14th Sunday after Pentecost – C (Proper 16) LSB #’s 433, 563
Text – Hebrews 12:22 & 24
But you have come to Mount Zion & to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, & to innumerable angels in festal gathering, …& to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, & to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
SPEAKING A BETTER WORD
Curtis & Leroy saw an ad in the Starkville Daily & bought a mule for $100, sending the money by Western Union that evening. The farmer agreed to deliver the mule the next day. The following morning the farmer drove up & said, “Sorry, fellers, I have some bad news. The mule died last night.” Curtis & Leroy replied, “Well, then just give us our money back.”
The farmer answered, “Can’t do that. I went & spent it already.” Curtis & Leroy talked a moment & came back, “OK then, just bring us the dead mule.” The farmer asked, “What in the world ya’ll gonna do with a dead mule?” Curtis told him, “We gonna raffle him off.” The farmer told them, “You can’t raffle off a dead mule!”
Leroy answered, “We shore can! We don’t hafta tell nobody he’s dead!” A couple of weeks later, the farmer ran into Curtis & Leroy at the Piggly Wiggly grocery store, so he asked, “What’d you fellers ever do with that dead mule?”
They told the farmer, “We raffled him off like we said we wuz gonna do.” Leroy continued, “Shucks, we sold 1000 tickets fer two dollars apiece & made a profit of $1898.” The farmer said, “My stars, didn’t anyone complain?” Curtis answered, “Well, the feller who won the dead mule got upset. So we gave him his two dollars back.”
Curtis & Leroy now work for the Internal Revenue Service. They plan on running for Congress next. What’s the moral of this story? Term limits!! Limit all U.S. politicians to two terms. One in office & one in prison!
Though it may not be funnier, I can assure you this morning that Yahweh will be
speaking a better Word to us than Curtis & Leroy! It’s easy to look at all the corruption in our government & wish those crooks would get what they deserve. On an earthly level there’s nothing wrong with justice. It helps to maintain order & peace in human societies. The trouble arises when we consider the fact that justice also has to occur on a spiritual level.
We see that play out in our lives in many ways, but most of them are subtle. They’re easily overlooked & we have plenty of reasons for purposely ignoring the signs. Number 1 is that sin has blinded us. Our spiritual eyesight is a long way from 20/20. The results of that are made quite clear in Romans 3: “…all have sinned & fall short of the glory of God.” (3:23 ESV)
St. Paul follows that up in Ephesians 2: “And you were dead in the trespasses & sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience.” (2:1-2 ESV) Although physically we are alive, spiritually – we still have the smell of death about us.
Secondly, many of the words we speak are spent on making excuses for ourselves, either for our outright failures, or for ways in which we perceive that we’ve failed, even if no one else reckons it as such. Guilt lives on in our heart, mind & soul because The Fall has left its indelible mark upon us. The thought of spiritual justice brings anxiety to life within.
Thirdly, it is unnatural for sinners to trust anyone other than self. Maybe you’ve heard words like these: “If you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself.” There’s a lot of common sense in that, but there can also be a strong element of pride as well. It depends upon the individual speaking, & where their treasure is. Do they trust only in themselves?
So, on an earthly level there’s nothing wrong with seeking justice. In essence it’s nothing more than expecting things to turn out according to what’s right & true. Problems crop up when we try to take spiritual justice into our own hands. Because of the sense of guilt that lives within there are times we try to compensate for that through our own efforts to make things right & true. Proverbs 14:12 warns us about the danger associated with that kind of thinking: “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (ESV) Remember, even as God’s children, in this life our spiritual eyesight is a long way from 20/20.
If you hear anything about the news that’s being reported in our country today, there seems to be a lot of anger, division & even hatred being spewed out upon the airwaves, over the internet, & through Twitter. People say they want justice, but if you’re listening, it sounds a lot more like revenge. They want payback. They’re longing to even the score.
