††††††††††††††† Most people do not know the Bible very well. We can all repent of not knowing it well enough! And if we know it well, how well do we know its doctrine, what God is teaching us of Christ?
††††††††††††††† The people of Israel had been driven into Exile. Theyíd been helped along by rotten, lazy, stupid shepherds. Israelís prophets, priests & kings were often faithless. Like parents who take little notice of the way their children act, Israelís leaders only thought about themselves; how they wanted to enjoy life and make their living more comfortable. They didnít worry over Israel, the children God had given them to keep and watch and raise and lead.
††††††††††††††† God laments over such poor stewardship of oversight and responsibility; such poor stewardship of love.
††††††††††††††† In Jeremiah 23:9, The Righteous One, the Faithful Shepherd of His people says, ďMy heart within me is broken because of the prophets; All my bones shake. I am like a drunken man, And like a man whom wine has overcome, Because of the LORD, And because of His holy words.Ē
††††††††††††††† Do you know what itís like to be intoxicated with Godís Word? To be like a drunken man; a man whom wine has overcome Ė not because you are living in works of darkness, gratifying your fleshly desires Ė but BECAUSE OF THE LORD? Because of His holy words?
††††††††††††††† Do you have any clue, you children of Light?
††††††††††††††† Please, learn your repentance today. Itís Advent. Itís time for Godís people to lift up their souls to the Lord, that He might lead us in His Truth and teach us His paths.
††††††††††††††† The path of our salvation today begins with the Lordís entry into Jerusalem. Does that seem a strange thing to hear in Advent? It is the PERFECT thing to hear, dear people!
††††††††††††††† This is the season when men get drunk on many things. I have already heard one mother Ė not a member of this congregation Ė tell me that her life is getting very busy, getting ready for the coming season.
††††††††††††††† But she is not busy enough, not drunk enough, at least not on the Words and Promises of God in Jesus!
††††††††††††††† She admits to being a social drinker when it comes to the Word of God. She wonít become like a man whom wine has overcome, like a drunken woman, because of Godís Holy words!
††††††††††††††† What did God mean by that in Jeremiahís day?
††††††††††††††† Jeremiah 23:10-13: ďThe land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land mourns, and the pastures of the wilderness are dried up. Their course is evil, and their might is not right.† Both prophet and priest are ungodly; even in my house I have found their evil, declares the LORD.† Therefore their way shall be to them like slippery paths in the darkness, into which they shall be driven and fall, for I will bring disaster upon them in the year of their punishment, declares the LORD. In the prophets of Samaria I saw an unsavory thing: they prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray.Ē
††††††††††††††† You do not understand how consumed by His own Words the Lord is Ė when itís for the sake of His people Ė do you?
††††††††††††††† Youíve never been drunk on Godís Word, though I have not stopped trying to teach you that sort of excess. Too many of Godís people are tee-totallers and social drinkers, keeping themselves in complete control when it comes to Godís Word.
††††††††††††††† How different is the Lord! How completely He is overcome by what He says and promises! He is like a man overcome with much drink. He is truly a Man for this season!
††††††††††††††† You see that this morning as He rides into Jerusalem. Drinking and driving! But itís only a donkey. And itís for you!
††††††††††††††† The people are drunk with high expectations. They want the season to be about SO much more than JESUS.
††††††††††††††† They want Him to be King. THEIR kind of King. A King to give them all sorts of earthly excesses.
††††††††††††††† HE is consumed by Godís Word.
He IS Godís Word made Flesh for our salvation!
What you read of in Jeremiah Ė about faithless shepherds Ė He comes to correct. What you read in Jeremiah Ė about faithFUL shepherds, after Godís OWN heart Ė He comes to fulfill. What you read of Jeremiah, drunk and staggering because of Godís Words, because the land is so full of sin and he is so full of Godís intent to save Ė that, you see riding into Jerusalem today.
