Isaiah passionately calls out to God, “Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains would tremble before you.” While we might want God to come down and make the earth tremble in fear of his judgment, that is a very serious thing to ask. On account of how we have misused God’s name, we should be considered his enemies who quake before him. When we continue to sin, he has every right to be angry with us. Because of our unrighteous and filthy actions, we should be removed from his presence like a shriveled leaf that the wind blows away. How foolish it would be to join Isaiah in asking God to come down. So, how could Isaiah call on the Lord to come. ‘How can we be saved?’ Isaiah calls on the one who is not only a just God, but a gracious Father… the God who helps his people and does not remember their sins forever. That’s the God whom Isaiah calls to come. We do too. And he did. He came down and the mountains did not tremble. Hardly anyone noticed but some shepherds out in a field. He came down wrapped in flesh and swaddling clothes, and was placed in a manger. He came not to judge us and give us what we deserve. He came to suffer what we deserved in our place. He came to forgive sins which would not be remembered forever. Jesus became guilty for all of our sins, including the filthy acts that we deem righteous. Jesus’ clothes were torn. He experienced the anger of man and the wrath of God. Yet in Jesus’ death God paid for sin, sin that was blown away like shriveled leaves in the wind. He was punished as God’s enemy so that we would be forgiven. So yes, with Isaiah, we can passionately call out to God. This Advent season we call to the God who came down in the flesh-our Lord Jesus – Jesus answers that prayer by coming to us in Word and Sacrament to deliver forgiveness for our sins. And when he returns again on the clouds to judge the living and the dead, we can lift up our heads with joy. In Jesus, we are not guilty. We are saved from our sins.
Dear Lord Jesus Christ, Savior and judge of the world, rend the heavens and come down with your comforting message of forgiveness. Allow us to live lives confident of your salvation and fear from the fear of a guilty conscience. Strengthen us by your Holy Spirit to give you glory in all our days of waiting for your return. Amen.