Bread – Retribution

December 24, 2008

Readings for Wednesday, December 24

            from the Book of Common Prayer:

            Isa. 35:1-10, 59:15b-21; Phil. 2:5-11; Rev. 22:12-21;

                        Luke 1:67-80

            Psalms 45, 46, 89:1-29



How odd it is as a topic for Christmas Eve that I should have the topic “retribution.”  But I did not pull this word from thin air, but from today’s reading from the prophet Isaiah:


“The desert and the parched land will be glad; The wilderness will rejoice and blossom…

say to those with fearful hearts, ‘Be strong, do not fear; your God will come,

He will come with vengeance; with divine retribution He will come to save you.”  Isaiah 35:1-4


To someone hearing “with divine retribution He will come to save you” 700 years before Christ’s birth, this probably sounded like God as a warrior coming from the skies to wreak havoc upon the “bad people” and “save” the good ones.


There was a problem, however, and that is that we are all “bad people” through and through.  We Christians call it “original sin,” but translated it means that we are born polluted, we are born rotten, there is no good in us.


So, in the famous words of C.S. Lewis spoken through Aslan in his Chronicles of Narnia book series, there is a “deeper magic” afoot.  There are two halves to the phrase “He will come with … divine vengeance” and “He will come to save you.”


How could this prophecy be fulfilled when, in order to save you, God had to come with “divine vengeance?”


The answer begins at the birth of Christ, the incarnation of God in the flesh, establishing the base of operation for your rescue, for your salvation … a rescue which ends on the cross and subsequent resurrection.


You see, if man is to be saved, God’s retribution must be delivered upon man, but man cannot bear it — so God became man so that God Himself could bear the retribution which we deserve and which is necessary for us to be saved.


God did come, incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and “with divine retribution, He [came] to save you.”


Through the fog of high-flying music, grand parades, massive advertisement, warmth of fire and family … see this … this baby Jesus … God’s vengeance, His retribution, brought to earth so that you may be saved.


And then, seeing this clearly, you will indeed have reason to both come to Him and adore Him.


Have a Holy and Amazing Christmas!



Lord, help us to love your Word, incarnate in Jesus Christ and written in Scripture.  Help us Lord to come to you and to bring others to you.  Help us know that you are God and we are not.  Assist us Lord through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to be both willing and obedient.  It is only through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ that we are empowered to even make this prayer.  And so we thank you and praise you!  Amen.






One Response to “Bread – Retribution”

  1. Kathy Kremer Says:

    Thanks be to God for his wonderful plan to save us and set everything right in this broken world.

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