The Rev. William Klock: “Oaks of Righteousness from the Stump of Jesse” (Isaiah 61:1-3 & Matthew 2:19-23)
Here is a sermon titled Oaks of Righteousness from the Stump of Jesse from Fr. Bill Klock of Living Word REC in British Columbia, which is based on Isaiah 61:1-3 and Matthew 2:19-23. Fr. Bill, in this one, does an exemplary job of telling us a main message of these readings – that Jesus is our salvation:
This is Jesus—the Lord’s salvation. This is what it looks like for God to be with us. He has delivered us from bondage to sin and from the fear of death, its wages. There’s darkness all around. Again, all we have to do is turn on the evening news, read the paper, or look on the Internet. The world is lost in darkness. We may not have to deal with war and genocide here, but we all deal with the fallout of sin in the world around us and our problems are no less real to us. We deal with sickness and with poverty. We deal with difficult jobs, difficult people, with broken relationships and with the loss of loved ones. Brothers and Sisters, Jesus has come into the darkness. He has shared it with us. He knows and he understands. And so Jesus speaks good news to us, he binds up our broken hearts. He takes away the ashes that have been poured on our heads and the sackcloth we’ve been wearing in mourning and gives us beautiful headdresses and garments of praise. He is light in our darkness. He is God with us. Isaiah says that this is so that we will be called “oaks of righteousness” planted by the Lord so that he will be glorified.
Having God with us brings amazing transformation. Imagine the chaos of the world all around, lost in sin, everyone struggling to get on top. Think of our own suffering and pain and grief. And then picture what we become when God is with us. Isaiah says we are oaks of righteousness. Look at those huge oak trees outside the windows. They’ve been here forever. As our building deteriorated in the 50s, 60s, and 70s those trees only got stronger and bigger. The storms come and go. Every once in a while one of those big storms damages the church building, but the trees are there as strong as ever. They’re an illustration of what Jesus has called us to be: light in the darkness, oaks in the storm, standing firm, making him known, providing a place of shelter to any who will come, giving a foretaste of his glorious kingdom and moving everyone around us to give glory to God. He has not abandoned us. In Jesus he saves. In Jesus he has come to be with us—to find us in the dark and to make us light.
If you’d like to hear the audio, it can be heard below.