Pointing to the Messiah

Text: Luke 3:1-20   /  Pastor Don Mossman

Introduction

It was like any other day at the mall, people hurrying around, shopping, buying, chatting, eating at the food court and sipping on their Starbucks coffees.  Then all of a sudden a young woman stands up and begins singing, Joyful, Joyful, We Adore You. Then a tenor adds his voice, joined by harmonizing voices all around the food court.  Then going up the escalator were four tenors, singing O Come All Ye Faithful.  They were joined by some 30 other voices arranged around the eating area.  By now, a large crowd had gathered to watch and listen.  Go Tell It on the Mountain was the next.  “Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.”  As the crowd took pictures and videos of the flash mob, the choir began to sing O Holy Night.  It was at this time that costumed Mary and Joseph and the baby Jesus made their way through the crowd to the central area.  Some onlookers had tears in their eyes; others huge smiles.  A spontaneous applause followed, and the people then slipped into shopping mood and dispersed.

For many in the food court, the carols of Advent and Christmas had warm and familiar meaning, but for others it was an unfamiliar story.  The carols pointed to Jesus.  Go tell it on a mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.  Indeed!  The flash mob was a voice in what one might called a wilderness, busy shopping mall prior to Christmas, pointing to the Messiah.

1. Another voice that God sent to the world

    A.  The voice of John the Baptist

  1. We hear the voice of John the Baptist, who spoke of a life to be lived in preparation of the coming of the promised Messiah. It was a real voice of a real man in a historical moment in time, asking the people to prepare their lives for the coming the Lord.
  2. Church officials came out to John to question him. Who was this man? They were expecting perhaps Elijah or that of the Messiah.  Malachi 4:5 says it this way: “See, I will send the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes.”  But John knew who he was, and he knew who he was pointing to, who was to follow him.

    B.  Today John the Baptizer puts us all on our backs and forces us to look admit the truth, we need of help in our spiritual lives.

EG: A few weeks ago, I was attempting to clean the gutters at my house of the leaves that had gathered there.  Most of you know the rest of the story.  I made some nice friends at the ER.  My wife, God bless her, was prepared to love me to the end!  Her words were, however, “That was a dumb thing to do.  Read my lips.  No more ladders.  Challenging words!  There are men out here I’m sure who have heard the same story.

  1. We are not the savior of our little world; and we are not in control of our lives, spiritual or physical. We are sinners.
  2. Those are difficult words. We are broken, flawed, and fragile human beings. It is as we confessed earlier- we are “poor, miserable sinners” before the sinless God.  And that sin will have to be acknowledged and paid for.

II.  The voice of God

      A. By faith you are what the voice of God ultimately says you are in Jesus.

  1. You are God’s redeemed and rescued child. You are the one your Savior draws near with the voice of grace and truth saying, I love you, I forgive you, I will protect you.  That’s what John’s voice declares to you.  You are a sinner, saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ – with a purpose in life. That’s who you are.

EG: If you’ve ever been to a McDonald’s Playland or a Chuck-e-Cheese, you know things can get a little chaotic for the kids.  This one youngster was afraid to get involved in the playground chaos.  So, Dad figured out a way to help his son.  He went in there with him.  Through the tubes, up the poles, in the ball pits, up the stairs; he stuck with his son.

      B.  In this challenging world we live in

  1. You’re that little child. Jesus is like that Dad. He’s right there in the middle of all of it with you.  Whether it’s sitting in a dentist’s chair or the doctor’s office, or with strings of lights that burn out right after you put them in the spot that’s hardest to reach, or through stress through finals and computer crashes, colds and flu, depression or cancer, even death and chaos, Jesus stands right there with you!  Right in the middle of your life is your Redeemer, your Savior, the miracle of God with you.

Conclusion   On a nine-foot tall painting by Matthias Grunewald entitled The Crucifixion, which was painted as an altar piece in Isenheim, Jesus is depicted on the cross with a collapsing Mary and St. John holding her up to this right, and Mary Magdalene kneeling, looking up to Jesus.  On his left is shown a lamb shedding its blood into the cup of blessing.  The lamb reminds us of John’s statement, upon looking upon Jesus, “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.”  To Jesus’ left is John the Baptist with an open book, pointing to Jesus.  The print behind reads, “I must decrease; he must increase.”  Thank you, John, for pointing us once again to the Messiah.

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