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

28 December 2014

Sermon: Christmas 1B (Gospel)

28 December AD 2014
The First Sunday after Christmas

Title: My Eyes Have Seen (MP3 Audio)

The Divine Service Summary: Have you seen “the Lord’s Christ”? It’s been almost two thousand years since He walked on the earth, so how could such a thing be?

Yet thousands upon thousands of Christians regularly sing along with Simeon, “my eyes have seen Your salvation” — is that the same as seeing the Savior? Is it totally honest that we join the song?

We might say that if we’ve seen our salvation then we’ve seen our Savior. Faith’s eyes see Him where He promises to be; that is, in His Word and Sacraments.

We hear Jesus’ voice in the proclamation of the Gospel through the voices of our pastors. Their hands stand in for His as He baptizes us and claims us for His Father. And in the Lord’s Supper we truly handle and taste He body and blood under the forms of bread and wine.

This is why so much of Christendom sings the Nunc Dimittis, the Song of Simeon, near the close of worship. In the divine service, we see Jesus and His salvation in Word and Sacrament. In this song, we then celebrate such intimate contact with our Savior and confess that we are at peace with God and ready to live or die as He sees fit.

Furthermore, in Christ’s Church we see His body, firm in faith and active in service. Our encounter with Him doesn’t end with the close of worship but extends into the world as we remember His promises, receive His forgiveness, and live in love toward one another.

Yet still we wait for plainer sight. We long to see His own hands instead of only those of our fellow Christians. We crave the sound of His voice instead of only those of our pastors and other spiritual teachers. We want to gather for the feast of the Lamb in His kingdom that has no end instead of this earthly foretaste. God promises that all of this will be so when the Son comes to claim us on the Last Day.

Jesus and Simeon in the Temple Text: And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, [Mary and Joseph] brought [Jesus] up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”

Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace, according to your word; for my eyes have seen your salvation that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and for glory to your people Israel.”

And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.

And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him. Luke 2:22-40

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 My Eyes Have Seen.

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; Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Galatians 4:4-7

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