Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we conclude the season of Advent, which is the season of preparation for Christmas, which is the celebration of the birth of Christ Jesus. This season of preparation corresponds to the ministry of John the Baptist. Jesus' cousin, who was born six months earlier, was chosen by God to be the last prophet of the old covenant. God made this covenant with the people of Israel, Abraham's descendants, before Mount Sinai. The terms for them were to obey God and God would bless them to be a blessing to all nations. Because among them the Savior of the world would be born.
Many times the people of Israel strayed from the covenant and the Lord sent the prophets, those who spoke in the name of God to call people to repentance and return to the right path before the coming of the Messiah, their promised king. Jesus Christ is this Messiah, the Savior of the world.
God gave Moses two stone tablets written with the 10 Commandments. They were the basis of the covenant with Israel, because the 10 Commandments express the moral law, God's will for all nations to live as His children. And God wanted Israel to be an example for nations in this regard. Moses said, then Jesus reaffirmed that the summary of the moral law can be stated in two principles. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself. For each of us, there is a vertical relationship, with God, and a horizontal relationship, with all around us. Therefore, we speak in our catechism class of the two tables. The first three commandments deal with our relationship with God and others with our relationship with our neighbors.
The people did not comply with this law perfectly. That is why God sent the prophets. Nor have we fulfilled the moral law perfectly. Only one fulfilled this law, Jesus Christ, and He also suffered the punishment for our disobedience in our places by His death on the cross. Because of Jesus we have the promise of resurrection and eternal life.
The two themes of the Bible are the righteousness and mercy of God. God is righteous, He does not tolerate evil, but He is also merciful, He does not want anyone's damnation. Both themes are found in the books of the Old Testament and those of the New Testament. The difference is in the Old Testament, the grace of God in Jesus Christ was only a promise, in the New Testament, grace in Christ has been accomplished
As a true prophet, John spoke of the truth. “I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Are you Elijah? And he said: I am not. Are you the Prophet? And he replied: No. Then they said to him: Who are you? so that we can respond to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Straighten the way of the Lord, as the prophet Isaiah said.”
In our reading of the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 18: 15-19) Moses prophesied a prophet greater than himself. John was not this prophet, because He was not the Messiah. John told them hewas not this prophet or any other. In addition, John said, “I baptize with water, but among you there is one whom you do not know. He is the one who coming after me, and was before me; of which I am not worthy to untie his shoe strap.” This text occurs in the Gospel of John the Evangelist before the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the Jordan River. The cousin of Jesus born six months before told them He is before me, also comes after me, but He was in their midst. And when Jesus came to the Jordan River, John shouted, "Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world."
The public ministry of Jesus began with His baptism, when the Father spoke from the heavens and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the form of a dove. Soon after, John was imprisoned and killed by Herod, the Tetrarch of Judea. John's ministry was over, then, but Jesus' ministry continued and was not finished until His death and resurrection. John died before the fulfillment of the plan of salvation. He was the prophet who saw the first coming of the Messiah, but not the culmination of Jesus' mission.
So John called the people to repentance, but did not bring them the good news of what Christ has done. John was a representative of the Law that everyone must understand before receiving the good news of Jesus Christ. Because everyone must understand that it is God's just will for us and that no one can satisfy God's justice by his own works.
Now we have all the Word of God, law and gospel. We only await the second coming of Christ in glory to enter eternal life completely. But we have the assurance that Christ has accomplished everything for us on the cross. The deal has been made. When Christ returns in glory, we are ready. Therefore, let us now live in joy, hope and the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.
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