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We Have Found the Messiah

November 30, 2022; Rev. Kurt A. Lantz, Pastor
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We Have Found the Messiah

 

Rev. Kurt Lantz St. Andrew, Apostle 2nd Petition

November 30, 2022 Resurrection Lutheran Church St. Catharines

 

 

Andrew was confident. “We have found the Messiah.” He brought his brother to Jesus (John 1:41-42). How could he know for certain? What did he come to see in this man, Jesus? What was Andrew expecting in the Messiah? “Messiah” means “Anointed One” or in Greek “Christ” from chrism, anointed by the holy oil to fill a divine office as were priests and kings. Throughout the Old Testament, while God’s people struggled with sins of unfaithfulness and harassment from foreign nations, He promised to send them an Anointed One, a priest who would restore their holiness and a king who would establish a kingdom that would never fall to any other. He promised to send the Messiah and based on that promise God’s people prayed as do we: “Thy kingdom come.”

 

Andrew heard John the Baptist say of Jesus, “Behold, the Lamb of God” (John 1:36). He followed Jesus and answered His bid to “Come and see” (v. 39). And he did come to see that this Jesus is the Messiah, the one God promised to send to save His people and establish a kingdom that would never be conquered. Do we have the same confidence as St. Andrew? Do we feel the urgency to first of all find our brothers and say to them, “We have found the Messiah,” and to believe that the kingdom of God has come in Jesus the Christ?

 

“God’s kingdom comes when the word of God is taught in its truth and purity and we as the children of God lead holy lives according to it” (Small Catechism. Lord’s Prayer. 2nd Petition). Let us then be taught by the Word of God in its truth and purity and pray that the Holy Spirit would inspire us to lead holy lives of faith according to what we hear in God’s Word, according to what we hear in the prophecies of a coming Messiah and in the testimony of the apostles to Jesus the Christ.

 

The prophet Daniel, recorded the revelations he received from God. In a vision he saw “one like a Son of Man” (Daniel 7:13) who would receive an eternal kingdom and before whom every other kingdom would fall. It was a vision of the Messiah, the Christ. Jesus identified Himself as the “Son of Man” to the woman at the well (John 4:25-26). At the last supper with His disciples, Jesus spoke of His impending Passion saying, “The Son of Man goes as it is written concerning Him” (Mt 26:24). He was referring to what the prophets wrote about the betrayal and death of the Messiah and His subsequent triumph. Jesus even told the high priest and the council that they would “see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven and seated at the right hand of Power” (Matthew 26:64). This is how Daniel saw Him in his vision as one like a Son of Man presented before the Ancient of Days; and how the Apostle John saw Him in the revelation given to him, “coming on the clouds of heaven” (Revelation 1:7).

 

One like a Son of Man indicates a human man and yet something more, the more that would be required for a man to stand before the Ancient of Days, at His right hand of Power, and to come on the clouds of heaven to conquer all enemies and rule forever over an eternal kingdom. The Messiah has a true human nature but is more. That is exactly what the angel Gabriel told Mary when he was sent to announce to her the coming birth of the Christ: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High... He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, of His kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:31-33). Gabriel was the same angel who explained the visions given to Daniel hundreds of years before.

 

The apostle John recognized the one “like the Son of Man” revealed to him in his old age while in exile (Rev 1:13-14). He recognized Him as the man Jesus he had seen transfigured on the mountain (Luke 9:28-29), where he watched along with his brother, James, and Andrew’s brother, Peter. He recognized Jesus as the “the ruler of the kings on earth” (Rev 1:5), the victor over every opposing foe. John recognized Him as “the first and the last” (the eternal king), and “the living one” whom he had seen crucified, risen from the dead, and ascended into heaven (Rev 1:17-18). John heard Him say, “I died, and behold, I am alive forevermore.”

 

It could never make sense to fallen human nature that a man could ever be this much more, the more required to fulfill the promise of the Messiah. When we allow our fallen sinful reason to dominate our thoughts and actions then we have no confidence in this Son of Man. We are unable to do what Andrew did, declaring “We have found the Messiah” and bring our brother (our fellow man) to Jesus. The only thing that can conquer this fallen reason of ours is the Word of God, His divine revelation of Himself, as He gave to Daniel and to John and to Andrew, too, and through them has given to us.

 

Our Lutheran Confessions also guide us to place God’s own Word above our fallen reason. In submission to the Word of God they lead us to confess that Jesus the Christ is indeed true man, and yet more. He is also true God. In the Formula of Concord we confess:

The attributes of Jesus’ divine nature, which could never originate out of any human nature, are communicated also to the human nature of Jesus. This communication of attributes through the union of the two natures of Jesus Christ mean that we see in the man Christ (the Messiah) the divine qualities “to give life, to execute judgment, to have all authority in heaven and on earth, to have all things given into His hands, to have all things under His feet, to cleanse from sin, and so forth” (FC.sd.VIII.55).

 

The revelations given to Daniel, and John, and Andrew are given to us in their testimony. “God’s kingdom comes when His Word is taught in its truth and purity and we as the children of God also lead holy lives according to it” (Small Catechism. 2nd Petition). The eternal kingdom of the Christ comes to us when we believe God’s Word written by Daniel, and recorded by John, and confessed by Andrew. And His kingdom expands as we live holy lives of faith in this Word of God, confessing “We have found the Messiah.”

 

Jesus rules already now in His kingdom of grace among His people. He fulfills the office of the Messiah, reconciling us to God the Father, forgiving our unfaithfulness to His Word, restoring our holiness through the suffering, death, and resurrection of the Christ. The Son of Man went just as it was written of Him, and our reconciliation is in the way He went for us.

 

He is the one and only who will come on the clouds of heaven to reign in power and glory in a kingdom without end. All of His people will be delivered from all sin, suffering, and persecution. All other kingdoms will fall. All of His enemies will be conquered. We will be delivered from every opposing foe. “Every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of Him” (Rev 1:8).

 

This is the revelation that John received while persecuted in exile. Daniel received his vision while the exiles from Babylon were encountering opposition returning to Jerusalem and rebuilding the city and the temple. The Word of God concerning the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was a promise of victory to them and it remains equally a promise of victory to us. It is a promise that is grasped with faith in the Word of God. “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near” (Rev 1:3).

 

 

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

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