Eurasia Blog Wednesday GUEST Devotion: Blessed is He

Rev. Hugo Gevers is the missionary to the migrants in Volkmarsdorf, Leipzig. He is sent by the mission arm of The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) German partner church body, Die Selbständige Evangelische–Lutherische Kirche (The Independent Evangelical Lutheran Church — SELK). Rev. Gevers works through the meeting house, Die Bruecke (The Bridge) to reach migrants, refugees and the poor and underserved of the Voklmarsdorf district of Leipzig, Germany. He works with children and adults through many activities. Through all of this, Rev. Gevers proclaims the Gospel to change the hearts and lives of those with whom he works.

–By Rev. Hugo Gevers

Rev. Hugo Gevers places the sign of the cross upon the forehead of a Baptismal candidate on Sunday, November 22, 2015 at Lukaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. Photo by Elizabeth Ahlman

Rev. Hugo Gevers places the sign of the cross upon the forehead of a Baptismal candidate on Sunday, November 22, 2015 at Lukaskirche in Leipzig, Germany. Five former Muslims were Baptized into Christ that day. Photo by Elizabeth Ahlman

Living in former East Germany means that we are often confronted with people who are confounded by scriptures which are well known to us. So it is also with Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. One person commented about this as follows: “There’s this dude, called Jesus, riding on a donkey. The crowd makes a great fuss about him and then they all go back home again and the rental donkey has to be returned to its rightful owner! What’s the point?” To make things easier we may be tempted to search for a higher moral in the story. And this is indeed what often happens as many Christians desperately search for a moral point in the story. For eg.: Some would say that Jesus riding on a donkey points to His humility, therefore we should all be humble as Jesus was. Others would want to moralize about the whimsical behavior of the crowd. On the one day they want to crown Jesus on the next day they would cry: “Crucify him” These attempts to transport our ideas into the text are rather misleading. The Gospel of Matthew itself gives us the key to interpreting Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. He comments: “This took place to fulfill scripture.” For all the pious Jews of Jerusalem this scene was crystal clear because it was all written down long ago in Zecchariah 9,9: “He is humble and riding on a donkey.” After all that was said and done by Jesus, this entry was a clear message directly from the Word of God. This was the cherry on the cake! Jesus was announcing demonstratively who He really was. And He was doing it directly in line with Scripture. This is why everyone suddenly grasped that this was the Messiah! The long wait has come to an end! Oh what joy can still be felt from the loud singing:

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Perhaps the Jewish people of Jesus’ time saw all their hopes and wishes fulfilled in this scene: “Jesus riding on a donkey” meant that God had at last fulfilled Scripture. In 2015 we are waiting for Jesus’ return. After so many years, it becomes all the more vital to cling onto the Words and promises of Jesus and not to allow ourselves to be driven by politics, by the many voices of our times and by our own very personal dreams and wishes. In the wonderful Advent Hymn we will rejoice with all Christianity:

Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates!
Behold, the King of Glory waits;
The King of kings is drawing near,
The Savior of the world is here.
Life and salvation He doth bring,
Wherefore rejoice and gladly sing:
We praise Thee, Father, now,
Creator, wise art Thou! (“Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates” quoted from this website).

It is true that we have many different hopes and wishes. But looking at God’s Word we will find that Jesus brings us Salvation from Satan, Death and Sin. When Jesus rode on a donkey into Jerusalem, very few realized that this was His goal. Even now most people want to re-package Jesus’ gift to us and sell it as something different. In Advent we will look to Jesus and expect Him to guide us in this. It is especially important that we cling onto His promises. As Matthew points out “Scripture is fulfilled!” So also Scripture will be fulfilled in future and Jesus will return to call us home. It is so important not to rely on our human feelings but on Jesus and His Words. Once I saw an amazing picture, which illustrates this point perfectly. In a busy street I observed the following: An elderly couple were trying to shuffle through the throng. However it was very difficult for them to move forward, because the husband was blind and he had to cling to his wife for support and guidance. Later the wife took her husband’s arms and gesticulated to him, to hold onto a lamp post. She then quickly disappeared into a shop. To all those people who had not observed this, the sight of an old man clinging to a lamp post was indeed strange. But the old man simply ignored all the people walking past. He concentrated all his strength on holding onto the lamp post. He did this because He was relying on his wife who had promised to pick him up at exactly this spot. And only in this way, his wife found him safe and sound exactly as promised. We Christians are doing exactly the same things. To bystanders our actions may sometimes seem confusing and strange. Going to church, reading the Bible, receiving Christ’s Body and Blood in Holy Communion. All these things are totally meaningless, if the Lord had not told us before, that He would meet us exactly there.

And this we will do with great hope and joy! Because the Lord said so.

“Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!”

Dear God. Your Word is true and faithful. Sometimes we are confused by the many different voices in our hearts and around. Please send us your Holy Spirit and true Advent Hope and Joy! Amen

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