Luther’s Christmas Sermons: Herod, Wise Men, and the Presentation, pt.2

Tonight we are wrapping up Martin Luther’s Christmas Book. Please read the final three sermons on “Herod,” “The Wise Men,” and “The Presentation.”  Luther’s final sermon in the book concerns Jesus’ Presentation in the Temple (Luke 2:22-38) and the Slaughter of the Innocents (Matt 2:13-23).  Luther uses both of these events to convict his audience and us about the ways of the world.  In the Presentation, Simeon, an ordinary man, takes Jesus in his arms and praises God for the coming Messiah.  The priests, however, who performed the purification ritual under the Law (Lev. 12) failed to recognize who was in their presence. They simply took their fee and moved on. A common man recognized the Messiah, while the religious leaders were blind to him. For us, the question is when do we do the same?

With respect to Herod, Luther points out that his act of ordering the death of all male children in Bethlehem was justifiable. The heralded coming of the Messiah could easily cause the Romans to overreact.  As Luther points out, fear is a great source of evil.  And so Herod’s men became frightful murderers because he had a persuasive defense of keeping the peace.  And so Luther poses the question to us of when do we justify evil against God’s Messiah and particularly the least of these?      

Dinner is at 6. The menu is Bojangles. Discussion about 6:45. Hope to see you here. Please remember that next week is our small group Christmas party.  Please bring your favorite hors d’oeuvres and a $5-15 gift for the gift exchange.

It is too light a thing that you should be my servant
    to raise up the tribes of Jacob
    and to restore the preserved of Israel;
I will give you as a light to the nations,
    that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.

Isaiah 49:6

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