Posts

Showing posts from November, 2018

Last Sunday of the Church Year + Matthew 25:1-13 + November 25, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen. Jesus asks in Luke 18:8, “When the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?” It’s a chilling question. The church will continue forever. There will be believers in Christ throughout all of history, but in the last days that number will be small. Jesus says something similar in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” So it will be, and already is, that the number of those who truly believe Christ are few and far between in spite of the size of visible Christendom. Paul’s words in Romans 9:6 that “they are not all Israel who are of Israel” should serve as a warning to anyone who imagines that simply being a member of the church will save them. For many who were physical Israelites were not…

National Day of Thanksgiving + Luke 17:11-19 + November 21, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
Today we hear again of the ten lepers whom Jesus healed. We hear this gospel lesson every year on the fourteenth Sunday after Trinity. But it is good for us to hear it again on this National Day of Thanksgiving. The connection is obvious. Ten men with leprosy, a living death in which their flesh decays a bit more each day, cry out to Christ, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” Christ shows them that He is gracious and compassionate to those who humbly seek mercy from Him. He says only, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” He tells them this because according to the Law of Moses, Leviticus specifically, the priest’s duties included examining sores on the children of Israel to see whether or not they were leprous. If the priest found the sore to be leprous he declared the man unclean. But if a leper was healed by the grace of God, the priest would examine him once again to publically testify that the man was now cle…

26th Sunday after Trinity + Matthew 25:31-46 + November 18, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
What makes a person a sheep? It’s tempting to look at Christ’s parable with a quick glance and answer, “Works!” And this is how many see it when Christ commends the good works of the sheep. “I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.” “Do this and inherit the kingdom.” But their works aren’t what makes these people into lambs of the Lord Jesus. They are sheep because during their earthly lives they heard the voice of the Good Shepherd and believed His word. In John 10:26-28 Jesus tells the Jews, “But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep, as I said to you. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of my hand.” The Pharisees r…

25th Sunday after Trinity + Matthew 24:15-28 + November 11, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
The final Sundays of the church year direct our thoughts to the end of all things and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ on the Last Day. In today’s Gospel lesson Jesus teaches His disciples about the fall of Jerusalem and the end of the world. He teaches them about both because they’ve asked about both. This chapter begins with Jesus saying of the Temple, “Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” His disciples ask Him, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” Jesus answers both of their questions, using the end of Jerusalem and its temple as a prototype for the end of the age, so that as it would go for Jerusalem so it would go for the entire world. And just as there was but one way of escape from Jerusalem’s judgment, so too at the end of the age there is but one way to escape from th…

23rd Sunday after Trinity + Matthew 22:15-22 + November 4, 2018

In the Name of the Father and of the Son + and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
As our nation goes to the polls on Tuesday to elect representatives, St. Paul wants us to contemplate our true citizenship. He says, “Our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.” We are no longer citizens of this world. That’s not to say that being a citizen of a nation is unimportant. Citizenship in heaven and citizenship in the United States aren’t opposed to one another. The opposite of being a citizen of heaven is being a citizen of the world, which is the kingdom of devil. Paul writes in Colossians 1:13-14 that God the Father “has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed usinto the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.” Jesus says in John 3:19, “the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” Citizens of the world pre…