1st Wednesday of Advent
In the name of Jesus, dear friends in Christ,
“Hey you!” “Excuse me, sir.” “Pardon me, mam.” “Everyone listen up!” How do you get someone’s attention? That is a very important question in our world. Businesses spend billions of dollars every year on advertisements that are designed to get your attention- whether it be on the internet, in the newspaper, in a magazine, on a billboard, over the radio. In fact, there are tons of things that are vying for your attention every day. Coming off of Black Friday and Cyber Monday perhaps you noticed how many stores are vying for your attention because they want you to buy their product. Why will we soon hear bells ringing outside of different stores? People who volunteer for the Salvation Army want you to see them and donate money to their cause. There’s just so many things that are trying to get our attention that if you stop and think about it for a little while, it’s phenomenal.
Well, in our text for this evening we hear about a woman who cried out for attention. Jesus had just done a miracle and had driven out an evil spirit from someone and Jesus’ enemies accused him of driving the evil spirit out not by the power of God, but of the devil. Jesus answered their accusation by first of all making the point that if the devil was driving out the devil his kingdom could not stand because it would be divided against itself. Then Jesus uses a little illustration- if a strong man guards his house, his possessions are safe, but if a stronger man comes, he will overpower the strong man and carry off his spoils. In other words, Jesus drove out the evil spirit because he was stronger than the devil and is rescuing people from the devil’s hold.
Well, after those things an excited but misguided woman yelled out, “Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.” What did she mean by that? Does she think that Jesus’ mother was goddess or something? Maybe she was well-intentioned but she was still distracting people away from Jesus to focus on his mother.
There are many things that cry out loudly for our attention this Advent season. There are many things that can distract us from what is really important. We get distracted by garland and gifts. We get distracted by parties and presents. We get distracted by stores and cookies and snow. Not that those things are bad in themselves, but when we allow them to take our attention, when we allow them to rob us of our focus, we’re sinning.
Jesus says, “Wait for me in stillness.” Quiet yourself from the hustle and hurry, the going there and the doing this, quiet your heart in the Spring of joy, the Root of life, in Jesus and His Word. Jesus directs our attention here to where it needs to be: “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”
Jesus is calling someone blessed here. Really, he’s complimenting someone. We all like to hear compliments right? “You look very nice today. That dress looks very good on you. Great work on that project!” What we tend to do is value rate someone’s comments based on how important that person is to us. A compliment from your boss is probably more important to you than a compliment from someone who works for you. What about a compliment from Jesus? How important is that? Who does God compliment? You know, on the Last Day Jesus isn’t going to compliment the people who built the biggest churches or who gave the most money to the needy or achieved a Nobel peace prize or a presidential medal of honor. Rather, he complements those who are humble, broken in spirit, contrite in heart and tremble at His Word. In other words, it’s people who know they’ve sinned, know they’ve failed, know they’ve allowed themselves to be distracted over and over again, know they deserve nothing but God’s punishment. But they listen to Jesus’ words, they spend time with God in the Bible, they guard and treasure His Word.
Why so? Because Jesus’ words are our most prized possession. All the gifts you get at Christmas, all your toys, all your possessions are one day going to be gone, they won’t matter. But Jesus’ words in our hearts will matter. Jesus’ words that reassure us that He was born in order to save and rescue us, Jesus’ words comfort us that we have a Savior who has forgiven all our sins. Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Word never will.
So wait in stillness. Ignore the loud cries, ignore the attention thieves of our world, ignore the busyness and the hustle. Just wait, wait in stillness listening to the Savior’s Word and obeying it. Doing that you will be blessed both now and forever – Jesus says so. Amen.