††††††††††††††† He is not swept away by the crowd. The people want a plaything, a parade. He has come to be their Savior! Who knows if these people want anything close to real repentance and faith. Most donít. They want some entertaining worship. They donít want to get TOO caught up in faith and doctrine and Godís Life through Word and Sacraments. Donít condemn us for adultery! Donít get in our face over not being drunk on Godís Word, or too drunk on something else. Just let us roll over and finish our beer Ė our pursuit of lifeís pleasures.
††††††††††††††† Dear people, Jesus wonít BE that kind of Savior! Our Lord is consumed by Godís Word, not menís passions.
Read Matthew 21 Ė how Jesus, after riding into Jerusalem, beat people up in the Temple, running out the moneychangers! His patience is over. Zeal for the Lordís House consumes Him!
Read how, when He went to a fig tree, because He was hungry, and saw that it bore no fruit, He cursed it. Immediately, the tree withered. He is not playing games. He is a Man consumed by Godís Word, and He has come to save you Ė even from wretched, faithless, loveless fruitlessness!
††††††††††††††† So He sends His two disciples into Bethphage. He sends them there to get a colt, the foal of a donkey. He is consumed. He is blind to any other way but Godís, the way of our Salvation.
††††††††††††††† He rides into Jerusalem, humble, lowly, atop a beast of burden on His way to burdening Himself with our sins.
††††††††††††††† He rides before He staggers, before He stumbles and falls beneath our load; before His bones are out of joint.
††††††††††††††† He is SUCH an easy burden for a young donkey. Soon, He will have US on His back. He will carry us Ė our sin, our death, our filthy, stupid, rotten rutting through this world.
††††††††††††††† And the crowd is cheering, waving palms, casting clothing in His way. ďHosanna!Ē they shout! ďSave us!Ē
††††††††††††††† Only, they have no idea what theyíre praying, or how His saving them will be! They call Him ďSon of David.Ē A Shepherd-King.
††††††††††††††† They shout out, ďBlessed it He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!Ē
††††††††††††††† He hears this through the Word of God, and answers as we need. The people cannot know what they are saying.
A few drunk slobs this Wednesday gathered for their mid-week binge with me and heard that none of us can EVER know the depth of all our sin. Thatís a keg youíll never float! Itís just too deep.
††††††††††††††† ďThis hereditary sin is such a deep corruption . . . that no reason can
understand it. Rather, it must be believed from the revelation of Scripture.Ē (Smalcald Articles, Third Part, Art. I.3)
Read Jeremiah. Read Matthew. Learn the path of Godís salvation!
Even Christís disciples were not drunk enough with what God says to know the depths Heíd have to go to save them!
††††††††††††††† The Shepherd-King will die alone, His bones all out of joint. NO one is as consumed as He is, with Godís Word and our Salvation!
Matthewís Gospel tells us of the women who were at the cross. Another Gospel tells us John was there.
John is there to bear witness to the Lordís Salvation. Out of Jesusí side flow blood and water. And the women are there to claim His body. They are joined by others who will do the same. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, whom the Lord instructed in the way of Word and Water and the Spirit, and who now is fully drunk on Godís salvation. Before, he came to Jesus like a man who visits a speak-easy; in secret, hiding, not drawing menís attention. By the end of Johnís Gospel, Nicodemus is a man full out inebriated on the Word of God, and all men see him clamor for the Flesh and Blood of Jesus!
Dear people, learn the path of Godís Salvation. That is what this time is for. There are plenty of things men waste their time consuming. Be consumed by what God promises in Jesus. Learn to be a proper drunk and fill yourselves on what God says!
What I mean is, hunger and thirst for what God gives you here in Jesus. It is the salvation that poured out of Him on Calvary.
Words that breathe out life and heaven. Water that pours out Godís forgiveness and fills you with His Spirit.
His Flesh and Blood. The very Body that He set upon a donkey and then set beneath a cross. The Body that bore such a beastly burden as your sin and mine, to save us.
That is here, together with the Blood poured out with water. They are everything to you. Aqua Vitae! Water and Blood and Flesh and bread and wine of Life! To save you!
Many things will vie for your attention at this time of year. Here is where the Lord is consumed with saving you. And here is where He wants you consumed with consuming HIM. In Jesusí Name, Amen.