God Grant Us Ears and Take Us by Them

Acts 3:22-26

God grant us ears. God take us by them. Faith come from hearing and we live by faith. “The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.” Jesus is that Prophet. Jesus is the Word of God Himself. And what does the Father tell us at Jesus’ Transfiguration but to listen to him?

“All the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these day.” Advent is a season grounded in time. We remember that our God is a God who acts when times have fully come. At such a time He sent Jesus. At such a time Jesus will come again. At such a time He brought us to faith, having elected us in the gospel. We are a people between times. We gather and celebrate that Christ has come and does come. We gather and pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, come,” eager for Him to come again.

Our reading today is from a sermon Peter gave. He and John were going to the temple and encountered a lame man. Peter healed him. Rather, Christ healed him through Peter. The man clung to Peter and John. A crowd gathered. Peter preached, urging that lame man and that crowd to cling, not to them, but to Christ. And to cling to Christ is to listen to His Word, because our God is a God of promise, and promises are heard, and promises are believed–believed with God-given faith that comes through hearing.

Advent is a time of fulfillment. The Bible climaxes in Christ’s arrival, just as promised. In Him we find the long-awaited blessing. In Him we have the pilgrim’s hope that led patriarchs to foreign lands and that points us to the skies, from which our Lord will return to take us home. And, in the meanwhile, we are blessed in Him as He calls us from sin to grace, from despair to hope.

Our Lord turns us from wickedness. A Christian is a turning one. Turning from wickedness is part of life under our coming King. Sin is rebellion, and no one in their right mind rebels against such a gracious Ruler as ours. That is why, like the demoniac in Mark 5, Christ must put us in our right mind, even if He at the same time drives all the world crazy. And this is what Christ does when He takes us by the ears.

The prophets have spoken. Peter preaches clearly. Our Prophet has come. Our Prophet will come again.  Listen to the Prophet, because His Word is life, and that life is lived by faith, which comes through hearing. Look for the Prophet to come again. Through the gospel we learn His voice well for when that happens. As He comes in the Absolution we hear the voice that will beckon us home when He comes again.

Wade Johnston

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