Sermons

3rd Last Sunday (Mt 24:15–28)

November 12, 2017
Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

What sort of comfort do we look for in this life? What sort of escape? People look for all sorts of comforts and escapes. We fashion all sorts of false comforts. We usually compensate for our what troubles us with pleasure. We watch the game. We drink. We eat. We read. We hunt. We do everything in our power to not think about what’s going on in the world. We avoid dealing with our own problems. But in the end, these false comforts come up empty.

There was no comfort in AD 70. The Romans besieged Jerusalem. The conquered it. We know what goes with that sort of thing. People fled. If they couldn’t escape, they were killed. If they were spared, well, they were taken as slaves. It didn’t matter if they were men, women, or children. The temple was destroyed. Jerusalem sacked. Truly an “abomination of desolation.”

Are we comfortless? It feels like it from time to time because we’ve set up all sorts of false comfort. We set up our walls, our towers. But look out at the world: there’s no end to trouble. Look at our own lives: there’s no end of trouble.

Whatever security we thought we had is taken away, our props get kicked out from under us. What are we left with? Where do we turn? In the darkness, in tragedy, in death, in trouble, where do we go?

Do we go to false comforts? False words? “The day’s always darkest before the dawn.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “God never gives us more than we can handle.” Doesn’t He? Jesus says it will be more than people can handle: “For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” Our false comforts just ring hollow, because they are.

But there’s only one thing that was hollow and empty, that was basically bare and echoed with nothing to catch the sound but a few grave clothes. That empty tomb is the source of our comfort not because it was empty, but because of Him who once occupied that tomb, who was crucified and killed for us.

THE ONLY TRUE COMFORT WE HAVE IS CHRIST THE CRUCIFIED.

It’s around Him that we gather, and it’s from Him that we receive true and lasting comfort. He is our comfort. He our life in the midst of death. He our peace in the midst of chaos. He our joy in the midst of sadness. He our light in the midst of darkness.

We gain our life, we are sustained, enlivened from His death. His death is life, is salvation, is redemption, is peace with God. His death is our death. “Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized, were baptized into His death?” His death is our sustenance. “This is My body, which was given for you; This is My blood, which was shed for you. Take eat; take drink.” “For wherever the body is, there the eagles will gather.”

Only if we’re truly dead, can we then be made truly alive. Once we’re sunk deep into Jesus’ wounds, buried deep in His death, united to the Crucified alone, it’s then that we find that death brings life, that death gives way to life, that His resurrection from death is then our resurrection from death. Such life given from the very same means that give us His death: “For wherever the body is, there the eagles will gather.”

This is our comfort in the gray and latter days. That He will do whatever’s necessary to save, protect, bring about salvation—even end time’s salvation—for His “elect,” His chosen, His baptized, His eagles. We don’t have to wonder where He is. We don’t have to be on the lookout for the next big movement of the Spirit, or the next big book, the next big fad. “Here He is!” “No, over here!” “No, over there!” No, none of that. Jesus tells us exactly where He is: in His word-filled water, making disciples, wherever two are three are gathered to receive His Absolution, to hear His preaching, to receive His body and blood.

There’s no other signs. No wonders. That’s not Jesus. He delivers comfort. His death comfort. His empty tomb comfort. His baptism comfort. His absolution comfort. His body and blood comfort. “For wherever the body is, there the eagles will gather.”

THE ONLY TRUE COMFORT WE HAVE IS CHRIST THE CRUCIFIED.

His comfort is everlasting. It will last past and through the gray and latter days. Then on the Last Day, “the coming of the Son of Man” “will be like lightning that comes from the east and shines as far as the west.” And we, the Lord’s eagles, who gathered around His body in this life, will be “caught up…to the clouds to meet the Lord in the air,” we “shall mount up with wings like eagles; [we] shall run and not be weary; [we] shall walk and not faint.”

That’s our comfort, our true comfort, our only comfort. And it only comes from Christ the Crucified. That comfort, that Jesus is yours. He has to be: “For wherever the body is, there the eagles will gather.” It’s true in this life, and it’s certainly true in the life to come.

INI + AMEN.

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