Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Today we conclude the church calendar. Each year we review all the life and works of our Lord. First, His birth, that is, Christmas. In Holy Week, we remember His death and resurrection. Then, His Ascension and Pentecost, the day when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the church. In the last three Sundays of the ecclesiastical year, we focused on the second coming of the Lord in glory and on this last Sunday, His position as King of kings.
We learn in the catechism of the three offices of Jesus Christ: Prophet, priest and king. A prophet proclaims the Word of God, like the prophets of the Old Testament; Moses, Elijah, Jeremiah, Isaiah and the others. In our reading of the Old Testament (Isaiah 35: 3-10), Isaiah says thus:
"Then the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be opened. Then the lame will jump like a deer, and the tongue of the mute will sing. "All these things were fulfilled in the ministry of Jesus; so, they were signs to the people that Jesus was the Promised One of Israel.
All the prophets of the Old Testament predicted the first coming of the Son of God. He would come the first time in humility and peace to rescue men from eternal death. They also proclaimed the second coming of Christ as the Judge of all nations.
Jesus spoke of things to come, like the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. Also of His second coming in glory.
In His state of humiliation, the Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity, left His throne and was born of the Virgin Mary. He grew up as the son of Mary and Joseph the carpenter in Nazareth. He suffered and died on the cross for us. In this act, Jesus in His priestly office offered Himself as the propitiatory sacrifice for our sins.
When He ascended into heaven to be seated at the right hand of Almighty God the Father, to rule the universe, He again took up His office as King of kings. Before His Ascension, Jesus told his disciples, "All authority in heaven and earth has been given to me." That includes the authority to decide who will be saved and who will not be saved. He was also given authority over all nations, because in the final judgment, those of all tribes, races and languages will have to give an account of their works before Christ on His throne.
This is our consolation. Now our country is in crisis, with shortages of food and medicine, violence in the streets, and a lot of uncertainty about the future. However, we can trust that everything is under control of our God.
There are problems all over the world. Yesterday, more than 200 people died in a terrorist attack in a mosque in Egypt. Muslims killed other Muslims. Horrible! But, we believe that the King comes to cancel all accounts. What does the King have in this drawing? The scales of justice. No one can escape God's judgment.
None of us deserve eternal life or other good things from the hands of God. We have the promise of God's love and mercy for Jesus Christ's sake. Then, in that day we will not receive punishment, but salvation.
Those who reject God's mercy in Christ will receive what they deserve, eternal death. In this world, it often seems that some people escape the consequences of their bad deeds. But, in the end, everyone must give an account of their lives to Christ.
Our text for today teaches us how to live while we await the second coming of the Lord. The custom of weddings at that time was like this: The groom stayed at his house with his friends all day and at midnight he left and all the guests joined in the march through the streets to the bride's house. All entered the wedding. The ten virgins had their lamps for the march at midnight.
"And five of them were prudent, and five foolish: the foolish took their lamps, and did not take oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels, and their lamps. And the bridegroom tarried, and all of them slept and fell asleep. At midnight a cry was heard: Behold, the bridegroom cometh, go forth to meet him: then all those virgins arose, and prepared their lamps: and the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil: for our lamps are extinguished But the prudent answered, saying, No, lest there be not enough for us and you, go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves, and while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came; they came with him to the marriage, and the door was shut, and then the other virgins also came, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us! But he answered and said, Most assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you. Watch, therefore, for you do not know is the day or the hour in which the Son of Man is to come. "
The bridegroom is Jesus Christ and weddings is the union between Christ and His bride, the church after the final judgment. According to the book of Revelation, Christ and His bride, the church, say to all, come to the wedding. Then everyone is invited, but not everyone will be prepared. Those who do not pay attention to the life of faith, prayer, preaching the Word, the sacraments, are at risk of losing the opportunity to live forever with Christ. For most of us, the time of judgment comes after our physical death. Those who will live on the day of Christ's return will not sleep, but they must also give an account before the throne. The principle is the same: nobody knows the date. As St. Peter says in the epistle (2 Peter 3: 8-14), "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night."
We can be prepared to live at every moment in anticipation of the coming of the King. The bad things of this world will not last forever, but the promises of God do. In this we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.
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