Sermon for 3rd Advent Midweek Service – 12.14.22

+ Advent Midweek 3 – December 14th, 2022 +

2 Samuel 18:24–33; Psalm 146:3–5; Ephesians 5:1–10; Matthew 22:41–46

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA


This is My Son: Absalom


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


One of the worst feelings parents have is when their child or children are in pain, sick, or suffering in any way. You feel helpless. You wish that you could take their cough, aches, or fever upon yourself. If only you could make their pain your own. If only you could trade places with them.


In 2 Samuel 18, that’s exactly how David felt about his son, Absalom. David wished that he could have died in his son, Absalom’s place. It’s a heartbreaking, tragic story. And yet ultimately, this father and son story points us to the love of our heavenly Father in sending His Son, Jesus to take our pain upon himself and trade places with us on the cross.


In 2 Samuel chapters 13–18 the wickedness and depravity of mankind is on full display. This story contains God’s people committing acts of incest, rape, injustice, murder, scheming, rebellion, and war!


Here’s the quick recap. King David had nineteen sons from several different wives. Amnon was the first-born son of David and was in line to be king. But he lusted after his half-sister, Tamar. He faked being sick so that he could be cared for by her. When they were alone, he forced himself upon her. He then placed the blame on her and sent her away to hide in shame.


When King David heard of this, he was angry, but he did nothing to punish Amnon. Absalom, who was the full brother of Tamar, was infuriated with Amnon and angry at David for not pursuing justice for Tamar. For two years, Absalom hated and plotted against Amnon until eventually, Absalom had Amnon murdered. Then Absalom fled into exile.


Jump ahead three years. Joab, the captain of King David’s army, convinces David to bring back Absalom because he can tell that David misses him. But when Absalom returns to Jerusalem, he starts scheming all over again, this time against his own father, David.


Using his natural good looks (the Bible describes him as very handsome with his long hair) and his charisma, Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel by speaking badly of David in the city gates while promoting himself. Absalom did this for four years until one day he left Jerusalem and sent secret messengers, who announced, “Absalom is made king at Hebron!” Thousands of Israelites rallied to him and joined the rebellion because of all the patient, hard work he had done to build up his reputation.


Meanwhile, David fled from Jerusalem to spare the citizens there a battle when Absalom moved in to take the throne. David summoned those loyal to himself and amassed a great army. As the battle drew near, David stayed behind but instructed his army to deal gently with Absalom for David’s sake. Even after all of this, David still loved his son and desired mercy.


On the day of battle, David’s army soundly defeated Absalom’s. As Absalom attempted to flee in the forest, his mule went under the thick branches of a tree, and his hair was caught in the tree so that Absalom was left to hang there. When Joab found him, he ignored the words of David and thrust three javelins into the heart of Absalom while he was still alive in the tree.


When David heard of Absalom’s death, David wept and said, “O Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”


It’s a tragic, heart-breaking story. A story of a son set against his father, and it reminds us just how ugly and divisive our own sin is as well. Absalom’s rebellion against his father David is a picture of our own rebellious sin against our heavenly Father. For there is a betraying, murderous, rebellious Absalom within each of us. As Jesus reminds us in Matthew 15, that our of our hearts come all manner of evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile us. Like Absalom, we are constantly looking for my kingdom to come and my will to be done instead of our true Father’s will.


And yet, it’s not us who hanged on a tree suffering the curse of our sin. But rather Jesus, the true and greater Son of David. David’s true and greatest Son is also David’s Lord and yours; David’s redeemer and yours. David’s Savior and yours. The Son of God also became the son of a man—the true Son of David, in whom no sin or rebellion could be found, to carry out God’s promise that David’s kingdom would be established forever.


As Paul writes, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse. Jesus went to the tree of the cross in your place. And there on the tree of the cross nails, spear pierced him through. The Son of God and Son of David went to the cross that we might be reconciled to our heavenly Father forever. And on the cross, David’s prayer becomes reality. Would that I had died instead of you. That’s exactly what Jesus does for you. He would rather die in your place than see you suffer. He gladly traded places with you.


And no matter how far you stray, no matter how violently you rebel, no matter how often you attempt to remove Him from the throne of your heart, God’s love for you in Jesus is always bigger. Always greater than your sin. Always merciful and abounding in steadfast love. And he always forgives you for the sake of the One who hung on the tree in your place.


And in Jesus the Son of God and Son of David, you are, and always shall be children of the heavenly Father.


In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

By appointment only June and July


2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
(253) 922-6977
(253) 922-6977