3rd Wednesday of Advent
Daniel 2:35, 44-45
Come, O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel! In the name of Jesus, our Savior and our Rock, dear friends in Christ,
The financial and insurance company Prudential has an interesting logo. Their logo is based off a gigantic rock, the Rock of Gibraltar, located at the southern tip of Spain and at the beginning of the Strait of Gibraltar that connects the Mediterranean with the Atlantic ocean. Why would a financial and insurance company choose a logo that features a gigantic and massive rock? Among other things it wants people to know that it’s company is set off far above all others and sits on the summit of a rock-solid foundation. And no doubt it helps. People want security, firmness, stability. We want to know that we stand on solid ground, that our lives are secure.
Now, if we want to make sure that our lives are secure and on solid foundation temporally, wouldn’t it make even more sense that we’d want our lives to be set on solid ground spiritually?
Jesus told us in the gospel for this evening exactly how our lives are spiritually solid. He said that the man who hears His Word and puts it into practice is like the man who built his house on a rock. When we hear God’s Word and do what He tells us God gives us more joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. All the things that we need in order to have a good life God gives to us in the Word. And through the Word God gives us a firm and solid foundation.
Yet, in our sin we make a mess of it. We fail to get into His Word regularly. We fail to study it. We fail to put into practice what He tells us. And so our lives become more messed up, we become more insecure, and most importantly, we miss out on some of the spiritual security God wants us to have!
So once again we’re reminded of our need for a Savior, our need for forgiveness, and God gives it to us. He assures us again and again, even tonight, that Jesus lived, died, and rose for you to give you the very forgiveness that you need and further He gives us the security we need- the absolute truth that because of Jesus we KNOW eternal life is yours, is mine! That’s real security.
And God wants us to know it and have it! So He gives us further accounts like this one before us to assure us even more of the security that is ours in Him. Our text this evening is from the book of Daniel. At this time the Jews are in captivity in Babylon. Some of them have been taken into the governing system of Babylon. God gave Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king, a troubling dream. And so, he wanted an interpretation. So he asked all his wise men for two things: a. That they tell him what his dream was and b. that they explain it.
Why make such a requirement? Was it perhaps because some of the wise men claimed a connection to the gods? And Neb was searching for some spiritual security and certainty too? And this was a test to see if any of them really did? Perhaps. Well, none of the wise men could interpret it and they said, “No one is able to do what the king asks!” Fed up and furious Neb ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon. So Daniel, one of the wise men, encouraged his fellow believers to pray that God would give him the insight into the dream. And God did! So they brought Daniel to the King and this is what happened: (read text starting at Daniel 2:27 – 2:45)
We have the opportunity to look through history and see how God fulfilled this dream. The statue represented 4 kingdoms: the head of gold was the Babylonian empire, grand and glorious but not very long lasting, then came silver chest and arms which was the Medo-Persian kingdom, less glorious but lasting a little longer, then came the bronze belly and thighs, which was the Greek kingdom of Alexander the Great, less glorious, then came the legs and feet of Iron or iron and clay which was the Roman kingdom. But we want to focus on the rock.
It’s cut out – not by human hands. It smashes that statue to smithereens, and grows and grows until it becomes a great mountain! And who is that mountain? It’s you and me! It’s the church, the believers in Jesus! YOU are a piece of that rock! Oh, it begins with Jesus. He’s the Cornerstone. He’s the Savior! He’s the One upon whom the Church is built! He went to the cross and won forgiveness for us humans!
And through all of time God has been calling people to faith in Jesus. Through all of time God has been leading people to trust that Jesus is THE Savior, that He’s the only way to heaven. And so as kingdoms of this earth come and go and come and go, the Church of God continues to add members to it, continues to grow in numbers, continues to grow in strength. Oh, it may not look that way – on this side of eternity, the church often seems to be attacked and forlorn and often losing.
But the reality is, God’s Church is a mountain! God’s Church is strong! God’s Church endures! God Church is firm and sure! And YOU are that Church! God has called you to trust that Jesus is the Savior. That was all God’s work. He baptized you, claiming you as His child. He feeds you with His own body and blood in the Lord’s Supper. He uses the Word and the Sacraments to keep building your faith. It’s HIS work, His alone.
But you get the blessings! You get the sure knowledge that your sins are forgiven, you get the sure knowledge that God loves you. You get the absolutely sure knowledge that you are a child of God, that you’re on the way to eternal life! YOUR eternal life is firm, sure, standing as firm and sure as a mountain!
And so in a world which is searching for firmness, searching for reliability, searching for security, you have it. You are a part of this “rock”, this mountain. You are part of God’s Church, a member of God’s family. Your eternity is certain and sure, bought by the blood of Jesus. And knowing that, you and I will once again in one week have a very merry Christmas. Amen.