O give thanks unto the Lord for He is good, His mercy endures forever (1 Chr 16:34). Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church - Winnipeg, MB
Unwanted yet the Only Need
Unwanted yet the Only Need
Based on Matt. 2:1-12
Preached on January 12, 2014
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Fellow baptized saints, have you ever gone somewhere and immediately realized, I'm not wanted here? Like the moment you walked into the room you got that feeling like it might be better for you to leave. Like your spidey sense was going off. Like if you don't turn around right now your life might be in danger.
That was Jesus birth. His entrance into the world. Jesus didn't happen upon the wrong room. He was wanted dead on arrival. The very moment God reveals Himself. The moment the Son of God reveals His Kingly presence on earth He is hunted, pursued, stalked. Kill that threat. Get Him outta here. Before He had lived a day. Before He even had a home. End Him. The angels had not yet finished their glorious song to the shepherds before our Lord was not wanted here.
So Jesus and His family did what most people do when they are unwanted. They ran. Fled. Left everything and flew from the evil that threatened Him.
And this truth can make us so angry, can't it? How that nasty Herod could want to kill Jesus when He was only a baby! How could He possibly be a threat to his kingdom? What senseless murder! What a despicable thing to do!
But there is something in our text that reveals a whole lot more about how unwanted this Jesus really is here. It is that little word "secretly." Secretly Herod didn't want Him. In his hidden places Herod felt threatened by this newborn King. And it is here, I might say - in secret - in our hidden places - that we realize just how much we have in common with nasty old Herod.
For this Christ threatens our kingdom too, doesn't He? He comes to take over the things we think we control, the things the devil has tricked us into ruling. He comes to shine His blinding light into those dark and hidden places we've worked so hard to keep shut. And it freaks us out.
Do we really want a King we have to depend on, one we have to wait on, who is going to make decisions for us, and not when it suits us, but according to His own timing? Do we really want a King who will say to us "Listen, I know it's uncomfortable and inconvenient for your reputation, but I want you to say the name Jesus today"? Do we really want a King who is going to send us to war for the sake of His kingdom, a war that will mean suffering and maybe even death?
Or do I really want a god who gives me what I want, regardless if it is bad for me, because you know what, I want what I want when I want it. I want to be god! I want to be king! And so with our kingdoms threatened, what do you think we going to do?
We're going to do exactly what king Herod did. We're going to put on a smile and say, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." Yeah, sure thing Jesus, you can rule over my heart and mind on Sunday morning, but I'm not going to Bible Study. I don't really want to grow with you. I'm not going to read your Word everyday. I don't really want to spend hours in prayer, reflecting on Your kingdom. Quick, get ‘em when He's young, when He can't get us back. Yeah, wise men, tell me when you find Him, so I too go can go and worship Him.
Beloved, our sinful human nature does not want Christ or His Gospel any more than Herod. It is totally threatened by His coming, and wars against this Word of life. And it may seem absolutely crazy, it may not make any sense at all, but this is precisely the reason that Jesus does come. This is precisely the reason that Christ wants to be seen. By you. By me. By Herod. By all the world. Even wise men from a distant land. Christ does not hide, but shines like a bright light - like a magnificent star - O Morning Star, how fair and bright! You shine with God's own truth and light, Aglow with grace and mercy! He appears so that we do hunt Him, so that we do pursue Him and eventually kill Him. Yes, that is the plan. To have your sin and my sin catch up with Him so that He can destroy them in His own body, in a punishment that is not yours, but His alone, on the cross.
But the time is not now Herod. The Christ must fulfill all the Scriptures. First, He must preach repentance and the forgiveness of sins. First, He must heal the sick and raise the dead. First, He must live a perfect life that He can give you for free to replace your sinful one. Then, as His Father has planned, He will let your sin put Him to death. He will take your sin upon Himself so that it all dies with Him. Throw your sin upon Him! Cast your deepest, darkest secrets on the Lamb! Strike this king with your unknown, hidden guilt, for this King comes to die in your place. He comes to put His life into your death, His light into your darkness, so that you might live in Him.
And this remarkable truth is shown even by the gifts that were brought to Him. We often think these royal gifts are pictures of what we must give Jesus. Our sinful nature can't help but make everything about us. But these royal gifts are pictures of what Christ has come to do, what Christ has come to give. Gold - what this king is born to bring you - a kingdom of immeasurable wealth. Frankincense - how He is going to win it for you - by making Himself an offering to God, a fragrant offering that pleases the Father. And Myrrh - the bitter perfume they used to hide the smell of death on dead bodies - Christ brings the riches of His eternal kingdom to you, by making His very life an offering to the Father. By His death.
The best part about it, is that Jesus isn't even doing something extraordinary in our text. He isn't feeding the 5000 or walking on water. He can't walk. He can't even feed Himself. Yet His coming to save you, His death in your place is still the whole point of the text. This is the Son of God and His plan to save you will not be thwarted. Not by Herod, and not by your sin. Yes He is just an infant, but even so He wants you to know that He is here for you. He will overcome all of your secrets, your anger, your resentment, your anxiety and your doubts, because He is the Light of the world, the King of Kings and Your eternal morning star! He will rise for you forever and be there to call you to rise on the Last Day.
No, the world didn't want Him. Herod didn't want Him. Your sin doesn't want Him, but He wants you. r sin. He wants to be with you forever. And nothing will stand in His way. As our Hymn of the Day declared, "Christ goes with us all the way. Today, tomorrow, every day. His love is never-ending. Ring out! Sing out! Jubilation! Exultation! Tell the story! Great is He, the King of Glory. In His Holy Name, Amen.
Rev. Cameron Schnarr