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The Last Day! Good News For You! (Mark 13:24-37)

November 25, 2012

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Last Sunday in the Church Year                     Trinity Lutheran Church

25 November 2012                                       Murdock, NE

 

St. Mark 13:24-37

 

A gigantic asteroid collides with the earth!  Boom!  Then end.  A black hole pulls the earth into the center of the Milky Way galaxy.  The end!  A galactic planetary alignment will tear the earth apart or turn it upside down.  The end!  The federal government near the fiscal cliff!  As if we’re at the end of the world unless …  Doomsday prep people!  Check it out on the National Geographic Channel!  

 

And then there’s the doomsday date of Dec. 21, 2012!  Less than a month away folks!  Hollywood made a movie about it!  Have you seen it?  It stars John Cusack.  If only the United Nations would have heeded the ancient Mayan calendar.  In this end-of-the-world tale the Mayans warned that December 21 would be the end.  Cataclysmic calamities leashed upon the world beyond imagination.  Volcanoes.  Earthquakes.  Tidal waves. 

 

But the character played by John Cusack must survive.  He must save his family and the world.  Escape!  Survival!  It’s all up to him!  Typical Hollywood end of the world movie – there’s a savior (small “s”).  It’s man himself.  He has to look deep inside himself.  Find the resources within himself.  Man saves himself.  No need for the crucified and risen Jesus when mankind is able to save himself.        

 

Well, there will be a Last Day.  A Judgment Day. Jesus says so.  His words “will never pass away.”  He says:  “At that time men will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.” 

 

“At that time.”  When will it happen?  What’s the time?  Can we get out our calendars and mark down a date?  Better listen to Jesus.  He says:  “No one knows about that day or hour.  All the angels in heaven don’t even know.  I don’t even know,” Jesus says.  “But the Father does.  He knows the day and hour.   That’s in His hands.  We’ll leave it up to Him.  But know this.  When I am revealed on the Last Day all people will see Me coming in the clouds.  And you’ll see Me for who I am:  God’s Son who died as the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world.” 

 

Jesus tells you ahead of time. He gives you ample warning.  And when He comes on that Last Day to judge the living and the dead, no one will escape it.  You won’t be able to run away and hide.   

 

But you won’t want to.  Because on that day Jesus will “send his angels and gather his elect from all over the world.”   To gather his elect into heaven.  Into His kingdom that will never end. 

 

The elect.  That’s you.  You for whom He died.  God chose you in Christ before the creation of the world.  God predestined you to be adopted as His sons through Jesus. You are redeemed by His blood.  Your sins are forgiven.  He elected you in Holy Baptism where He branded you with His most holy Name!  And buried you with Christ into His death at the font!  Indeed, you are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  You are His elect.  His chosen.  His died for and atoned for people. 

 

So now what?  What are you, the elect and died for redeemed supposed to be doing in the meantime?  Better listen to Jesus again.  He says:  “Be on guard!  Be alert!  Watch!”  

 

After all, He’s coming in glory some day.  When?  You don’t know.  Preachers on the radio, TV and internet don’t know either no matter how clever they think they are.  No matter how many best selling books they sell about the end times!  They’re clueless to say the least.  They’re false prophets if they predict dates and times for the Last Day.  Jesus could come at midnight.  He could come at dawn.  He could come in the middle of the afternoon.  

 

Not knowing the day or the hour is good for you.  Really, it is!  Think about it.  If you know the exact day or hour, what will you do?  I know what you’ll do because I would do the same.  We would all blow off what Jesus says! And what did He say?  He said:  “Be on guard!  Be alert!  Watch!”  But if we all knew the precise time when Jesus would return in glory, we would turn a deaf ear.  Look the other way.  Until right up to the supposed end!  Or the Last Day cliff! 

 

But that’s way too dicey!  Way too eternal life or death dangerous!  Why?  Because Jesus categorically declares:  “No one knows about that day or hour.  Don’t ask Me,” Jesus flat out asserts.  “Don’t ask the angels either.  They’re totally in the dark about the timing of the Last Day too.  I just got done telling you:  only the Father knows.  And He’s not saying when.  All you know for sure is that it will happen!  Count on it!”

 

That’s good for you and me.  It allows us to exercise our faith in Jesus who died for us.  Jude put it this way:  “build yourselves up in your most holy faith.  Pray in the Holy Spirit.  Keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of the Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.”  All that takes place when the Lord gathers you to hear His Word and eat at His Table in His holy house, the church.  Or when you repent of your sin daily!  And trust only in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sin!    

 

You are to trust that when Jesus comes in glory on the Last Day He will treat you just as He does today.  The absolution that you heard today was the judgment of the Last Day in miniature.  And in that absolution Jesus spoke to you.  He rendered a judgment.  What was it?  That you are acquitted!  Free.  Forgiven.  Because He is the one who died for you!  And covered you in His divine Blood! 

 

And more!  The bounty overflows!  More from Judge Jesus who bears the scars of Good Friday.  He gives you His Good Friday — all atoning — sin forgiving Body and Blood to eat and drink.  He gives you a promise that will last until the end of time:  “I forgive you.  You are my elect ones!”  That’s His judgment right now in the presence of the Father as well as all the angels, archangels and all the company of heaven.

 

There will be a day when you will “see the Son of Man coming in clouds with power and great glory.”  And when that day comes (only the Father knows) there is no need to fear.  Even on that day Son of Man Jesus remains the Savior who died for you His elect.  And whether you’re alive or buried the angels will gather you wherever you are for the resurrection of the body and eternal life with the Holy Trinity and all the communion of saints in heaven. 

 

What great joy!  After all, the salvation that Jesus bestows “lasts forever.  [His] righteousness never fails.” 

 

In the holy Name of Jesus!

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