Nothing is the Same
An Advent Sermon by Laura Mendenhall
Do you ever wonder what would it be like if Jesus had not been born? As Isaiah describes it, we would be living in darknessónot the black-out that we experience when the electricity goes off, but rather living with
Hopelessness that things will get better,
Lifeís burdens weighing so heavily that the possibilities for redemption are obscured,
Oppressive rule never being questioned,
Cries of pain unanswered.
This is the kind of darkness we would be living in if Jesus had not been born.
But many people today do live in this darkness, not knowing that Jesus was born or not allowing themselves to see that Jesus established among us Godís new creation. These people live in darkness not believing that
Godís promise will be kept.
Redemption from lifeís tragedies is possible.
God does hear us when we cry out and responds by being present with us.
Hopelessness reigns because these people do not believe that in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the power of evil was defeated and Godís reign became complete.
Of course, it is not our believing that establishes Godís Kingdom. Nor is it anyoneís lack of belief that threatens Christís rule. Whatever acknowledgment we choose to make, a new creation was born under the authority of Jesus Christ, a Kingdom that is more than our personal experience. Those of us who choose to turn to Christís light renounce the power of evil in the world and over us. We turn from the ways of sin that separate us from the love of God. We turn from the powers in the world that defy Godís righteousness and love. While we know that evil and sin are still present, we will not give them ultimate power over us. We will not live in darkness because in Jesus Christ we have been shown a light that cannot be overcome by the darkness. A new kingdom has been born.
Unto us a child is born establishing a new creation where nothing is the same. You see, before Jesus, people reached out of their darkness toward a relationship with God: in worship, they brought their finest animals and offered them as a sacrifice to God. The blood of these animals was given in thanksgiving to Godóor to secure Godís forgiveness for their sin. People became right with God by offering this blood sacrifice. Forgiveness and new life were possible only through such a blood sacrifice. But after Jesus, nothing was the same.
Before Jesus Christ people approached God with the blood of sacrifice in their hands. At the birth of Jesus, God approaches us with the blood of sacrifice in Godís own hands,
offering us forgiveness and new life,
inviting us out of the darkness and
into the light,
assuring us that nothing is the same.
Never again would people have to sacrifice the blood of an animal in order to get right with God. The blood for our new life has already been sacrificed in Jesus Christ. And nothing is the same.
A child was born for us, a son is given to us with all authority resting upon his shoulders. There shall be endless peace with justice and righteousness forever. And whether or not we can fully see the peace and justice of the Kingdom of God, we can see Jesus, the child who was born. In the light surrounding Christís birth we are invited into Godís new creation. We do not have to live in darkness driven by fear and hopelessness.
We can live as people of the Kingdom of God, extending to one another forgiveness and grace and opportunities for new life, not because others deserve it, but because the blood of our forgiveness was not ours.
We can live as people of the Kingdom of God, challenging injustice wherever we find it, not because we are so righteous ourselves, but because we know that nothing has to be the same.
In the blood of Jesus Christ we have been shown a light no darkness can overcome.
Joy to the world.
The Lord has come.
Let earth receive her king. Amen.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. Isaiah 9:6-7