To give some context for today’s reading from the Book of Hebrews, it’s helpful to listen to God’s Word to Cain at Genesis 4: “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood is crying to me from the ground. And now you are cursed from the ground, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.” (4:10-11 ESV)
Abel’s blood was crying for His Creator to make things right & true by doling out just punishment to Cain for his crime of murder. Yahweh had even confronted Cain prior to that brutal act of hatred, yet Cain continued with his plan. Just two chapters later, in Genesis 6, Moses wrote:
“The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, & that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, & His heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, ‘I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created…’”
If our heavenly Father continued with that plan, there would be no human beings left on the face of the earth. It was only a few generations from Noah to the Tower of Babel. The Lord says, “Vengeance is mine,” but vengeance doesn’t save anyone. Abel’s blood cries out for justice, but if justice is carried out on sinful human beings, hell is the only possible outcome. So our heavenly Father chose to speak a better word than the blood of Abel. Yahweh put justice upon His only begotten Son, the 2nd person of the Trinity, holy & without blemish, yet fully God such that Jesus could bear the weight of sin, death & hell without being destroyed.
No more worldwide floods because would take upon Himself the destruction of sin & put it away from us as far as the east is from the west. Now, Jesus’ blood speaks that better word, the word of forgiveness & renewal & life, instead of vengeance & death.
And it is that reason, that better word, which makes Lutheran schools stand out as distinct in our nation today from the public schools where people are punished for speaking about Jesus, or about sin & forgiveness & life, & the peace of God that surpasses all human understanding. The public schools have only the blood of Abel to share & it never brings life out of death.
Jesus is the door that He spoke of in the Gospel reading today. May we ever put our trust in the Words that He speaks rather than in our government, or bureaucracies, or anything else that is only of this world. Much of the time these days, the world is selling nothing more than a dead mule. Jesus is the Light & the Lord of Life. Amen.
Abel’s blood for vengeance pleaded to the skies; but the blood of Jesus for our pardon cries. Lift we, then, our voices, swell the mighty flood; louder still & louder praise the precious blood. Glory be to Jesus, who in bitter pains poured for me the lifeblood from His sacred veins. Amen. LSB 433:4, 6, 1.
 Genesis 6:5-7 NIV
13th Sunday after Pentecost – C (Proper 15) LSB #’s 868, 585 tune 655, 513 tune 672
Text – Luke 12:56
You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth & sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?
WHY DO YOU NOT KNOW?
Red sky at night – sailor’s delight. Red sky at morning – sailor take warning. It’s an old adage that worked fairly well long before modern weather forecasting. At least, it worked for those ships that could only travel on the surface of the water. It was never much use for those of us sailors who spent our time operating beneath the surface.
From today’s Gospel reading it appears that Jesus knows a thing or two about weather forecasting as well: “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ & it happens.” (Luke 12:54-55 ESV)
Human beings are constantly wondering what the future holds for them. To take my mind off the absolute boredom of being locked up on a submarine, I sometimes thought about where I might be ten years later.” That point is now more than 20 years ago itself. You can be sure I was hoping that in ten years, I would no longer be under water.
Some people worry about what the future holds. Others are incessantly trying to bury, or compensate for, their past. In the Gospel reading for today, Jesus chastises the people, but not for being anxious about the future, nor for being obsessed with the past. Jesus gets on their case because they don’t even understand the present time – the here & the now:
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth & sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” The big question for us in this Gospel reading revolves around, “What does Jesus mean by the phrase, ‘the present time’?” He’s calling people hypocrites for not knowing how to interpret it, so there must be something going on. A good place to start is Galatians 4:4-5 (ESV).
“But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.” In the sermon text for today, Jesus is making the point that the fullness of time had come! The ‘present time’ was the fullness of time, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
Jesus’ arrival on earth marks the fundamental turning point in all of human history. The rescue from sin, death & hell was being completed. As 2 Corinthians 6:2 (ESV) put it: “For [God] says, ‘In a favorable time I listened to you, & in a day of salvation I have helped you.’ Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
How many of you look for the weather report each day? How many of you put an equal amount of effort into interpreting the present time? Our heavenly Father makes clear that in regards to being saved from hell, now is the day. In regards to being saved from hell, the fullness of time arrived well over 2000 years ago!
