Sermons by Pastor Walter Snyder plus announcements, articles, videos, and anything else that doesn’t fit Ask the Pastor or the Luther Library.

29 December 2013

Sermon: Christmas 1A (OT)

29 December AD 2013
The First Sunday after Christmas

Title: Affliction and Affection (MP3 Audio)

Chagall: White Crucifixion Summary: The slaughter of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem reminds us that devil, world, and sinful human nature hate the kingdom of God and its Prince of Peace. Since Adam’s fall, attempts at godly living have been resisted and believers persecuted.

Yet we have a Redeemer God who knows our afflictions — not only by observation but by participation. Jesus Christ knows the entire range of pain and sorrow common to mankind, whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual. He cried over loved ones’ deaths, suffered rejection and betrayal, and felt the lash of oppressors’ whips and the piercing of their nails and spear.

He looked down to see His mother watching Him die. He became intimately acquainted with paralysis as the nails held Him to the cross. He learned in His own body the dying person’s painful gasping for just one more breath. He felt the physical pain of Bethlehem’s little boys and the emotional trauma of their parents.

He carried all the consequences of and the judgments upon sin in His own person that He might free us from them. He became Israel, never departing from His Father’s will and leading a new Exodus — this one from eternal bondage to Satan, sin, and death. He became each victim of every persecution. In His affection for all the lost, He also stood in for every persecutor, every villain, every evil oppressor, that He might die for their sins, as well.

What Isaiah spoke of from Israel’s history became the fulfillment of our salvation: Christ was afflicted with our affliction and in His love and pity He redeemed us.

The Holy Innocents Text: I will recount the steadfast love of the Lord, the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord has granted us, and the great goodness to the house of Israel that he has granted them according to his compassion, according to the abundance of his steadfast love.

For he said, “Surely they are my people, children who will not deal falsely.” And he became their Savior. In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them; in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; he lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

But they rebelled and grieved his Holy Spirit; therefore he turned to be their enemy, and himself fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, of Moses and his people.

Where is he who brought them up out of the sea with the shepherds of his flock? Where is he who put in the midst of them his Holy Spirit, who caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses, who divided the waters before them to make for himself an everlasting name, who led them through the depths?

Like a horse in the desert, they did not stumble. Like livestock that go down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord gave them rest. So you led your people, to make for yourself a glorious name. Isaiah 63:7-14

Scripture quoted from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Audio: Click to hear the MP3 of Affliction and Affection. Preached to the saints at Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church, Lexington, Missouri.

NB: For some reason, a few people have had problems trying to play the inline audio if Windows Media is their default MP3 player. If this occurs, you can either change to QuickTime or another default browser player, copy and paste the link directly into a selected player, or download it to your computer, where it seems to work regardless of which player. Several folks have suggested VLC Player from VideoLAN.

Other Readings: Psalm 111; Galatians 4:4-7; Matthew 2:13-23

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