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Advent 2 – Luke 21:25-36

by pastorjuhl ~ January 28th, 2014

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

            The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night says Saint Paul in First Thessalonians. The prophet Malachi says in the Old Testament reading that the day of the Lord shall set [evildoers] ablaze, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch. Jesus exhorts to watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.

The day of the Lord is Judgment Day, the end of the beginning, so to speak. Everything since the fall into sin has been tumbling headlong toward that day. The season of Advent reminds us once again that the day of the Lord will be here before you know it. Consider how busy you are this month preparing for Christmas. There are so many things to accomplish and only so many days to accomplish your preparations. Before you know it, it’s December 25. Christmas sneaked up on you once again and stuff did not get done.

It’s easy to fall asleep spiritually in preparing for Jesus’ coming according to the flesh. It’s even easier to fall asleep spiritually waiting for His final coming in judgment. We sing hymns like “Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending” yet wonder if Jesus will actually return as the hymn says. We sang “The Day Is Surely Drawing Near” a couple weeks ago. The hymn gives a vivid picture of judgment, as well as comfort to withstand judgment through faith in Jesus Christ.

But do we actually believe what the hymn says? What is more, do we actually believe Christ’s words in today’s Gospel about signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken. We live over two thousand years after the birth of Christ. It’s almost two thousand years since His ascension into heaven. There’s no way the end will go down just as He said.

The birth pangs of the end have been happening for thousands of years. Consider the tornadoes and high winds of a few weeks ago. Consider the earthquakes that happen around the world. Every natural disaster is a reminder that the world as we know it will not survive Christ’s judgment. Every eclipse of the sun or the moon, yes, all activities in the solar system is a confession that the end of days is closer than we think.

No wonder Jesus bids us to stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place. You have no strength of your own to escape the shaking of the heavens and the earth. Only Jesus has the strength to protect you from the destruction of the heavens and the earth. Jesus is the God of hope who fills you will all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.

The end times for a Christian are times of hope and not of fear. Jesus has made those days joyous because of His innocent suffering and death. He is the Son of the Most High God, Who is the God of endurance and encouragement that Saint Paul proclaims in the Epistle. He has given us His Holy Scriptures that preach Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of His precious children, both Jew and Gentile, for Christ became a servant to the circumcised to show God’s truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to the patriarchs, and in order that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy.

Jesus excels above all things in showing mercy. He has paid the price for your sin by bearing your sin in His body. His blood and righteous plead your innocence before the Father in heaven. Jesus comes as a suffering servant in your place that you might be spared from the wrath to come. You are judged innocent because of Christ. In Jesus, and only in Jesus, you have all things necessary for salvation.

Listen to the preaching of Elijah, that is, John the Baptist over these next two weeks. John proclaims even in prison that Jesus is the One Who is to come to accomplish salvation. John proclaims he is not the Christ, but the Christ is coming. Jesus has come. He has given you forgiveness and life in His death and resurrection. Jesus comes today with healing in Gospel preaching, in absolving your sins, and in feeding you with His Body and Blood for the forgiveness of sins. And, yes, Jesus will come again with glory to judge the living and the dead. There is nothing to fear, for Christ is your strength and your shield. He holds you in the palm of His hand to keep you safe from the shaking of the heavens and the earth. Heaven and earth will pass away says Jesus, but my words will not pass away. Jesus is your strength to escape all these things that are going to take place. You will stand before the Son of Man covered in His blood and righteousness. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. And you shall tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet, on the day when I act, says the LORD of hosts.

Even so, Lord Jesus, quickly come.

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

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