Pastor Christopher R. Gillespie
Grace Lutheran Church – Dyer, Indiana
01. December 2010
Advent Midweek I
“The Mountain of the Lord’s House”
+ IN NOMINE JESU +
Dear Christians, I bid you warm welcome to our midweek Advent services. These three weeks we will consider three texts of prophecy from Isaiah, especially as they teach us about the Advent of our Lord Jesus Christ. In each of the three, God revealed to Isaiah his means of bringing the many to the heavenly Zion, the body of Christ, the holy catholic Church. Today’s text is the first of these texts. Today we learn that Christ gathers his church from the nations through his way of the Word.
First, notice that Isaiah received a word from the Lord. This is a prophecy of a future time, as is indicated by the word “saw.” Isaiah “saw” a word, meaning a the Lord revealed to him what would come to pass. Some argument exists whether this text relates to Christ’s advent in the flesh or to Christ’s advent in the church. I believe it reveals the truth of the gathering of the Christian church. The writer to the Hebrews understood the phrase “latter days” as referring to the time of the church (Hebrews 1:1-2) when he wrote “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.”
Now, in these latter days, our Lord has established His house, that is, the body of Christ. His body is the mountain built on the top of all the mountains. Pagan religions establish their false altars on hills and mountains. Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal on the mountain of Carmel. The Greek and later Roman pantheons resided on Mount Olympia. Even the American idols reside on Mount Rushmore. Mountains are the places of the gods. So, it is for our Lord. He will take up residency in his home of Mount Zion. Mount Zion isn’t like other mountains. It is the mountain built on the top of the highest mountain. Our Lord’s heavenly home is the home built on the ruins of all the false religions. His mountainous home is higher than the highest peak, greater than the most lofty world religion. Christ’s temple stands above the horizon, overshadowing every false belief and silly hill constructed by men.
Our Lord, his body, and his mountain are not just another mountain among many. Isaiah gives us a new way of looking at the world. We aren’t one faith among many, one mountain among many. We belong to the highest mountain, the mountain that towers over every mountain, the mountain built on the top of the highest mountain. The Christian faith is exclusive. It is the only faith that will stand the test of time and weather the storms. It is not acceptable for us to say, “you believe whatever you like, for what its worth, I’m a Christian.” No, we have a different reality, an exclusivity that is totally un-PC, offensive to Jew and a stumbling block to the Greek. His mountain is the only mountain that matters. Agnostics, atheists, and heretics alike need this mountain.
The Christian church is this “mountain of the Lord’s house” where the nations flow. This is where the many come and say, “Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob.” The church is the house of the God of Jacob where all believers gather around the word that we have seen and have heard through Jesus. Here is his holy house, where our Lord teaches us His ways, and we walk in His paths. There is no other mountain on mountains, no other mountain of the Lord’s house, house of the God of Jacob. The nations gather to hear His ways and to walk in His paths.
Yet, we from our perspective we sometimes think this mountain to be but a hill, a bump in the terrain of world religion. We look at ourselves as the body of Christ and are unimpressed. Our churches are modest endeavors, pale in comparison to the wonders of the Greek and Roman temple. Our faith doesn’t seem feature heroic battles and epic scope of Islam. Our lives aren’t enlightened like the those who sit on top of the mountains of Tibet or Mt. Fuji in serene wonder. instead, we believe we are poor, miserable sinners. We mope about, like Pooh’s friend Eeyore, “woe is me, a sinner!”
Even our Lord’s deliverance and redemption is not all that impressive. A silly man two thousand years ago gave up his life without a fight. He called himself the son of God, the king of the Jews. So what? That’s how absurd it looks to the world. Yet, despite the humility of our Lord’s method, his Word goes forth and accomplishes what it sets forth to do. You are a testament to our efficacy of our Lord’s Word. He called you to his holy mount Zion and here you are. Out of Zion, came for the Law, the Torah, the way of God, the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. Out of Christ’s body, the church, came forth the Word of good news, the Gospel of Jesus.
This Word are not merely niceties and fluff. This Word is a word that judges between the nations and rebukes the people. This Word speaks of your sin and the depths of your despair. He tears off of your soul all the sewn fig leaves you used to cover your condition, revealing a heart of corruption and decay. His rebuke hits home and hurts. His judgment hurts too. He judges the nations and finds them lacking. The Law comes forth and destroys the mountains of false religion.
This Word destroys but also makes alive. The Word calls us to His holy Zion, the body of Christ, the holy catholic church. This heavenly mountain home needs no nations to govern it. It is one nation, one race, one holy body. Swords are beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning hooks. The nations are gathered together into one house, the house of Jacob. It is the exalted above the hills, the mountain of the Lord. It is called and gathered by the Word, teaching us His ways and showing how to walk in His paths. “Come and let us walk in the light of the LORD.” Amen.
+ SOLI DEO GLORIA +