2nd Sunday in Advent
December 8, 2019
“Like No Other King”
Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you all in the name of God our Father and our Good Shepherd Jesus. The sermon today is based on the Old Testament Lesson from Isaiah 11.
My dear friends in Christ Jesus,
The situation on the political front is not that great these days, starting at the top. People seem to either love or hate Donald Trump, including other world leaders. It trickles down from there. Republicans don’t trust Democrats. Democrats don’t trust Republicans. People have a general lack of faith in our leaders either because we don’t like their party affiliation or we don’t like them as an individual.
It wasn’t always that way, you know. There once was a time, a time I am sure some of you can remember, when politicians and leaders were “larger than life” and role models and heroes to the young people of our nation. John F. Kennedy. Tiger Woods. Generals Douglas MacArthur and George Patton. FDR. Mickey Mantle. Bertha Palmer. Reggie Jackson. These people were leaders…heroes.
I know that our military and law enforcement personnel are “heroes,” but today we are really lacking any kind of person or persons who are true leaders; heroes and role models that everyone looks up to. Why is that? Why have people become so cynical when it comes to leadership and our heroes and role models – people to emulate and be like?
Maybe it’s because so many of them have let us down. Our heroes have let us down by their conduct and disappointed us by their behavior when their private mannerisms and scandals are made public. We admired long home run blasts from Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire, but then we learned that steroids influenced those homers. Bill Clinton, Tiger Woods, Martha Stewart, Bill Cosby, and too many others have all taken us to dizzying heights only to drop us face-first into the muck and mire of their scandalous behaviors.
Isaiah 11 contains a call to God’s people to look for true leadership that was coming. For the people of Isaiah’s day, they also needed a hero or a leader or someone who would provide hope in the face of the rampant hopelessness they were experiencing. The Northern Kingdom of Israel had made an alliance with Syria in an effort to hold off the ever-growing and dangerous Assyrians. Rather than join the Israel-Syria coalition, King Ahaz of Judah, the Southern Kingdom, actually struck terms of agreement with the Assyrians. To solidify that alliance, he gave the Assyrian king gold from the temple and had a duplicate pagan altar built in Jerusalem. Great move, Ahaz, thanks a lot! Just another example of how the leader of the people let the people down.
But Isaiah’s words here in chapter 11 tell of a king, a leader, a role model, a hero that was like no other king. There was a king coming that would make a difference. This king would not let His people down. In fact, when this king comes He brings a new, better kingdom the likes of which have never been seen. The kingdom of the new king, a leader that people can truly follow, brings perfect peace.
The new Messiah king is not swayed by the rich or the powerful unlike so many leaders in our modern world. He rules like no other king. The new King doesn’t accept money from lobbyists and doesn’t take bribes or kick-backs. And perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of the new king is that He gets results. So many politicians make campaign promises on top of promises, but they break them faster then we can change TV channels with the remote control.
The new Messiah king to come gets true results. Isaiah pointed out that under the new king, “The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; the cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra” (v. 6-8). Um yeah, that’s results. Because of sin those results and never been since, and that’s the kind of peace and security that the new King brings.
Jesus Christ, the Son of God, our coming King, the King promised of old, the King who comes from the stump of Jesse, is a King like no other king. Unlike human kings or role models, He is the King that makes a tremendous difference in our lives. He is a ruler, a leader, a king that we can truly have faith in for He will not disappoint us or let us down! EVER!
As King, Jesus’ word defeats our every enemy and liberates us especially from the dreaded forces of sin, death, and the devil. Human kings and leaders speak and talk endlessly about what they’ll do for us, but our King Jesus, the One that Isaiah foretold, does more than just talk about what He will do for us as His subjects. He takes action…action that leads Him from the manger to the cross to an empty grave, and by doing so he creates dramatic, eternal changes for our lives.
The leaders of this world will come and go. They already have and will continue to do so. There will be a time when Donald Trump – love him or hate him – will not be our president. There will be a time when all the countries of the world will have different leaders because that is the nature of human existence; people come and people go no matter how popular or unpopular they are. But Isaiah told the people of his day that a leader would come one day that would not disappoint; he would bring true righteousness and justice and peace that would reign forever. The King’s name was to be “Immanuel” – God with us.
The coronation of that king took place on a hill outside of Jerusalem. Surrounded by jeers and taunts from his “subjects,” the promised King was crowned with a crown of thorns and He was given three nails as a coronation gift. But without the manger, without the cross, without the tomb, without His resurrection, then we would still be lacking our One and only true King, the King like no other king.