Archive for December 9th, 2018

John the Baptist Christmas card | Have you ever seen a Christmas card with John the Baptist? No?  Why? John pointed to the real Christ.  Sentimental Christianity does not. | image tagged in prophet | made w/ Imgflip meme maker

St. Luke 19:

When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here.

The disciples had set Jesus upon a donkey on which “no one has ever yet sat”.  What happens when a person sits on a donkey or a horse on which no one has ever yet sat?  The horse or donkey would buck the rider. The animal has the fear of man in it.  The donkey colt would resist, maybe with all it’s might. Then think about an unridden colt donkey riding into Jerusalem with the throngs waving palm branches, laying their garments under near the donkey’s feet and the crowds yelling and praising God. The colt did not buck in the streets.  Jesus, the Lion of Judah, was not bucked or thrown off His humble mount.  He’s the humble king with authority over all things, even the animals that he’s created.  Jesus doesn’t need to break it.  He’s gentle in his authority.  Man needs to break a horse or a donkey to ride upon it.   The Son of Man does not need to break the colt of its fear of man.  When God who is love was on the donkey’s back the donkey had no fear. 

After all, when tempted by Satan, Jesus was with the wild beasts and they did nothing to Him.  He tamed the tempestuous wave on the Sea of Galilee.  He withered the fig tree.  He walked upon the water.  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God.  The Lord of creation tamed without bit or bridle the colt for His advent into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He did not need to beat the animal.  He loves His creation and hates nothing He created.   As it is written in 2 Corinthians 5:14:  The love of Christ constrains us. Constrain in Greek means also to hold together.  His mercy holds us together and perfect love casts out all fear.

If Jesus can do that for a mere donkey, how much more his people?  How much more should we present ourselves for service, trusting in Christ’s humble authority to take care of, lead us, make us fearless in the face of any circumstance? Yet we do fear God and rightly so as He is the one true God.  And as it written, God is love and God is holy.  His perfect love to sinners is frightful and so He came born of the Virgin Mary.

We do fear other people, also made in the image of God. Man wants to put the fear of man also in his fellow man.  If it were not so, then there would be no fear producing kings, tyrants and despots. The Lion of Judah went up against the powers and principalities who were afraid of Him.  The Lord also loved them. 

John the Baptist was no authoritarian ruler nor even a charismatic personality.  He did not beat the people of Israel in submission, instead, John baptized them in the waters of repentance. John’s Lord would baptize in a holy new baptism:  for the washing away of sin, for the remission of sins and the life of the world to come. John did so under the rulers and the powers of the Roman Empire as St. Luke spells out:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness.

In the wilderness, in the wilds, the word of God came to John. Not in the world capitals of politics and religion.  In the wilderness, in the desert where nothing is tame. The desert is indeed wild but that does not compare the wildness in our religious and political capitals.   Even a jackass knows that. There is no salvationin the world capitals.  Washington does not save, nor Rome, nor Wittenberg.  John went to the place ancient Israel was led from the house of bondage to the land of promise.   From today’s Old Testament reading, Malachi:   

Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.

And Malachi preached 400 years before the Christ and it was  time of sorcery, adultery, fake news, oppression of  the poor and the sojourner.  I have read that exorcisms are on the rise.  You would think those would have been the good old days 400 years before Christ and it sounds like our time.  Hold your horses! 

Godly education in the Word of the Lord is ongoing, from Psalm 32: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding,
which must be curbed with bit and bridle,or it will not stay near you.

Jesus did not need bit and bridle that Palm Sunday in Jerusalem.  The Lord is good but He’s not a tame God and He is the Lord who tames us, calms us, comforts us with His Word. He does break us with His Law.  The Holy Spirit will instruct you, teach you in the way you should go. The LORD is ever teaching us in the school of His Church. He reaches us Jesus Christ, who rode a donkey into Jerusalem.

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