The people of His day were failing to recognize Jesus as their Savior, & their Lord. Because of what Jesus was doing, the only thing that could separate them from eternal life was their refusal to believe in Jesus as the source of that life.
If we refuse to accept that food is a source of our physical life, it is not the fault of the food if we refuse to eat. No rational person would make such an argument. In the same way, those who reject Jesus as Lord do not have God to blame when the Last Day of time draws to its close. Jesus is the Bread of Life. If we refuse to eat, we are rejecting eternal life itself.
That is the point Jesus is making in the Gospel reading from Luke 12. Everyone puts at
least some minimal effort into determining the weather. Why do we not know how to interpret our own present time? Now is the day of salvation. How much effort are you putting into that? It’s far more important, far more long-lasting than today’s humidity or its clear blue skies. If you’ve learned to expect certain types of weather, how come you aren’t expecting Jesus?
In the sermon last Sunday we considered that idea, whether or not we are expecting the Son of God in each & every area of our lives. He is already there. He is already here. Now is the Day of Salvation. Now is the present time. To blow that off openly invites this response from the Savior & the Judge of the universe, “You hypocrites!”
In the Gospel reading for today Jesus is urging both His disciples & the crowds to pay attention to the signs of the kingdom in His ministry. The time & the day for preparation is now. That is how we are to interpret the present time. It’s not rocket science. It’s not even modern weather forecasting. Just be ready. Be about laying up treasures in heaven instead of on earth.
Have you done inventory & checked up lately on the things in your life that money cannot buy? Are you allowing the distractions of these temporary earthly things to take your eyes off of Jesus? He is the sign you must interpret, & Jesus has not left us without warning:
“Heaven & earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away. ‘But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.’”
In those verses, Jesus is talking specifically about the end of the world, the last moment of time. In today’s Gospel reading, He’s speaking more generally about the signs of the end times. However, popular Christianity in America has misled so many people with its over-emphasis on the sensational interpretation of events to come in the closing days of time.
Jesus is warning us of the signs of the present time, the days when He was here planting
His very own footsteps in the sand, and the hours & the moments of our very own lives. These too are the closing days of time, because the Son of God has already taken on human flesh & entered in to our time & to our space. Jesus is present with us right now in the reading & the preaching of His Word, as well as in the body & the blood of the Lord’s Supper.
Those are mysteries that cannot, & should not, be explained by the human mind. Those are mysteries far greater than any creature will ever be able to grasp or clarify. They were left as mysteries by our heavenly Father in order to reflect how far the Lord of the universe surpasses all human understanding.
Yet these mysteries are so unsensational that those with itching ears will easily overlook them: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, & will turn away from listening to the truth & wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4 ESV)
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth & sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time?” Those are sharp words, & they are set by the Gospel of Luke amidst an appeal by Jesus to be watchful for His coming, to fulfill one’s duties until He comes, & to recognize the signs of His return.
The present time is critical indeed. Your salvation & mine depend upon it. You’ve heard that life is not simply a destination, but a journey. In essence, all of God’s children are on a pilgrimage, from rebirth in Baptism toward The Resurrection with Christ that was begun in our Baptism. The age of God’s mercy & grace is quickly passing away.
As Jesus spoke the sharp words of the sermon text, already the last things & the last days were coming to pass in His teaching & in the miracles He performed. Yet the vast majority of those listening & seeing did not hear or see. In Ezekiel 12:2 the Word of the Lord came to the prophet saying, “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.” Those words apply quite well to our present time. Jesus the Savior is also Judge. That’s not a welcome fact in our culture.
Jesus’ ministry, & ours, is the omen & forerunner of Yahweh’s final judgment. The time of salvation is at hand. Those who are rejecting Jesus as Lord are heaping up condemnation for themselves. Jesus strong words, “You hypocrites” are not meant to insult or belittle us. God is love, & those words are spoken in love, as a warning to turn every moment of our lives to Him.
We should expect Jesus to be here with us, & we should desire that God’s Son be with us everywhere we go, in everything we say & do. However, because some refuse to hear, & refuse to see, division comes into our world as a consequence.
