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He comes in Meekness
Context: Micah was simultaneous with Jeremiah, in his lifetime, the people of Israel were carried off into exile.
So he’s prophesying about their immanent doom.
Amidst the prophecy of doom for sin comes this: a prophecy of hope.
Though sin was everywhere and God’s word toward his chosen people was doom, he gave them a spark of light to look forward to … that when they were in exile, they could think back upon and have hope for.
But from where does this hope come?
Where does this hope come?
And where would you expect it to come?
Another great and magnificent city?
If we were thinking to our day, maybe Washington D.C., New York, Paris, London, Beijing.
But no, hope for Israel comes from the lowliest of places.
A town that has little to no significance.
“But you, O Bethlehem Ephratha, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah”.
Bethlehem did not have the temple of God, but it would be the place where God’s temple would enter the world.
It did not have grand halls, but was a lowly establishment.
It was in the hill country, the place where shepherds would keep their sheep.
It was a small town where all the young and talented people would move to Jerusalem, and be taken in by master craftsmen and toward places where riches and money would flow.
But our God chose to come into the world in Bethlehem.
Christ did not seek gold or riches, but he came in meekness.
Born into a manger.
There wasn’t even a proper place for his family to stay.
Instead, he was born around the slobber of animals.
And isn’t that freeing?
God is not bound by human standards.
He is above them.
Let me say that again: God is not bound by human standards.
The very birth of Jesus shows that our God is God, that he is above all else, that he isn’t made up by humans.
If a human were making this thing up, he wouldn’t place the long anticipated savior in a small podunk town.
No, the savior would come from somewhere significant.
Not born in Bethlehem, and then growing up in Nazareth, a place so far removed from civilization that many Jews had no care to cross filthy Samaria even reach it.
But God is above all.
He has the freedom to choose where he goes.
And when you follow Christ, you can have this freedom too: to not live by what others think, but to live freely in the Lord.
He sets the example for Christians to follow.
Paul writes to the Philippians:
Have this mind among yourselves.
So, put on your mindfulness caps.
Do not think of yourself in human terms: by title, by riches, by human standards of glory and success.
Rather, in Christ you are free from such things.
Accept the freedom of God.
And think of all the unnecessary worries and concerns that humans in their sin place upon people: all the unnecessary judgment and weight of the world- You have to have a steady financial job; you have to have a nest egg to retire into; you should keep up your looks so that you don’t look ugly in public; you must retain youthfulness and energy; you have to have a successful career; the list goes on.
And these are the standards that human society builds because of sinfulness.
But no, there are no human standards by which Christians are to live.
Instead, Christians are to live freely in the Lord.
We do not cater to sin and unnecessary burdens.
Rather, the yoke of our oppression in this world has been broken.
We are made free in Christ.
This is why he says “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Because Christ came in meekness, because he invites you into his meekness, and because you are able to be freed from the sinful ways of this world.
And think about the extent to which Christ humbled himself: The transcendent God of all time bound himself to human form for all eternity.
He took an extra burden upon himself, taking on something lower than himself.
Lower than his position as the invisible and immortal God, above all material existence.
From his position of exceedingly great light and glory to a position of meekness and humility, and eventually to scorn and death on the cross, so that we, God’s enemies, can have life with him.
So great is the meekness of our Christ.
What other human has done this?
Has given up such great glories for the sake of others?
Only our God.
Willing to set aside his outward glory for a season so that we can have freedom in him.
But Christ did not come only in meekness.
He also comes to rule.
He comes to rule
“from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel”
A ruler is coming.
A king, a prince.
A mighty king.
In the Christian tradition of Advent, the second candle is colored purple.
Purple was a color reserved for royalty.
Today, we remember Christ’s kingly nature, that though he came to rule, his rule first includes grace and humility.
And so I want to explore a question with you: If Christ came to rule, what kind of a ruler is he?
Is he a kind king?
Is he an angry king?
Knowing what our king is like will tell us how we are to live under him.
But Isaiah prophesied and told us of this king.
Is this not our Christ?
The Spirit dwelled with him.
He was not subject to human ways of understanding, but entrusted himself to the Lord.
He was truly righteous and faithful.
This is the kind of king we have.
Imagine this story:
(Thinking about telling about a king that goes amidst his people, then reveals himself to be the one they needed all along … medieval tale)
So first Christ travels amidst the people, seeking out those who are loyal to the king and will respond to his call.
Then he shall reveal himself in full glory and for judgment.
And in that moment, when his hood is taken off, when all eyes are opened, when the heavens are rolled back like a scroll, all will see him and will fear.
Those who have made peace with him will fear in awe and wonder and worship.
Those who have not come to peace with him will fear in despair.
For great is the might and power of our king.
Though it is veiled now, it shall be established with justice later.
But until that day comes, we must first remember that our God is merciful before he is judgmental.
Though he has every right to immediately take action against sin and against his holy name, and against his rule and those who are in his kingdom, he holds back first in mercy.
And this is what Christ did for us on the cross.
He died a death he did not deserve on the mercy tree.
Though he could have called hosts of angels who were under his rule, he suffered and died that you, his enemy, might have life in him.
That’s the kind of king we have.
We have a merciful king, who bends over backwards to save those who are living in rebellion against him.
And the tone of his life, the way it looks, sounds … sets the example for how we are to live in this present age.
We are to first meet others with mercy, and save judgment for the Lord’s timing.
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