Sermons

Pentecost 25B (Dan 12:1–3)

November 15, 2015
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was fluttering over the face of the waters.” And on that first day, “God said, ‘Let there be light!’ And there was light. God saw that the light was good.” Then later on, on the fourth day, “God said, ‘Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens. Let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.’; and it was so. Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.” And, when God was done creating, He saw that everything He made was very good. The light of perfection glistened and gleamed off of everything, even on the mist and dew that came up from the earth and watered it. All creation shone with perfection and beauty. It was all glorious and bright—like the glow of a bride on her wedding day.

Yet it did not remain.

(3.) Darkness entered where there was light.

The prince of darkness infiltrated the garden which was full of God’s light and His life. He brought His dark deception to God’s children of light, our first parents, Adam and his wife. The only darkness they knew was night, but even that was filled with the bright brilliance of the moon and the countless stars. But that prince brought upon them darkness—the darkness of sin and shame and misery and death. The crown jewel of God’s creation, whom He placed over creation as guardian, steward, and caretaker, was no longer a bright, shining jewel of perfection but was a dirty, lifeless, and useless rock.

This darkness and shroud spread over all creation. There is darkness in each of us. Darkness in our hearts, in our minds, and in our consciences. There are thoughts and memories that lurk in the dark recesses of our minds. There are those whom we want to stay in darkness. There’s our spreading darkness to those around us. There’s things we do in the darkness that we want to keep hidden. But Jesus says, “There is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.” There’s the darkness that oppresses us: spiritually, mentally, and even emotionally. But there is also darkness in our bodies as well. There’s sicknesses and cancers, and the darkness of death and the sealing of casket and grave will come to us all. The darkness once manifested in Eden by the devil, the serpent, truly spreads over us, blanketing us in its shadow.

But the Lord doesn’t abandon His people in the darkness. He places a captain, a defender, and warrior of Light to guard and protect them. For “He will command His angels concerning you, to guard you in all Your ways.” As we pass our time in this valley of sorrow and the “shadow of death,” He sends Michael. “In that time Michael, who stands over the sons of your people, will arise.” Michael, the archangel, is good to defend us from the prince of darkness, for when war broke out in heaven, Michael and his angels fought the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, and he was cast out by Michael who faithfully wielded the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God.

This promise of Michael and angelic protection flows from another promise. “The Word of Yahweh came to Abraham, and He brought him outside and said, ‘Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them. So shall your descendants be.’” Abraham’s descendants must not only be numerous like the stars but shine like them too because, as the Word said to Abraham in another place, “In you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.” In the Seed of the woman, in the Seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, everyone on earth will blessed. They will be blessed because

(2.) Light entered where there was darkness.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” Jesus, the true Light, the Sun of righteousness, arose with healing in His wings. “The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the region and shadow of death” the true Light of the World has dawned. He is the Light no darkness can overcome. He, who created light, let His perfect Light shine in the world. He dispelled the works of darkness. He cast His light over those who were sick. He raised the dead. He cast out demons. He forgave sins.

“The light shone in the darkness,” and the works and workers of darkness came by night to snatch away that Light. They’d tried earlier to label Him as a worker of darkness, “This man casts out demons by the prince of demons,” they said. And then at night they took Him, tried Him, and “it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.” “Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.” He died, and was placed into a cold dark tomb. Yes, “The light shone in the darkness, but the darkness did not overcome it.” For He who is Light from Light, who created light and sun and moon and stars, broke out from darkness and death, and rose to life and light on the third day.

Even as Jesus, the true Light, overcame darkness, so also

(1.) Light will overcome the darkness.

“It has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is.” What is Christ’s is and will be yours. Your darkness was His. His Light is your Light, He is your Light. He is now. For He dispels the darkness. You glisten and gleam with Christ’s own righteousness, placed over you in Baptism. As a flashlight removes darkness from even the darkest corner of the darkest and dankest basement, so also Christ with His Word of Absolution roots out all darkness in the darkest corners of our consciences. His being alive again is our Light and Peace even in the darkest of times.

The darkness could not overcome Him, and it will not overcome you either. For your name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. So you shall be delivered from darkness on the Last Day. Hear again what the Word of Yahweh said to Daniel, “At that time your people shall be delivered, Every one who is found written in the book.” You will be delivered from death for “those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake.” Death will be dispelled. It’s darkness will be gone forever. “And those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the sky above; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” That’s what Christ, who is Life and Light, will do for you. That’s His Promise and Word to Daniel and to us all.

THE DARKNESS OF DEATH WILL GIVE WAY TO RESURRECTION LIGHT.

That’s how it must be. “Go out, Abraham, and number the stars—if you can even do that.” For as the stars shine, set, and arise again the next night, so also you who shine with Christ’s righteousness, will set and die, but you shall also rise again to eternal life and light. It will be like the sky at night. Countless stars. A host which no one could number—the ransomed of the Lamb—shining brightly forever. We will shine like the stars because of Christ. And there will be no sun or moon. For the New Jerusalem, the new heavens and earth, “has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” And we shall be like Him. Shining as stars amidst the glory of God, the Lamb, and the Spirit. No darkness. No death. Just Light and Life for you and me forever.

INI + AMEN.

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One thought on “Pentecost 25B (Dan 12:1–3)

  1. Your comment “that’s how it must be” is very appropriate. I think particularly in light of of Old Testament readings. They give such an inevitable sense to what will be fulfilled by Christ in the New Testament, from creation to the incarnation to His death and resurrection. It’s almost As though we are granted a bird’s eye view of what will transpire, and then it actually happens! The fascination never grows old!

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