Psalm 2:6-7 "I have set my king on Zion, my holy hill." I will tell of the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my son, today I have begotten you.
Why do we need government? If we were perfect people, and we lived in a perfect world, we would need no government, and in the beginning there was none. But sin came not just into the world, but into the hearts of man, so that even if we know what is good, our nature is such that we do not do it. So government is a minister of God for our good, and Luther says that "the chief function of government is not to teach, or to pass laws, but to punish evil men with the sword, and to defend good men... For as Paul says Rom 13:4 they bear the sword to terrify the wicked and for vengeance" [LW 12 p 41]
If that is not what our government is doing, then perhaps we ought to work to change it. For if they are not doing these things they are not acting properly, as they are the Ministers of God for our good. But our task tonight is not to speak of the government, but to speak of the new thing that God has done in Jesus Christ.
What is the new thing? It is a new government, not like the old government that rules by fear, that rules by law, that rules by the sword, that government, as good as it is, at its best can only restrain us from doing evil. It canít make us good. It canít make us think pure thoughts. So government, according to the 1st use of the law, curbs to coarse outbursts of sin. I guess thatís why some roads still have curbs, to help us to stay on the road.
The new thing is a road that doesnít need curbs, it doesnít need signs, it doesnít even need patrolmen. It is a way prepared. For the new thing is that God doesnít rule by law, but rules instead by love. We see this love is God becoming man. For the Son is true God from eternity, yet at the right time, God came to earth, and took a human form into himself, so that he was true God and also true man. And a special thing happened, a virgin was found with child, and the child was the God-man Jesus, for he would save his people.
It was a new thing, but God had told everyone what would happen, and even though they all knew, it seems that no one was ready. But this is a new thing, and so God forgave everyone who was not ready, because God was coming in love, bringing salvation, and promising to make us a new creation as well.
It was a new thing, and Jesus went about teaching the people of al that God had planed for them, healing their sick, feeding their stomachs, calming the storms... and even though they he that surely he must have come from God, still they were weak, and they handed him over to suffer and die. And God didnít hold them accountable for doing this terrible thing, and Jesus died on the cross, and from the cross, Jesus cried out to heaven "Father, forgive them" and thatís exactly what God did, God forgives.
It was a new thing, not only was God telling us that he would be our God, but that he would be our Father and we would be his children. It was not just kings who could be children of God, but this was a promise for all people. And the new creation, is not something in the future, but something for here, and now, beginning at baptism, we can live as the redeemed, and forgiven children of God. Live not by law and the fear of punishment, but live motivated by love. Able to do good, simply because God in Christ has given us the victory over sin, death, and the power of the devil.
All these things God foretold, so that we could know and be ready, and not just us, but everyone else too. For God would have all people saved, God would work his new creation in all. And this is what Advent is about, once we have prepared a place for our Savior, we go and tell others, so that they too can be ready. This is a new thing too, for this is the purpose of our life here on earth, that we may believe, and that we may bring others to the salvation that comes by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The Promise first given to Adam and Eve has been kept, and this good news is a light to the world. Carry this light high, for Jesus sake.