St. Mary—Observed (Gal 4, 4–7; Lk 1, 39–55)

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When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under under the Law, that we would receive adoption as sons.

᛭ INI ᛭

Today, we’re remembering the death of St. Mary, the Mother of our Lord. When we do, we’re not preaching Mary. Elizabeth didn’t magnify Mary. Mary didn’t either. Sure, she was a blessed and chosen instrument. She is “blessed among women.” But that really doesn’t have anything to do with her, but with what the triune God did through her.

We often just think of Mary as the Mother of Jesus, but we are reminded today of how amazing that fact really is. Mary is the Mother of God. She bore, in her womb, the Creator of the universe. Jesus is the eternal Son of the Father, “full of grace and truth.” Sent from the Father in “the fullness of time,” Jesus is about 2,022 years old.

All this for a purpose. When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law.” To what end? “To redeem those under under the Law.” Why’d He do that? “That we would receive adoption as sons.

Jesus is eternal yet has birthdays, transcendent yet conceived, carried for nine months, and born of a woman, the Prince of Life yet died. He came back to life on the third day, “death no longer has dominion over Him.” He did all this to redeem. He redeemed so that sonship, adoption as sons, would be given and received. Or to put it another way:

BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE FOR US, EACH OF YOU IS GIFTED SONSHIP BEFORE GOD.

(I. This is different than the way the world does things.)

The way Paul talks in Galatians is strange to us, and when I summarize Paul by saying, “BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE FOR US, EACH OF YOU IS GIFTED SONSHIP BEFORE GOD,” it’s radically different than the way the world does things. The world simply doesn’t operate the way God lays things out in the Bible.

This is clearly the case when it comes to the way words are used and how they’re defined. Male, female, son, and so on. It seems crazy for Paul to talk about all people being sons, and we’ll talk about why He does that in just a bit, but all I’ll say now is that the world really hates all those categories, wants to redefine them, take them away. “Male and female He created them,” Jesus says. “Not so much,” says the world.

Paul’s point again on St. Mary’s Day is BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE FOR US, EACH OF YOU IS GIFTED SONSHIP BEFORE GOD. The world is radically different than that in terms of words, but it’s not just words, it’s action. What action does Paul mention? “To redeem those under the Law.”

The world doesn’t do redemption. Society has its own list of sins, things people shouldn’t have said or done. For such transgressions people are punished. They’re canceled. There’s doxing, which is searching for and publishing the personal information about people on the internet. There’s banning and shadow banning. It’s all in an attempt to find sins and permanently punish people for their societal sins. The world hangs on to people’s sins, and they damn the sinner.

As for us, we don’t have to go looking for people’s sins. You already know the personal information, the sins people’ve done against you and against others. And you bring it up at whatever time is most helpful to you.

(Transition.)

The world and our flesh puts people under the Law, and not necessarily God’s Law as can be summarized in the 10 Commandments. The world puts people under its ever-changing list of sins and wrongs. We often do the same! We categorize, marginalize people, condemn them, put them in the dog house for what they’ve said or done. Whether they even know what they’ve done is besides the point!

But the Holy Trinity does things completely differently than the world or our flesh. How much differently Paul summarizes:

BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE FOR US, EACH OF YOU IS GIFTED SONSHIP BEFORE GOD.

(II. The Holy Trinity does things completely different.)

The true God is completely different when it comes to action! He does things we’d never thought possible. The Son of God’s throne room for 9 months was the Blessèd Virgin’s womb. That’s what “Savior of the Nations, Come,” one of our communion hymns, confesses, too. Not God infinite, but God contained. Not God big, but God small.

What does this God do for sinners? Again, radically different than the world. He puts all people everywhere under His Law, condemns us, labels us for what we really are before Him: condemned, guilty, sinner. And then what does He do? The Father sends the Son to be born under the Law. The Son claims all our sins as His own. The world keeps people’s sins and condemns the sinner. The Son of God takes people’s sins, your sins, and saves the sinner, saves you. All the way to the shedding of His blood—God’s blood!—and again working radically differently: God dying and coming back to life.

What does God do then? Well, in His sight there’s only one category. It’s put in many different ways. Before God there’s heir, there’s son, there’s in Christ. Or not. Sheep or goat. Believer, unbeliever. You’re baptized, an heir through God, an heir according to promise, having the hope of eternal life. And being baptized into Christ Jesus means in God’s sight you’re an adopted son, full heir, full access to His Kingdom. (God doesn’t do equality the way we do.)

Before the world there’s all sorts of differences. Vocationally there’s all sorts of different categories: Father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, or worker. Here some things are given to some and not to others. “In the beginning He made them male and female,” Jesus says. So also fathers, mothers, sons, daughters. You are you, and in the special way God created you, you are His gift to others, to love, care for, and serve them.

But eternally before God there’s just son, baptized, heir. That’s you before God. Has to be. You’re died for by Jesus. You’ve been baptized into Jesus. You have the Spirit. We’re all one in the same Spirit, who cries “Abba, Father!” This is why Paul says, no matter who you are toward one another (“male or female”), you have all received “sonship,” “adoption as sons.”

(Conclusion.)

BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE FOR US, EACH OF YOU IS GIFTED SONSHIP BEFORE GOD.

Jesus is the eternal God who is at the same time about 2,022 years old. Born of the Blessèd Virgin Mary, to redeem you. To redeem you He was conceived, was born, suffered, was crucified, bled, and died. He came back to life, all so that you would be redeemed from His Law which condemns you.

There’s no need to save yourself by condemning others, keeping record of their sins, exposing their sins at the opportune moment. That’s what the world does in it’s madness to cancel all who transgress its societal laws. There’s no need to rage against God’s Word, God’s way of doing things. There’s no reason to keep the sin and damn the sinner.

He’s gifted you to others in all the ways that you are special, unique, and, well, you. In His sight, however, you are redeemed, and so you are son, you are heir, you are in Christ. You are baptized. You have all the rights and privileges in the Kingdom as the Son of God Himself.

He worked to secure them for you in His redemption. He took your sins and saved you. He’s gifted all rights and privileges and access to His kingdom to you in the Font. Baptized, in Christ, heir, son, there’s many ways to put it—you’re those things! Baptized, in Christ, heir, son. What Christ gives, faith receives.

And so, even though it’s weird to human reason, it’s no wonder that Paul says:

BECAUSE OF WHO JESUS IS AND WHAT HE’S DONE FOR US, EACH OF YOU IS GIFTED SONSHIP BEFORE GOD.

᛭ INI ᛭

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