Wednesday after the First Sunday in Advent
Scripture: St. Matthew 21:1-9 (NKJV)
1 Now when they drew near Jerusalem, and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, then Jesus sent two disciples, 2 saying to them, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied, and a colt with her. Loose them and bring them to Me. 3 And if anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” 4 All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 5 “Tell the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.'” 6 So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. 7 They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. 8 And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. 9 Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!”
As regards His kingdom of omnipotence throughout the whole world and the kingdom of His glory in eternal life, they will be considered elsewhere. Right now we want to consider only His kingdom of grace, through which He rules the Christian Church. But we will not consider all His gracious workings in this kingdom; namely, how He gives His Church apostles, evangelists, shepherds and teachers (Eph. 4:11), who are the so-called royal hosts of Psa. 68:13. Also, how He calls people to the fellowship of His kingdom through the Word and holy Sacraments; how He protects the citizens of this grace-kingdom against all their enemies, so that it is said of them: God will smash the heads of His enemies along with their hairy skulls, Psa. 68:21. About these works of Christ, which altogether belong to the kingdom of grace, we will not give consideration at this time; rather, only about how He rules in the hearts of the believers through His grace and Holy Spirit. St. Paul speaks of this in Eph. 3:17, that Christ lives in our hearts through faith.
Now this kingdom is so constituted that it does not come with external gestures, rather it is internally within us, as the Lord Christ Himself describes it in Luke 17:20-21. But how is it to be understood, that Christ kingdom does not come with outward gestures, but that it is internally within us? St. Paul explains it in Rom. 14:17: For the kingdom of God does not consist of eating and drinking, rather of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; that is, Christ’s kingdom is not bound to a certain place, food, clothing, and the like; rather, it is an inward spiritual kingdom which is to be found within the inward person where righteousness, peace and joy from the Holy Spirit are awakened. All earthly kings govern their kingdoms with outward trappings so that one sees the glory of their kingdom. However, Christ governs His grace-kingdom within the innermost foundation of the heart, so that it is stated: The king’s daughter is inwardly most glorious, she is clothed with golden pieces, Psa. 45:14. One cannot outwardly see the glorious smock and the decorations with which Christ has clothed the citizens of His kingdom; rather, they are internally hidden within them.
(From the Postilla (1613) of Johann Gerhard, Sermon for Advent 1)