Christ Lutheran Church
November 21, 2021
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras
Last Sunday of the Church Year
But in those days after that tribulation the sun will become dark, and the moon turn off her light; and the stars will drop out of the heavens, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; And then they will see the Son of Man for themselves coming in clouds with Great Power and Glory. And then he will send his angels, to gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth and from the ends of the heavens. (Mark 13:24-27)
Last week’s gospel ended with these sobering words: “Whoever endures to the end will be saved.” Jesus is the One who endured to the end, and was saved from corruption because he is Holy. He endured all that the Holy Trinity – in the highest council ever held – had planned for the salvation of the cosmos. Not only rebellious men, but for the whole universe now gone awry because of man’s sin.
In mutual love and divine council the Father Son and Holy Spirit for-ordained that Jesus, the 2nd Person of the Holy Trinity, would assume human nature and donate his priceless flesh and blood to expiate the sins of the world: and that is exactly what he did.
What prophets predicted of him came true. What seers dreamed in their divine sleep came true, in real time, down to the last jot and tittle.
Everything happened as it was supposed to.
Jesus endured until the end, the very end, until every last deadly sin had been paid for in full! Including yours.
We know this because 1,000 years before the Lord’s incarnation David prophesies of Christ, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. (Ps. 16:10).
And 50 days after the Lord’s glorious resurrection, on the Day of Pentecost, Peter preaches the same sermon which he learned from King David and from the Holy Spirit, “For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.”
And 30 years after that St. Paul testifies in Romans Chapter Six, “We know that Christ being raised from the dead will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Rom. 6:10-11)
Yes it is a well established fact of Christian theology that Jesus endured to the end, and he did it for us.
And so not only did the Holy One endure the Cup of God’s wrath to the end, and gain salvation from corruption, but all those who are One with him by faith, by Baptismal Union, and Liturgical Communion are also saved from corruption along with him.
As a result we have been gathered by God’s insurmountable army of angels from the ends of the earth, and the ends of the skies and led by them into the Father’s House; each to his own mansion.
This is what is divinely revealed to us in last week’s gospel. But this week’s gospel expands our minds even more. And so when St. Paul says that we “have the mind of Christ,” he is not speaking lightly. And with that mind comes knowledge that is inaccessible to all who are outside or Christ.
It is not withheld from them, indeed God wants “all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” But they must put aside their vanity if they are to know it, treasure it, and receive its never-ending gladness.
What do we know?
We know exactly how the world was formed. We are not weighed down by the farce that our ancestors were apes, and we just another species of animal.
We know how all things are preserved only by God’s direct care and management. Nothing happens on its own. Hair doesn’t grow, fire does not heat, nor do molecules hold together apart from the heavenly Father’s active management of it all.
We also know the world’s spiritual and moral condition – the evidence is every
place where wrong is perpetrated, to say nothing of tolerated and encouraged by the culture.
We know it’s only salvation: faith in “the blood of Jesus his Son purifies us from every sin.”
And we know that the Old World ended – the one incurably infected with sin and death – when Jesus bowed his head in death, and all the powers of the heavens were shaken; and rearranged now with Jesus as King of kings, and Lord of lords.
And we know that the Prince of this World was cast out when the God’s Holy Lamb shed his blood. The Prince of this World still operates but as a dethroned prince from whose power we are set free. And so don’t be like the dog in St. Peter’s epistle that returns to its vomit. You belong to Jesus, and only to Jesus. You don’t even belong to yourself. But only to Christ.
Now it seems obvious that while Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you; be sure that you don’t leave and forsake him. There is nothing worse in this whole world, or in eternity beyond.
A recent news report says that some RC’s in Italy are going through a formal process to become UN-baptized! In their demonic blindness they wand to reverse the countless blessings of this primary Sacrament, and no longer be a child of God. But what could be worse than that? To sign your own death warrant?
Yes, the cross is the end of the OLD WORLD, but simultaneously the SIGN of the New World.
God’s opening words in the Bible, in Genesis 1:3 are this: “Let there be light.” But he wasn’t talking about the sun, moon or stars: those all came later. But he is talking about his Son, our very own and dear and beloved Lord Jesus Christ who is the Light of the world.
At some earlier time that Scripture does not record, it seems that Satan left the earth dark, void and formless.
But then the Spirit of God hovered over it with his irresistible power and love, like a hen guarding her chicks, then the Light Broke. Christ entered the world to be its Light and its Salvation, even before the first earthly transgression had ever been perpetrated.
And so when the Son of Man suffered on the cross the old world, and the old universe was decommissioned. The Sun, the Moon and all the fiery stars turned off their light for 3 hours in deference to their Lord. They fell down in humble adoration and thanksgiving to their Creator as they witnessed the END of the LONG NIGHT, and the restoration of the never ending DAY.
THIS is the day the LORD has made – let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
And in deference to the True Light that enlightens every man that comes into the world, they stopped what they were doing. They “fell out of the sky” as it were, and the all the powers of the heavens were shaken; as Jesus assumed his rightful place as the Light of the world; so that anyone who follows him, and believes in him will never walk in darkness, think in darkness, or endure life in darkness, but will have the Light of life.
We are those people. Amen.