When Jesus encounters people they’re confronted with their own sinful heart. Some of them then divide themselves from the ones who welcome Jesus. Today’s Gospel reading describes that with these words:
“Do you think that I have come to give peace on earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. For from now on in one house there will be five divided, three against two & two against three. They will be divided, father against son & son against father, mother against daughter & daughter against mother, mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law & daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53 ESV)
We can’t all get along because not all of us are working for the same God. Parallel to that is the idea that Jesus took on human flesh for the purpose of reconciling the world to the Father. Satan hates the very thought, & thus God’s peace cannot come without war preceding it.
The Ark Encounter is a case in point. It’s not the builders of the ark who are calling the protestors haters. It’s the other way around. The protestors are calling the builders of the ark those names, because at the Ark people will encounter Jesus both as Savior & as Judge. When people do not rise to the challenges of faith, such as taking up His cross & following Jesus, they often become critical of those who do. Divisions result from rebellion against God & they occur even among families. In Jesus’ coming to earth, Yahweh has taken action & that compels a response on the part of every human being – either belief or unbelief.
Jesus offers to us the gift of believing in His name. The Holy Spirit longs to create faith within your heart. He longs to turn your heart, mind & soul back to your Heavenly Creator. As we struggle to make Jesus a priority in all aspects of our living, those sins have already been paid for. The only question is do we believe that. Now is the time to find rest in that forgiveness.
Once we are rested from the weariness of our sins, following Jesus becomes possible. We have that rest freely available to us because the fire that God cast on the earth was borne for us by God’s Son. On the cross, Jesus took the full brunt of punishment for the sins of every man, woman & child throughout history.
As we believe this good news, the Holy Spirit transports us to the other side of the “division” caused by Jesus’ life on earth. As that happens we may lose some of our earthly friends & family, but we will gain a whole host of heavenly ones. In heaven, it will always be red sky at night – sailor’s delight. Amen.
In these last days of great distress grant us, dear Lord, true steadfastness that we keep pure till life is spent Your holy Word & Sacrament. To hope grown dim, to hearts turned cold speak tongues of fire & make us bold to shine Your Word of saving grace into each dark & loveless place. Restrain, O Lord, the human pride that seeks to thrust Your truth aside or with some man-made thoughts or things would dim the words Your Spirit sings. Stay with us, Lord, & keep us true; preserve our faith our whole life through – Your Word alone our heart’s defense, the Church’s glorious confidence. Amen. LSB 585:2-3, 5-6.
 Jesus refers to a similar adage in Matthew 16:2-3.
 Mark 13:31-33 ESV
12th Sunday after Pentecost – C (Proper 14) LSB #663
Text – Luke 12:40
You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
I was on my way home from Colorado with a Ryder truck towing a trailer. It had been a long day. I was moving back to seminary after completing my internship. I wasn’t able to get the packing done on time the night before because so many people kept stopping to say goodbye. I’d gotten only 5 hours of sleep & hadn’t shaved that morning in order to save time.
At Omaha, Nebraska I came upon an hour-long traffic jam with road construction & two accidents added to the normal rush hour traffic. It was also pouring cats & dogs. When I arrived in Council Bluffs, Iowa for the night, I stopped at a Fairfield Inn & got soaked by the downpour in spite of running to the front door of the hotel.
Looking quite ragged I was ready for a good night’s sleep & no further complications. The clerk checked me in & gave me the key.
As I opened the door to my room, I noticed that the light was on. I thought, “Tom Bodet & Motel 6 haven’t got a thing on the Fairfield Inn.” As I walked into the room I noticed a dinner jacket in the closet. I’ve never stayed in a hotel ritzy enough to provide clothing. So it was then that I noticed the bed. It had an open suitcase on it & clothing was strewn all about.
At that moment, I realized I was an unexpected guest. I went back to the front desk & they said, “We were looking for you!” My reply, “I’ll bet you were!”
