on the Advent wreath is pink in color also signifying a week of rejoicing in the midst of the parousia, the coming of the Son of Man.

On this Gaudete Sunday, the one holy catholic and apostolic Church rejoices because of the comfort God the Father sent to the world. The prophet Isaiah is told by The Lord to, Comfort, Yes, Comfort My people." (Is. 40:1) You are included in the people of God because of the redemption Jesus earned for you through His death and resurrection.

Until now, the Law of God was preached in the land. Keep the statutes of the Lord. You must keep the commandments of God or die in your iniquity. The people of Israel were given the promise of the Savior but they were also given a stern dose of the Law too.

Now, the Lord gives to Isaiah a new teaching; He gives him the Gospel. The Lord tells Isaiah to tell His people that her warfare is ended that her iniquity is pardoned. This Gospel message, this Good News message, says to you that the war against sin and death is done. The battle is over. There is no more war. Your sins and iniquities are forgiven. You are pardoned. You're free. You will live.

Amazing news to sinners. No more threats to live perfectly. No more commands to live perfectly. No more wallowing in agony because you failed to keep a statute of the Lord. No more anguish over damnation. Why? What is the reason for this Good News?

The Lord sent one to tell you the Good News. He was sent to call sinners, like you, to repentance. He is the voice in the wilderness preparing the way of The Lord. His name is John. He is the son of Zechariah and Elizabeth. He is the last of the prophets.

John was no tele-evangelist. He wasn't wallowing in the riches of the world. He was a servant of The Lord. His garment was made of camel's hair. He girded himself with a leather belt. He ate locusts and wild honey to stay alive. The best thing about John is he was faithful. He didn't waiver. He didn't add to or take away from the Word of The Lord. He was steadfast even unto death.

John was the forerunner of Jesus. He went before Jesus to tell the world that Jesus was coming. The Messiah was coming to save sinners. Confess your sins, John said, and be Baptized.

John preached humility. He preached repentance. He preached about the salvation of The Lord. John was preaching to the world. No longer will the message of salvation be isolated to the nation of Israel. John is preaching to both the Jews and the Gentiles. The Good News of Jesus Christ is for all people. It is for you and for your children. It is for all generations.

The joyous Gospel tells you about God's eternal Son, Jesus Christ. The Gospel tells you what Jesus has already done for you to earn your salvation. The story of Jesus begins with His Incarnation when His mother, Mary conceived the Holy Child in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The story of salvation continues with the birth of the Messiah, His circumcision and Name. This Child was given the Name Jesus because He was sent to save His people from their sins. Jesus grew up and began His ministry with His Baptism in the Jordan River by John to fulfill all righteousness.

Throughout His ministry, Jesus taught the Gospel. He preached the Gospel. Jesus, like John, preached about the new life you have in the Gospel. Your new life is no longer consumed with good works to earn salvation. Your life is no longer about doing evil. Your life is now about confession, repentance, fasting, prayer, good works that glorify God and not yourself. Your life is about serving others and worshiping the One true God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

Your life is no longer your own. It is God's. Jesus claimed you as His Child. He calls you friend. He does this because He saved you from sin, death, and the power of the devil when He Baptized you. When Jesus saved you in Baptism, He drowned your old Adam. He drowned all your sins. You died that holy day. You died in Christ Jesus.

Jesus also gave you life in Baptism. Not earthly, physical life. Spiritual life. He resurrected you from that watery grave and wrote His Name upon your soul. Jesus gave you everlasting life.

The Good News is this eternal life was given to you free of charge. You were given this gift because God loves you for the sake of His Son, Jesus Christ. This eternal gift of life is yours at a great price; it wasn't bought with gold or silver. It was earned with the precious Body and innocent Blood of the Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

The Good News of Jesus continues to be preached in your ears for the salvation of your soul. You continue to be fed and nourished this Gospel by the voice sent to you to give you the comfort you need in this tumultuous world. The voices of the Christ continue to cry out the Gospel. They continue to prepare the way of The Lord.

Jesus is coming again. When He comes, Jesus will take you to glory to live with Him forever in His kingdom. There, you will worship. You will dine with the King at the marriage feast He has prepared for all the saints.

Until that glorious day, rejoice in the Name of The Lord. I say again, Rejoice.

In the Name of the Father and + of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

The peace of God which surpasses all understanding guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Amen.

+ SDG +



(C) Rev. John F. Wurst



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