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John 1:1-14

 

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life,and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own,and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV)

A New Order

Friday of Easter 6

28 May 2014

The incarnation of our Lord is truly a new order. What is powerful is hidden in weakness. What is miraculous is hidden in humility. The world's order is the opposite. The world presumes that coercion and overt displays of power are the preferable methods for dealing with people. The so called "new world order" (remember that moniker from George H. W. Bush?) was just the old world order with a new name. In those days, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States was the only serious superpower left. International relations hawks thought that the rest of the world would just have to go along with US leadership. Francis Fukuyama predicted the End of History with the eventual global triumph of political and economic liberalism. Yes, well, that didn't end up happening. Next prediction, please? The power of the human desire to overpower others has hardly come to an end.

 

The Lord Christ does things quite differently. He claims to triumph over the worst plagues in the world by taking human flesh, carrying human sin, dying to grant forgiveness and to defeat death for all humans. Now we're talking about a new order entirely. In that new order all the human expectations normed by the law are upended by God's radical plan to save us in a way completely outside the conception of the world. God offers Himself and without preconditions. He lays down arms and declares a state of peace with us who have been at war with Him by our sin and rebellion. He has embraced us to calm our warring madness and in the embrace we have bound, beaten, and crucified Him. He accepted our tantrum of wickedness into Himself just as a parent embraces a child who is pitching a tantrum of frustration and accepts his flailing until he comes to himself. The Lord extinguished our burning depravity by allowing it to be extinguished in Him. What other leader has ever allowed such things to be done to him? That is certainly a new order.

 

Every madman, dictator, and megalomaniac has claimed to inaugurate the new world order that will last for a thousand years, but they lasted only a few decades at most; in any case somewhat short of a thousand years. Only the reign of the living Lord Jesus will be eternal. But not because we can see it marshal a hundred divisions of soldiers marching in lock step, or fill a stadium with frenzied crowds, or strike fear into the hearts of those who oppose it. No, the Lord Jesus places first in His armies the little children, who are armed only with His grace. The Lord Jesus comes not in pomp of circumstance, but in the humility of word and sacraments bestowed quietly and in great reverence by humble men called to serve God's people. The Lord seeks no fearsome secret service, but seeks to serve those who are fearful, bringing peace to their secret hearts. This is certainly a new order.

 

Leo the Great

 

"The Son of God enters then these lower parts of the world, descending from His heavenly home and yet not quitting His Father's glory, begotten in a new order by a new nativity. In a new order, because being invisible in His own nature, He became visible in ours, and He whom nothing could comprehend was content to be comprehended (Jn 1:5). Abiding before all time He began to be in time. The Lord of all things, He obscured His immeasurable majesty and took on Himself the form of a servant. Being God that cannot suffer, He did not disdain to be man that can, and, immortal as He is, to subject Himself to the laws of death. The Lord assumed His mother's nature without her faultiness, nor in the Lord Jesus Christ, born of the Virgin's womb, does the wonderfulness of His birth make His nature unlike ours. For He who is true God is also true man and in this union there is no lie, since the humility of manhood and the loftiness of the Godhead both meet there. Just as God is not changed by the showing of pity, so man is not consumed by the dignity. For each form does what is proper to it with the cooperation of the other; that is the Word performing what pertains to the Word, and the flesh carrying out what pertains to the flesh. One of them sparkles with miracles, the other succumbs to injuries. And as the Word does not cease to be on an equality with His Father's glory, so the flesh does not forego the nature of our race. For it must again and again be repeated that one and the same is truly Son of God and truly son of man. God in that 'In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God' (Jn 1:1) and man in that 'the Word became flesh and dwelt among us' (Jn 1:14). God in that 'All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made' (Jn 1:3), man in that 'He was born of woman, born under the law' (Gal 4:4)."


Leo the Great, Tome, 4
 
Prayer
Lord Christ, you did disdain to become man and suffer death, that we who were subject to death might be raised to immortality. Send us preachers and teachers who will continue to proclaim the new order of Your humility to us, that we might trust You only. Amen.

 

For the electors of Concordia University Chicago, as they seek the Lord's will in choosing a present to lead the university into God's future, that they would have wisdom from above

 

For those who have heard the preaching of Christ's ascension, that they would be comforted by the session of God's Son at the right hand of majesty

 

For those who are despairing of their own righteousness, that they would hear of Christ's righteousness from a friend or neighbor, and have their hearts set at peace 

Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias Resurrection (1515)

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