Have you ever been an unexpected guest? It’s a very awkward feeling isn’t it? Fortunately, no one was in the motel room at the time I was given the key. Nevertheless, I had a very strong desire to leave that room. I knew that I would not be welcome.
How about Jesus Christ, is He welcome in your home? I hope that strikes you as a silly
question. “Of course Jesus is welcome. We pray for that very thing before our meals, ‘Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest…’” However, you should keep the sermon text in mind as you consider your answer: “You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Is Jesus welcome in your home even as an unexpected guest?
Has God ever appeared in your life at a very awkward moment? Has He chosen to arrive at a time when you would rather not have known Him? Maybe you were involved in an argument where you sensed you were wrong, but didn’t want to give up. You wanted to win. It’s getting heated & the other party finally says, all right, I surrender. You win & I forgive you.
Have you been there? You don’t want to be forgiven do you? You want to be right! Forget all this forgiveness stuff. That would mean I’m wrong. I don’t want to be wrong. Can’t you just leave me alone on this one God? Why do You have to butt in with forgiveness again? Who invited you anyway?
You see, I’m not talking about Jesus has arrived at your home & you’re uncomfortable because you haven’t vacuumed the carpet in a while, or cleaned the dishes after dinner. This Bible verse has nothing to do with the fact that you haven’t mowed the lawn or dusted your house in weeks. This is about whether or not you have built up your life in Christ.
Years ago, I was working with a certain man who’d been caught in a particular sin. After about a 30 minute, & difficult conversation, I said, “I’d like to close with prayer.” I asked him to begin & said that I would wrap it up. The man pleaded with me, “Pastor, please don’t make me pray.” That was the last thing I had expected to hear.
Whatever this man’s spiritual condition was, I was left thinking that Jesus had just become an unexpected guest.
Another time I was teaching an adult confirmation class & a mother told me this story
about her six year old son. He was enrolled in the Lutheran church’s school, & in religion class they were learning the Ten Commandments. In this particular story, she had taken the Lord’s name in vain, & her son said to her, “Mom, you just broke the 2nd commandment!”
The mother was embarrassed that her son had invited their heavenly Father into the room. For her, God had become an unexpected guest.
I’ve also seen that from a more personal angle on numerous occasions when a child has said a ‘bad’ word in my presence. Typically the parent will scold the child, “Don’t use that language when pastor is here,” or “We don’t talk like that in church!”
Either of those immediately makes we wonder if it is okay, in that family, to use such language outside the church, or when pastor is not in the room. In those cases, I end up feeling like the unexpected guest. That’s because, as a pastor, I do represent Jesus.
How about you? Are you expecting anyone? Are you planning & preparing for any particular upcoming event? Spiritually speaking, have you left your home to be broken into? Do you pray, “Come, Lord Jesus be our guest…” with absolutely zero expectation that He might actually be there? Or maybe, you’ve long ago given up on praying before meals at all?
Sin is pervasive & powerful. It corrupts everything we do, & everything we fail to do. Yet, even when we fall into sin, & give up on praying, or give up on expecting Jesus to be with us, we’re not in bad company. Do you recall the OT reading we heard from earlier? It was about a man whom Yahweh had called out of the darkness:
“The LORD had said to Abram, ‘Leave your native country, your relatives, & your father’s family, & go to the land that I will show you. I will make you into a great nation. I will bless you & make you famous, & you will be a blessing to others.’” (Genesis 12:1 NLT) But three chapters later, in this morning’s OT reading, Abram still has no child through which God can fulfill His promise. We hear that in verses 2 & 3: “But Abram said, ‘O Lord God, what will you give me, for I continue childless, & the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?’ And Abram said, ‘Behold, you have given me no offspring…’” Abram sounds like he’s drifting back into the darkness. God had made a promise, but there was still no answer.
Had he given up on Yahweh? Maybe, like Abram, you’re beginning to wonder if you should keep on waiting, keep on getting ready, keep on watching. It’s difficult because so many things in our lives are clamoring for attention, the Church & family included. Things are getting more & more complicated every day & it’s impossible to keep up with it all.
