Your Redemption Draws Near!
Second-Last Sunday Trinity Lutheran Church
13 November 2016 Murdock, NE
+ Jesu Juva +
Luke 21:5-28 (29-36)
Better listen to Jesus. He tells you the truth. I know. I know. What he says is quite scandalous and enormously offensive if you’re a God-within-er, that is to say, if you believe that you have better words than the Lord. Many do. Do you? Watch out. Don’t fall for it. The big wigs in society and many purple shirted clergy in the church would euchre you into believing that there will never be a Last Day. That there is no such thing as a final Judgment Day. They contend that Judgment Day is a man-made myth. In fact, they maintain Judgment Day it is a nasty and naughty invention of some ancient, dry as dust white male European bishops to keep people under their authoritarian thumbs and get them to do what they want.
Well, it’s always best to listen to Jesus. Let Him have the say so. His sermon preaches about the future and about the Last Day. He predicts the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple which is a dress rehearsal or a trial run of what the Last Day Judgment will be like. “Not one stone will be left upon another,” Jesus declares. “It will be torn down completely. When you see Jerusalem surround by armies her end has come.”
And sure enough what Jesus said happened. From 66-70 A.D. the Roman general Titus surrounded and besieged Jerusalem. He brought about horrific devastation. Catastrophic destruction. Thousands were slaughtered. Cannibalism. Starvation. Brother turned against brother. Parent against child. The love of many grew cold. So Jesus gives fair warning. “Get out of Jerusalem when you see the Roman armies coming! Run to the mountains! If you’re pregnant or nursing a child you better get out quick. And don’t try to come back! It’s going to be absolutely horrible!” And it was. Read the account given by the Jewish historian Josephus. It will turn your stomach.
The excruciating and distressing end of the Jerusalem temple is a foretaste of how it be at the very end. The destruction of the temple is the Last Day in miniature. A picture of the Last Day ahead of time. However, until the Last Day when Jesus “comes in the cloud with power and great glory,” there are events in history that point to the Last Day’s coming.
There will be false prophets and false Christs. “Don’t be deceived by those who claim to be me,” Jesus says. “Don’t follow them. They’ll promise you heaven but they’ll only deliver hell.” Loads of those in the world. Just turn on your TV, surf the internet, or listen to the radio.
Then Jesus says there will be wars and disasters in the world. Loads of those too. Aleppo, Syria. Iraq. Afghanistan. ISIS and Boko Haram. Various deadly diseases all over the world: Zika. Tiburculosis. Ebola. Famine and drought beyond belief in Africa. Weather disasters like Hurricane Matthew. Wildfires everywhere. Earthquakes in Oklahoma. Fires in California. These signs are just the birth pains. “Do not be terrified,” Jesus says, “for the end is still to come.”
In addition, the church will suffer. She will be persecuted. In many parts of the world Christianity and being a Christian is a criminal offense. Believers will be put to death. “They will lay their hands on you,” Jesus declares. “You’ll be brought before the authorities. And you’ll be put in prison and killed.” Try to confess Christ in public at school or at the university. Speak publicly about your Christian faith. You will be mocked. Ridiculed. Told to shut up. You’ll be labeled a bigot and a hater. Try to take a Bible with you the next time you fly through or visit Saudi Arabia. Or wear a cross around your neck in some parts of Indonesia or Pakistan. You’ll be jailed. Maybe even murdered. Try to build a church in China. It will be bulldozed. Again, confess Jesus as the only Savior in America and you will be ridiculed and laughed at. Very soon you may be labeled as the enemy of the state. For being a faithful Christian your relatives may turn you in. They’ll hate you because you confess Christ’s name. But all this “will lead to an opportunity for your testimony,” Jesus declares.
And as the Last Day gets closer and closer there will a ton of anxiety. The whole earth will be in mega stress. “Signs in the sun and moon and stars. The heavens will be shaken. Dismay among the nations. The seas will churn. People will faint from fear of all the troubles in the world.”
But we do not despair as the world collapses. Why? “When you see these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Jesus is your redemption. He’s drawing near.
So before the Last Day comes, it is time to confess your sin. To turn from them. Die to them. And turn to Jesus the Redeemer. To believe in Him. Trust Him for forgiveness, life and salvation. So that when the Last Day comes you’ll be prepared. After all, every Sunday is a little Judgment Day in that Jesus, through the preaching of the gospel and in the spoken absolution renders the eternal verdict or judgment ahead of time. And what is that? It is the judgment of acquittal. Freedom. Forgiveness. So that when Jesus returns in glory on the Last Day He will not come to condemn you. He is your Savior. He is the Redeemer who died for you. He has forgiven you. Of everything. You are baptized into His Good Friday death that took away all your sin. Consequently, when He comes in great power and glory on the Last Day He will welcome you to heaven to be with Him forever.
As a foretaste of the eternal wedding banquet of heaven, come to the Lord’s Supper today. In the midst of a collapsing, crumbling world the Lord Jesus welcomes you into His gracious presence. He comes to you in the power and glory of His crucified, risen and ascended Body and Blood. So even today “straighten up and lift up your heads because your redemption [Jesus Himself] is drawing near.” Today in the Lord’s Supper He draws near. Very soon too on the Last Day. For you. To give you salvation by sight that you now have through faith in Him.
In the Name of Jesus.