Advent Midweek 2 LSB #’s 332:1-5, 332:6-8, 392
Text – Matthew 1:1
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
JESUS IS THE SON OF ABRAHAM
More attention has been given to Jesus; more devotion has been given to Jesus; more adoration has been given to Jesus; more opposition has been given to Jesus than any other person – ever. Each recorded word that Jesus said has been sifted, analyzed, scrutinized, debated – every word – more than all of the kings & queens, philosophers & scientists put together.
After 2,000 years, there is never one minute on earth that millions are not studying what Jesus said. Think about that. Here’s a person who lived in a tiny land two millennia ago, yet His birth divides the centuries – BC/AD – before Christ & Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. Just who is this guy, this Jesus? That’s the question we’re asking this Advent Season.
Who is Jesus? Matthew is our guide: “A record of the genealogy of Jesus Christ the son of David, the son of Abraham” (1:1). Question. Who is Abraham’s famous son? Answer. That would be Isaac – the son of sacrifice & it would also be Jesus – the true Son of sacrifice.
You know Isaac’s history – one of the most dramatic in the Bible. Abraham & Sarah had been trying to have children all of their adult lives. At the ripe old age of 100 for Abraham, & 90 for Sarah, the son is born, the miracle son. His name is Isaac. His name in Hebrew means “laughter.” Isaac brought Abraham & Sarah great joy!
After Isaac had grown up God speaks these haunting words to Abraham, “Take your son, your only son, Isaac, whom you love, & go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains I will tell you about” (Genesis 22:2). We know something of what Abraham felt. We’ve had our heart leap into our throat. We’ve been filled with panic. We’ve buried our head in tears & anguish. We know what it’s like to see a cloudless day suddenly change into dark clouds, storms, lightning & tempest!
A child is born with spina bifida. A grandmother just died. A career isn’t in gear. A father has dementia – he doesn’t know anyone anymore. A childhood was ripped apart by an alcoholic parent. A constant state of depression refuses to lessen its grip. A miscarriage still hurts – after all these years.
At such points in life, it’s easy to get lost in despair. We lose ourselves in our jobs, or in the internet or TV or alcohol. We express our pain in anger & hatred & revenge. Then Jesus comes. Jesus helps. Jesus provides. And why is that? Jesus is the Son of Abraham. Jesus is the Son of sacrifice. Let’s take a look. The preparation for the test.
“After these things God tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1). The key words are “after these things.” What things? Abraham had seen the LORD faithfully guide him from Ur of the Chaldeans to Haran & then to Canaan. Abraham had heard the LORD say, “I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the heavens” (Genesis 15:5).
Abraham had witnessed the miraculous birth of Isaac. What’s it all mean? It means that God prepared Abraham for his test. God has prepared us, too! Holy Baptism, the Holy Gospel, & the Holy Supper deliver the Holy Spirit & with Him we have forgiveness, joy & power! Through the means of grace, God pours out upon us courage & confidence, insight & wisdom.
The test we’re going through isn’t random. It’s not an accident. Every test is Father-filtered & whatever it is, God has prepared us for the test! The purpose for the test.
“God tested Abraham…” (Genesis 22:1). When a storm hits an eagle it initially appears as if the storm’s fury is going to crush the eagle against a rocky cliff. But the eagle faces the storm, tilts his wings at the proper angle, & slowly the fury that might have crushed him begins to drive him upward until he rises above the storm. What’s true of eagles can be true for us. The power that looks to destroy us is the same power by which we may rise to new heights. Testing is sent by God to bring us to greater heights of conviction, courage & Christian character. There’s a purpose for the test.
That’s what Peter says: “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be tested genuine & may result in praise, glory & honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6–7)
There’s a story about a young man taking a philosophy course. He’d studied & studied, & studied some more! When he came to the final exam, the professor wanted to see how much philosophy these students knew, & how well they could think. The final exam was one word: “Why?” The young man thought for a while, wrote down one word & walked out: “Because!”
“Why?” Do you ever ask that question when you’re going through a test? Why? Why me? Why me now? Why this? God says, “Because,” but adds these words, “Because I love you right where you are, & I love you too much to leave you right where you are!” Our tests refine us. They mature us. They season us. They humble us.
God tests you to strengthen you. Satan tests you to destroy you. Satan attacks at the weakest points of life, to bring us down, to bring us defeat. Do you remember in high school or college when a teacher or professor would say on the 1st day of class, “Half of you will fail this course!” Now didn’t that make your day?
And the way they said it convinced you they were going to take great joy in your failure. That is not the God of Abraham & Isaac. His tests are not intended to destroy us. God’s tests are intended to develop us. The provision for the test. “He went over & took the ram & sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place, ‘The LORD Will Provide.’ And to this day it is said, ‘On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided” (Genesis 22:13-14). Hallelujah! This is our Creator & Savior!
Our God sees the need of Noah & provides an ark. He sees Israel in Egyptian bondage & provides a way through the Red Sea. He sees David out-muscled by Goliath & provides a rock to hit that uncircumcised Philistine right between the eyes. He sees Shadrach, Meshach & Abednego in a fiery furnace & provides a 4th Man. With every test, God provides a way out.
“And God is faithful; He will not let you be tested beyond what you can bear. But when you are tested, He will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (1 Cor 10:13).
The God of Abraham & Isaac is also the God & Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His Son, we have the ultimate provision: “He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). God spared Isaac, but finally He did not spare Jesus.
Jesus willingly took the wood & marched up the mount – not Moriah – but Golgotha. There would be no substitute ram this time. Arrested abruptly. Tried unjustly. Sentenced callously. Mocked repeatedly. Abandoned ruthlessly. Beaten brutally. Crucified barbarously. Yet He is risen triumphantly! Christ is alive, never to die again. Death has no dominion!
Jesus lives to provide what we need when faced with the tests of life. St. Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Philippi, “And my God will provide for all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” (4:19)
Remember the joy of Abraham at the deliverance of his son Isaac? He did not name the mountain Mt. Sacrifice, nor even Mt. Blood, Sweat & Tears. He calls the Mountain “The LORD Provides!” Where God guides, God provides! How do we know? We know Jesus, the
son of Abraham, the Son of sacrifice! Amen.
For You are the Father’s Son Who in flesh the victory won. By Your mighty power make whole all our ills of flesh & soul. From the manger newborn light shines in glory through the night. Darkness there no more resides; in this light faith now abides. Amen. LSB 332:6-7.
Pastor Dean R. Poellet