Sermons

Advent 2: Populus Zion (Lk 21:25–36)

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

INI + AMEN.

((5. Oops!: The signs are beginning to show.))

Things are starting to blossom, bloom, and grow. We’ve entered that season. A season of the world we try not to think about. The season that leads to the end. To the time and season when there is no more time or season or this world, at all. Just like a tree in spring, so our world blossoms and buds.

Conflict springs up everywhere. There’s a bumper crop of “nation [rising] against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.” No famine of “wars and rumors of wars.” Saber rattling abounds.

Creation itself creaks as it grows and sprouts no end of trouble: Wildfires, storms, droughts, and famines. It’ll get even worse: “the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” “Sun, moon, and stars,” will go out, grow dim, and fall from heaven.

Even our bodies show the signs of their end: age, cancer, disease, and death.

((4. Ugh!: Our hearts get weighed down by all these things.))

Jesus’ Word cuts like a scythe and ax. “Watch out so that your hearts aren’t weighed down with cares about this life.” But that’s what our hearts do! Thorns and thistles multiply and grow. So much destructive power in a single weapon. So much driving grain prices down. So many questions about the diagnosis.

We cope our way. So, we get weighed down even more. Hoarding what we think will keep us safe. Stock piling what will get us through. Or perhaps we just drink the problems and stress away. Or not talk or think about it at all.

But no matter what, “it will come upon everyone who dwells on earth,” as Jesus says. Besides that, “His axe is laid at the root of the tree, and every tree not bearing good fruit is chopped down and tossed in the fire.”

((3. Aha!: JESUS, THE SON OF MAN, IS YOUR REDEMPTION.))

So, what’s to be done? Jesus tells us that all these things shouldn’t weigh us down. Instead they lighten our burdens. They lift up our hearts. We straighten up, look up. This isn’t “Keep calm and carry on” advice. This isn’t grit your teeth and bear it.

No, it’s about Him. Him FOR YOU. Him coming FOR YOU. “When these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your Redemption is drawing near.” That—HE is our comfort in these last days. Yes, Him. Him FOR YOU. That’s Redemption. Redemption is Him!

JESUS, THE SON OF MAN, IS YOUR REDEMPTION.

((2. Whee!: That means you’ll last past the/your last day.))

So, we repent of our weighed-down hearts. What concern is the Last Day? No worries there. JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION. He was crucified and raised. Full redemption—nothing excluded. Sins, death, hell—done. Redemption, full and free.

So what if the world is passing away? So what if our bodies our wasting away? So what if there’s wars and rumors of wars? Did Jesus rise from the dead or not? Did Jesus meet His last day—it was a Friday, by the way—and did He come back to life 3 days later or not?

Yeah, our world won’t last. Our bodies won’t last. “Heaven and earth may pass away, but My Word will not pass away.” He is the Word, so He can say that sort of thing. But what Word doesn’t pass away? So many to count: “It is finished.” “I baptize you.” “I forgive you.” “My body and blood for you.” “I will resurrect you on the Last Day.” Because Jesus’ Word and promise endure, you will endure past the Last Day, past your last day, and you will see the eternal, never-ending day. That’s His Word, His Promise, which doesn’t pass away.

((1. Yeah!: The Son of Man, your Redemption, is the One you’ll stand before.))

So, you will stand before the Son of Man some day. That’s a promise, but again—lifted up hearts and hands and voices! There’s real flesh and blood Redemption. That’s Jesus—Redemption, flesh and blood Redemption. Redemption for your flesh and blood from His flesh and blood.

“Lift up your hearts.” “Let us give thanks unto the Lord, our God.” “It is meet and right so to do” because He brings you Redemption, brings you Himself, brings you His body and His blood for forgiveness, to strengthen your heart, to let His love and hope blossom in your heart, to let it bloom in trust and expectation of His final coming.

He’s coming, coming FOR YOU. You’ll stand before your redemption. You’ll see Him as He is. There He’ll stand: scars and all! “Those dear tokens of His passion.” “With what rapture, with what rapture, with what rapture gaze we on those glorious scars. Why wouldn’t we? JESUS, THE SON OF MAN, IS YOUR REDEMPTION, after all. Now, through the end times, and forever.

INI + AMEN.

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