Download or listen to Advent Midweek I, “The Light of the Lord” (Isaiah 2:1-5)
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Come, House of Jacob, let us walk in the light of Yahweh, the Lord. Let us walk where there is a lamp for our feet and a light for our path. Only on the Mountain of Yahweh, which has been raised above all other mountains. Only where Jesus is, who is King of kings and Lord of lords. Let us walk where He teaches us His ways; from this Mountain His Instruction goes out into all the earth. Let us walk along the ways of peace. Let us walk by the light of His Word. Arise, shine, your Light has come! And all the nations continually flow into His eternal city, a river of the redeemed, flowing uphill according to His divine gravity. In Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to Abraham in Genesis 22: “In your offspring all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” All the nations will flow to this Mountain. All nations: every tribe, and language, and people, and nation. All nations: baptized and instructed in everything that Jesus gave to His Apostles. Wherever Jesus is with His Word, wherever He has attached His Word to particular things, that is where His people will be. The swords and the spears belong on all the other mountains, in all the nations that belong to this world, where only law and the threat of punishment keep sinners in order; the plowshares and the pruning knives belong to this Mountain, and to the Reign of our King. With the Word alone we plant, and water, and nourish, and trim for fruitfulness. There is no compulsion on this Mountain, because no one can be forced to believe, no one can be coerced into faith. The chosen ones from every nation will stream to the Light of the world. Come! Let us walk in the Light of Yahweh! “For all the peoples walk each in the name of its god, but we will walk in the name of Yahweh our God forever and ever” (Micah 4:5).
House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of the Lord. Does this sound like a challenge, a rebuke? Where have you been walking? Have you left behind the Light of the Lord to walk in your own light? In the so-called light of this world? The light of buying and selling, of selfishness; the glow of a screen, the inside of a bottle, the unrestrained tongue? In the light of thinking you need Jesus only once in a while, only when things are really going badly? In the so-called light of the million little gods of this age? They will all be extinguished. Look, darkness covers the earth, and thick darkness all the peoples. It is the deep shadow of death. Those who hate God will look to the earth, but see only distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. But the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. On those who used to live in a land of deep, deathly darkness a light has shined. There is light in the Word made flesh, and He has not come to condemn the world but that you might be saved through Him. He has not left you to be swallowed up by the darkness of death, or by the gods that sinful hands have constructed. Babylon is the code-word for all those who enslave the people of God, but the gods of Babylon have been conquered. As God said through the mouth of Jeremiah: “I will punish Bel [the god of] Babylon, and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed. The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen” (Jeremiah 51:44). By Baptism, Christ snatches us from the ravenous throat of the devil and makes us God’s own. By it, He overcomes and takes away sin and daily strengthens the new creature He has made (Luther, LC).
This, and every place where Jesus comes with His Word and holy gifts, is the Mountain of Yahweh. His Church, no matter how dilapidated or broken-down she looks, is the dwelling place of God. Wherever Jesus is, the instruction and ways of the Lord are heard and the chosen ones of God will be there. Jesus is the Word that goes out from His Church, here and everywhere, until we see the Light by which the sun grows dim in comparison. Soon this Mountain will be seen for what it is, and we will see what John saw from that great, high mountain in Revelation 21. He saw the new city which has no sun or moon because the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. By that light the nations will walk and that city’s gates will never be closed to the Redeemed of the Lord. This is the Mountain where, as Isaiah says, Yahweh of the heavenly armies will make a feast for all peoples. Here is where He will swallow up the veil that is spread over all nations; He will swallow up death forever. He will wipe away tears from all faces. Their reproach and shame He will take away from all the earth (25:6-9). We will know that this is the God for whom we have waited, because we have heard His voice. We have heard it on the Mountain of the Lord. Come, House of Jacob, let us walk in this light of the Lord!
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. “The peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
– Pr. Timothy Winterstein, 12/04/13