December 24, 2019
Grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In the Christmas song There’s a New Kid in Town, the Magi ask an old man where they can find the King, the new Messiah. He doesn’t know anything about a Messiah, but he points them in the direction of a baby who was just born in a nearby stable. In his words, “There’s a new kid in town, but he’s just another baby I suppose.” Why wouldn’t he suppose that? Men and women had come from all over Israel, from Galilee and Jerusalem and from a hundred miles away to be registered for tax purposes. How many of the women were pregnant? Surely, Mary wasn’t the only one. Surely, other women had given birth in the days before and after Mary had. I would imagine that there were crying babies and exhausted mothers and fathers in several of Bethlehem’s inns. That new kid in town was just like every other baby; He cried when He was hungry or had a dirty diaper or when He wanted to be held. So, who is this that shepherds and Magi visit? Who is this of whom the angels sing?
Who is this who stands in a storm-tossed boat and commands the winds to stop and the ocean to still its waves? The disciples didn’t know; “And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, ‘Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?’” Who is this? This is the Creator! This is He who told the oceans where to stop and the mountains where to rise. This is He who commanded the rains and the springs underground to flood the world and wash it of evil. This is He who commanded the waters of the Red Sea to part for His people to escape slavery to Egypt.
This is He who causes the rain to fall and the sun to shine on the good and the wicked. This is He who provides for you and gives you the gifts you’ll exchange today and tomorrow. This is He who not only controls the storms of the sea but the storms in your life. He is the one who says “Be still” to your troubled heart and anxious mind. He is the One who has power over everything and who uses that power to help, comfort, and give you peace. What Child is this? It’s Jesus, the Son of God, the only one upon whom you can completely depend.
Who is this who commanded to the demons, “Be silent, and come out of him!” Who can possibly mute demons? Demons don’t listen to anybody, so who is this who commands demons to come out of the ones whom they had driven insane, and they do it! Who is this who is stronger than evil? It is He who created angels and then cast the rebels out of Heaven when they tried to overthrow God. It is He who, when tempted by Satan, stood firm thereby ensuring that His obedience is now ours. It is He who has given you power over Satan. Satan who must cower when you confront him with the Word of God and with your Baptism. What Child is this? It is Jesus, the Son of God, the only one who has stood up to Satan and emerged victorious, and then given you that victory.
Who is this who is healing the sick, raising the dead, and curing disease? Who is the one who is doing such great things that His fame spread far and wide? This is He of whom even His enemies must admit that “the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up.” This is He who has power over the diseases of this world, who works miracles for those who love Him, who answers prayers. This is He who may not grant earthly healing but promises us eternal health with Him. This is He who may not stop death but who will raise the dead from their graves for a joyful reunion of His saints. This is He who walks with us through illness and death and promises us that when we walk through the fires, we will not be burned, for He is our refuge. What Child is this? This is Jesus, the only one whoever healed anyone with only a word, the one who will one day cure all that makes us sick and takes our lives.
Who is this who says to a paralyzed man, “Your sins are forgiven”? Aren’t the Pharisees right when they say, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Who is this who shows His power over sin by telling that same paralyzed man to get up and walk? Who is this who forgives the sins of a tax collector, a prostitute, the disciples who denied even knowing Him? This is the Son of God who forgives me. This is the Son of God who forgives you. This is He who doesn’t want you to die in your sins but calls you to repentance so that all the angels can rejoice over you. This is He who takes your sins and drops them into the deepest parts of the ocean. This is He who forgives every single sin you’ve ever committed. What Child is this? This is Jesus, the Son of God who has the authority to forgive sins and does.
Who is this famous miracle worker, the one whom some wish to crown as king, who rides into Jerusalem on a donkey? Who is this who comes to the Holy City knowing that in five days He will be dead? Who is this who willing gives Himself over to His enemies? This is He who doesn’t fight back, doesn’t talk back, and doesn’t defend Himself. This is He who is silent before His accusers, knowing that His silence only helps those who hate Him. This is He who was protected from the sword of Herod the Great when He was an infant but mocked and handed over for death by Herod’s son.
Who is this who hangs upon a cross asking forgiveness for those who are murdering Him? He is the one who speaks words of forgiveness not just for His enemies, not just for His executioners, but for you and me. You see, we’re the ones who are just as responsible for His death as the Jews who lied and the Romans who pounded the nails. This is He who bore the cross for us sinners and who pleads with His Father on your behalf. What Child is this? This is Jesus, suffering and die for your sins and of whom the Roman centurion boldly confesses, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”
Who is this who stands in a garden and says to Mary Magdalene, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Who is this who walks through locked doors to talk to His disciples and to give peace to their troubled hearts? Who is this who can stand in front of His friends with mortal wounds and not be bothered for a minute? This is He, the Son of God, who can’t be held by anybody or anything, not even death. This is He who died and then three days later walked out of His tomb alive. In one miraculous event, Jesus proved everything that He ever said or claimed about Himself. What Child is this? This is Jesus, the Son of God, who defeated death, who took its sting, and who gives you an eternal and physical life.
So what Child is this? What child would be adored by shepherds and Magi? What Child is unlike any other child? The Child whose birth was announced by the angels, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” The Child whose birth led Magi to follow a star and shepherds to risk leaving their sheep unprotected in the fields. This miracle, this God in human flesh, doesn’t appear much different than any of the other babies in Bethlehem and Judea; appearances can be deceiving though. This Child was not an ordinary child. This child was the Son of God who grew up to be the Savior of the World. He grew up to save you from your sins. Unto you this day is born the Savior, and everything He did from being born to rising from the dead is about saving you. The angels sang way back when, we sing now, for who is this? This is Jesus and He is Christ the Lord.
Now the peace which surpasses all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Amen