According to church tradition, March 25 is a very important date. Tradition holds that three very important things happened today. First, it is the day Satan tempted Eve and through the sin of Adam and Eve, the world was plunged into death. Second, that same tradition holds that this is the date the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary to tell her she had been chosen by God to bear the world’s Redeemer, the promised Messiah. Finally, the twenty-fifth of March is the traditional date for Jesus’ crucifixion. So, on this day, the world was hurled into sin and death, the Savior from that same sin and death came into the world, and He accomplished the salvation He came to bring.
This shows that God’s unchangeable plan from the foundation of the world was to demonstrate His love for us by saving us. Even before Adam and Eve listened to Satan’s lies, God knew what they would do. So He was ready to show that, as much as their disobedience angered Him, He would not forsake His children. As Adam and Eve tried to hide their shame with leaves, God prepared, not to hide their shame, but to wash it away by the Blood of His own Son. He came in fatherly love with the promise to Satan that his days were numbered and the promise to Adam and Eve that they would be saved from sin and death.
They were to be saved from sin and death, them and their children, by God taking on human flesh. In the fullness of time, God came into the world He spoke into being. He took on the same flesh His fingers formed out of Eden’s clay. As the One who fearfully and wonderfully knits together babies in their mothers’ wombs was fearfully and wonderfully knit together in His own mother’s womb, He took on all those things that would save us. His hands and feet appeared, the same ones that would be pierced by the nails. The head grew so it could hold the crown of thorns. The heart pumped and the veins carried the Blood that would be spilled and offered to the Father as the price for the world’s sin. He came one step closer to finishing the plan set into motion in the aftermath of Satan’s attack.
The angel said to Mary, “With God, nothing will be impossible.” This is the foundation of Christianity. God overcame the impossible, causing a Virgin to conceive, bearing in her womb His only-begotten Son. And if God did something that impossible, which really is not impossible for Him, the One who created all that we see simply by a Word, He can certainly do the greater work of undoing and destroying sin and death. This gives us great confidence and cause for rejoicing. Nothing you do is impossible for Jesus to forgive. He has shed His Blood that your every sin and the sin of the whole world be destroyed. In Jesus is undone Satan’s power and Eden’s curse. Sin is forgiven, death is destroyed, and Satan is silenced.
That is what this day is all about. Satan made us enemies of God. God sent the One who would undo our enmity with Him. And Jesus restored us to our heavenly Father. When Jesus cried, “It is finished,” He said that what was once impossible is now possible. Now we can live as God intended us to, in communion with Him, not fearing His wrath, but rejoicing in His love for His children. We rejoice because the salvation accomplished on the cross is continually delivered to us. Our Savior, the child of Mary, who felt our woe and knows our weakness, is with us always, true to His name, Emmanuel. And because He is with us with His gifts of forgiveness, life, and salvation, we go about in great peace, knowing that He will take us to be with Himself in the bright courts of heaven in the endless day.
Why does the Pastor preach? Scripture explains that the role of preaching the Word of God is how saving faith is created: “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in Him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!’ … So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the Word of Christ” (Romans 10:14-17). The Augsburg Confession, seeing this connection between the Preaching Office and saving faith, summarizes Scripture on the Office of the Holy Ministry in this way: “To obtain [saving, justifying] faith, God instituted the Office of Preaching, giving the Gospel and the Sacraments. Through these, as through means, He gives the Holy Spirit who produces faith, where and when He wills, in those who hear the Gospel. It teaches that we have a gracious God, not through our merit but through Christ’s merit, when we so believe” (AC V 1-3). The whole reason the Pastor preaches is so saving faith can be created, so we know that “we have a gracious God” who loves us and has saved us from our sin by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.