The Second Sunday after Christmas, 2021

Name a kingdom that existed when Jesus was born that still exists today.

Name an empire that hasn’t turned to dust.

The high and mighty of Jesus’ day are now nothing more than names for children to learn in school.

So impressive, powerful, and wealthy were they, that we remember them with flash cards in 1st grade and forget them all by 5th!

Meanwhile, the kingdom and Church of Jesus Christ stands. The gates of hell have not prevailed, nor will they.

Psalm 2 is being fulfilled as time marches by.

The nations rage, the peoples plot, and the kings of this world are destroyed, while the Infant of Bethlehem reigns.

If the United States had to choose between Jesus, King of the Jews, and Herod, king of the Jews, which would they choose? Jesus or Herod?

Asking the question that way is terrifying, because as for us and our households, we would choose the Lord, but America, reduced to one and representative of the whole, chooses Herod every day.

America has been called a Christian nation, but how many live as Christians?

I don’t mean how many pretend—I mean how many repent, confess their sins, and receive and believe and trust and live out the Absolution?

On a given Sunday, how many Americans go to church and hear the gospel? How many receive the forgiveness of sins earned and given in Jesus Christ alone?

If they’re not in church where are they?

If they’re not hearing the Gospel, what do they hear?

What do they confess? What do they believe?

America has been called a Christian nation, but where’s Rachel?

Why is she not raising her voice in Ramah, weeping for her children?

She’s not weeping—because she has the right to kill her own children and to shed no tears for them at all.

It’s her alleged constitutional right as an American to sacrifice her unborn child on the altar of today’s Moloch, a false god of ancient times reanimated.

The doctrine that a woman has the right to do what she chooses with the fruit of her womb is a hellish lie and a direct attack on God and His Christ.

Those who favor the so-called “right” of a woman to have an abortion have joined sides with Herod against Jesus.

Jesus is for life, and Herod, for death.

Jesus became a little baby, and Herod murdered them.

Jesus loves the little children, and Herod hated them.

Jesus hides the glory of His almighty power under His humble, human nature.

Herod orders the children killed for the sake of his own personal, political power and gain.

He lived by the same rules as our politicians: support the ones who’ll vote for you and kill their children when asked, because dead children don’t vote.

At this, the Church of Christ on earth appears to be ineffective, irrelevant, and hopeless.

Who needs to flee for refuge to the God become flesh when you can get what you want by being offended?

Who needs to bow down before God incarnate, when there’s money to be made and human achievements to celebrate?

Look at America’s power!

She’s as powerful as any nation that’s ever existed, with a higher standard of living and amazing resources. She can impose her will on most other nations in the world, and has frequently done so.

But—name a kingdom that existed when Jesus was born that still exists today.

Name an empire that hasn’t turned to dust.

A virus with an almost 99% survival rate has, in places, crippled us.

People who say 2020 was the worst year lack imagination.

Imagine if God tried to bring us to our knees.

When God became flesh and dwelt among us, a babe in His mother’s arms, that was saying something about children and humanity.

That was saying, “Jesus loves the little children.”

That was saying He comes to them to be their Lord and God.

God doesn’t take kindly to those who kill babies.

God judges.

He’ll punish our nation, because our nation stands by and watches as millions of babies are slaughtered in the name of false gods like “reproductive rights,” “choice,” “sexual freedom” and “women’s rights.”

God punishes.

He punishes those who kill babies and He punishes those who protect and support those who kill babies.

Rachel was avenged in Herod’s death, and she’ll be avenged again.

Nations come and go.

They rise and fall, and God laughs at their foolish attempts to play-act Divinity.

We worship a God who fulfills biblical prophecy to the letter, down to the return of the baby Jesus from Egypt to His home in Nazareth.

Matthew teaches, in the Gospel Lesson for today, that the prophet Hosea was talking about Jesus when he said, “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son” (Hosea 11:1).

From Jesus and His deliverance, we learn that evil men have power and use it to cause pain and suffering and that’s the way it’s gonna be.

But we also learn that these evil men are not really in control but that our gracious God has set a limit to their power.

We learn that God loves the little children and that those who call themselves Christians must love them too, which is why we baptize babies instead of killing them.

And more than anything, we learn that God’s power is not to be found in the glorious appearance of great political might. Rather, God’s power is hidden in weakness, like that of an infant being carried to Egypt.

We find our almighty God in this little one, who seems so weak and small.

But He’s not.

He’s our God and Lord and Christ.

He has come to us and to our children to save us.

And He won’t leave us.

He might destroy the nation we call home.

I don’t say that to shock—I say that because it’s true.

He might destroy the nation we call home.

But He won’t let anything destroy His Church.

He who shed His blood to wash us clean of every sin has come to help, save, comfort, and defend us.

He has given us His Word.

There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

For those who love the little children—and even for those who have not—God has put away your sin in the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ.

Hold fast to the Savior of the Nations, and He will guard and keep you through every trouble of this world.

When you wander, He calls you back.

When you flee from Him in terror, He invites you to flee to Him for refuge.

There is no sin that Jesus did not bear.

There is no sin that is not now forgiven in Christ.

That’s how the kingdom of Jesus Christ stands when all others are destroyed.

The blood of Jesus avails for all sinners everywhere and calls out not for your condemnation but for your acquittal.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Christmas 2 Sermon, 2021
Matthew 2:13-23
Rev. Benjamin Tyler Holt

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