All posts by paul lunneberg

This Most Holy Night

Text: Matthew 1:18-25
Date: The Nativity of Our Lord, Christmas Eve + 12/24/17

The angel said to Joseph, “do not fear.” But what’s there to be afraid of? Well, plenty. First is the appearance of an angel, a messenger from God. These created beings of God have personality, that is, they are persons with intelligence and will. We know from scripture that they also have great numbers and great might. What they do not have are physical bodies like ours. But then, because of that, though like us they can only be in one place at a time, nevertheless they can change places instantly. Distance does not limit. So, when you stop to consider this report in detail, that encounter alone would cause a certain level of fear. “Joseph, do not be afraid.” Continue reading This Most Holy Night

Son of Mary, Son of God

Text: Luke 1:26-28
Date: Advent IV + 12/24/17

In a way, smashing the Fourth Sunday in Advent, the last-ditch effort to prepare us for the celebration of Christmas, immediately up against that celebration in only six hours should give us the sense of awe and wonder His mother Mary encountered at the angel Gabriel’s visitation. It was the sixth month since her relative Elizabeth had conceived God’s gift of Jesus’ forerunner, John the Baptist. Mary would have nine months to let this all sink in, not just six hours as for us. This is the greatest, most important, pivotal fulfillment of all of God’s promises of a Savior. Continue reading Son of Mary, Son of God

Come to Enlighten Us

Text: John 1:6-8, 19-28
Date: Advent III B + 12/17/17

St. Mark kicked off a new season of Advent proclaiming how God has come to save us and to lead us in the Person of His Son, Jesus. To give us a deeper insight into the Savior, today St. John the evangelist shares the stage. In the first chapter of his Gospel he continues to tell us the testimony or witness of John the Baptist. Actually, he does this by telling us who the Baptist is not. For the purpose of both the evangelist and the Baptist is to bear witness to Jesus, the Son of God. The evangelist says this most clearly in the twentieth chapter of his book, “that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name” (Jn 20:31). The Baptist says his purpose is to tell all, especially those who will not believe, that nevertheless, though the Savior has come, He remains to them “one you do not know” (Jn 1:26). Actually, we are all by nature in the same boat with the priests and Levites who confronted the Baptist, in that all people, all sinners are by nature spiritually blind to God. It is only as we are enlightened to the light that we can believe and be saved. In Jesus God has come to enlighten us. Continue reading Come to Enlighten Us

Come to Lead Us

Text: Mark 1:1-8
Date: Advent II B + 12/10/17

In today’s Collect we pray that the Lord make ready the way to come to us and enable us to serve God with pure minds. In other words, we pray that the Lord would Come to Lead Us, lead us to faith and holiness. How does God come to lead us but through His chosen means of grace, namely, His Word and Sacraments. Continue reading Come to Lead Us

Come to Save Us

Text: Mark 11:1-11
Date: Advent I Series B + 12/3/17

Last year we were guided by the Gospel of Matthew under the general theme of the Second Petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy Kingdom Come.” Today as we begin the year of Mark our secondary theme is the Third Petition, “Thy Will Be Done.” For God’s Will is, above all, as St. Paul wrote to Timothy “of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 1:3-6). As the catechism says, this good and gracious will of God “is done even without our prayer, but we pray in this petition that it may be done among us also.” Indeed, it was done without our prayer, even before we were created. It was done and accomplished for us ages ago in Christ. It is done among us also by way of holy baptism and faith in God’s Word, the proclamation of Christ today. This salvation entails God coming to break and hinder “every evil plan and purpose of the devil, the world, and our sinful nature,” “and when He strengthens and keeps us firm in His Word and faith until we die” (Small Catechism). Continue reading Come to Save Us