Advent 2 (Series C)
Scripture: Luke 3:1-14
Hymn: On Jordan’s Bank the Baptist Cry (LSB 344)
The world has a different understanding of peace from what Jesus teaches us. Jesus’ peace is peace from the wrath of God the Father because of our sins. We all deserve death and eternal damnation for our sin, but Jesus comes to appease or put away the Father’s wrath (BIG word: propitiate) by dying on the cross. The blood He shed covers us and washes us from our sin.
Our lives are a wilderness. Alone, we know only death and sin. God comes to us from outside of us and declares His Good Work into our ears. Why does God call it the Valley of the Shadow of Death?
John the Baptist was the forerunner of our Lord. He was sent into the world to declare the coming (Advent) of the Messiah. He was sent into the world to prepare us for Jesus. He did so by the preaching of the Word and by a Baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
He warned the people of a wrath to come and prophesied of the coming Jesus who would give them the Holy Spirit. Where do you get the Holy Spirit? John warned the people by preaching the Law to them, but he also comforted the people by preaching the coming of the Christ to them.
John knows that he is not the Christ, but only the one to prepare the way for him. He says to his disciples that he must decrease and Christ must increase. Indeed, Christ must increase all the way to the Cross and to His Resurrection.
It is Christ who makes the mountains low and the valleys high. He is the great equalizer and the great Savior of the world. He does this by dying on the cross and shedding His blood for the world.
This is your peace: Christ has come into the world, and He has come to you. He has marked you with His blood by your Baptism. There, He has made you His own and appeased the wrath of the Father. Now, when God the Father looks at you, He delights in you because of His Son. You are redeemed and made new in Jesus–true peace for the world.
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to make ready the way of Your only-begotten Son, that by His coming we may be enabled to serve You with pure minds; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.