If you think about it in broader terms that sounds quite similar to the problem the rich man had in last Sunday’s Gospel lesson: “‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns & build larger ones, & there I will store all my grain & my goods.’” (Luke 12:17-18 ESV)
Even if you cannot relate to having too little space to store all your grain & your goods, you do understand having too little time to fit everything into your day. That’s where much of the stress & anxiety comes from in the people you know – yourself included. Jesus knows it too, because He addressed it in the Gospel reading to His disciples 2000 years ago:
“And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?” (Luke 12:25 ESV) If you could invent a way to do it you’d be an instant billionaire. We use microwaves & smartphones & the internet, we multitask, drive on the expressway, & fly through the sky on jet airplanes, all for the purpose of fitting more stuff into our day.
Since we can’t build a larger clock, we try to shrink the amount of time it takes to do things so we can fit more of them into 24 hours. It’s not any different than trying to stuff more things into larger barns, & the same word of God applies to you & me as to the rich man: “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself & is not rich toward God.” In the case of the rich man, in spite of all his plans, that very night God was an unexpected guest & all the man’s elaborate planning came to an abrupt end. His focus, his energy & his life ended without any of his plans including his heavenly Father. PAUSE
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus draws a contrast between the rich man & the ravens. Birds have no barns; they are scavengers who need to look for food every day. This distinction is important because it helps us to understand the relationship between trust & worry. Focusing more on the things of this life than on God will look awfully foolish once our Master returns.
“[Jesus] said to His disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, & the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, & yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?’” (Luke 12:22-26 ESV)
Jesus is educating His brothers & sisters about the value of priorities. When the rich man’s barns were too small it never occurred to him to give away some of his stuff. When the 24 hours that our Creator gives to us each day is too small, it should occur to us to do less stuff. Rather, we should spend more time on getting our soul ready.
“…know this,” Jesus said, “that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke 12:39-40 ESV)
Heavenly Father, we confess before You right now, that we are more concerned & consumed with the things & the events of this world than we are concerned with the events of the Last Day & the things of the next world. We ask Your forgiveness for our foolish priorities. Since we do not know the hour You shall arrive, help us strive to be ready at all times.
Are you looking forward to having your Master return? If so, are you preparing for His
return? That is not a one & done project, because Christ’s love for us compels us to make all the decisions of life as children of the Light rather than as children of darkness. From today’s reading in the Book of Hebrews we heard of Abel, Enoch, Noah & Sarah:
“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them & greeted them from afar, & having acknowledged that they were strangers & exiles on the earth.” (Hebrews 11:13 ESV)
As strangers & exiles here, Jesus calls us to not get too wrapped up in the stuff of this world. It is desperately broken, & we along with it. It is the devil’s desire that we should treat Jesus as an unexpected guest. In verse 32 of the Gospel reading, St. Luke makes it clear that: “…it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.”
Keeping our heart focused on the joy & the glory of paradise to come strengthens & encourages us to endure the trials & suffering of this life. By God’s grace, this world is not the end all & be all of our existence. Verse 37 tells us “The master will dress himself for service & have them recline at table, & he will come & serve them.”
Heaven’s glories are unfathomable to us now, yet they are our possession nonetheless. Until then, the next time you hear the prayer, “Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest…” you would do well to expect the presence of your Lord & Savior Jesus there with you. He comes to serve you by releasing you from your sins & making you whole again. Amen.
Rise, my soul, to watch & pray; from your sleep awaken! Be not by the evil day unawares o’ertaken; for the foe, well we know, is a harvest reaping while the saints are sleeping. Watch against the devil’s snares lest asleep he find you; for indeed no pains he spares to deceive & blind you. Satan’s prey oft are they who secure are sleeping & no watch are keeping. Watch! Let not the wicked world with its lies defeat you lest with bold deceptions hurled it betray & cheat you. Watch & see lest there be faithless friends to charm you, who but seek to harm you. But while watching, also pray to the Lord unceasing. God protects you day by day, strength & faith increasing, so that still mind & will shall unite to serve Him & forever love Him. Amen. LSB 663:1-3, 5
Pastor Dean R. Poellet