INI + AMEN.
((5. Oops!: Dark days are coming.))
Dark days are coming. The Last Days are coming. Soon even the Last Day will come. The signs are all around us. Like buds coming out on a fig tree or any other tree in Spring time. There’ll even be “signs in the sun, moon, and stars”—creation coming apart at the seems.
The Last Days are here. Dark days are here. Society coming apart at the seems, it seems. Wars come. Rumors, news stories, fears of wars come, too. “Distress of nations,” “men fainting because of what’s coming upon mankind.” Then the Last Day comes, then all things will be swept away, like leaves coming down in the Fall.
((4. Ugh!: You’ve had dark days come, too.))
Dark days have already come—your dark days. “Heart weighed down.” Maybe with some “dissipation,” living it up. Maybe with “drunkenness.” But certainly “cares of this life” come down heavy on all of us. Weigh us down. Burden us. Make our way difficult, dark, depressing, depressed.
Maybe it’s not that bad for you. (Thank the Lord for that!) But it probably is more like that than we care to admit. You just keep plugging along. What else are you supposed to do, right? Pent up anger, frustration, fears from all the dark spots in our lives, in our world, in our hearts even.
Our darkness—a trap! Our worries, cares, and pains—a trap! They shouldn’t be because Jesus warns us here. But, they are. And if we can’t help but get caught up in the traps of this life, if we can’t help but fall into the pitfalls of working so blasted hard with only stress to show for it, if we can’t help but be worried or scared about today, tomorrow, the end of our lives, the end times and end of the world, then what sort of day will the Last Day be for you? How can you hope “to stand before the Son of Man” and not be cast out into the final and eternal outer darkness of hell where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth?
((3. Aha!: Still, it’s Advent—Jesus, your Redemption comes!))
So, what’s to come for you when your life’s a living hell? What if it’s just a living purgatory, where you’re not living/loving but only just surviving?—barely. Well, if that’s you, dear saint and child of God, it’s advent! Not just darkness comes. Jesus comes into the darkness for you. And what if your life is full of joy and abundant blessings? Well, Jesus came for you, too.
Why did He come? To redeem you, to buy you back from darkness. In fact, He didn’t just come to do something for you. He came to be something for you. He is your Redemption. Your Purchase price. He’s your being bought back from the darkness of sin and the power of the devil.
((2. Whee!: He really is your Redemption.))
Jesus is your Redemption. He came into the darkness. Was “born of a woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law so that you would receive adoption as sons.” He endured the darkness we all experience—without sin of course. Fully trusting His Father throughout the darkness in your place.
He endured the greatest and final darkness for you on Good Friday. When there was a great sign in the sun—it stopped shining! “There was darkness over the whole land from the 6th hour until the 9th hour.” There Jesus hanged for you. Dark and alone—for you. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” He went into the darkness and aloneness of death for you, too.
Jesus is your Redemption: crucified, bloodied, dead, and buried for you. His Good-Friday Redemption counts for you no matter what. God’s blood, His life, His death is that “holy” and “precious.” It counts and endures for you, in your account, forever.
((1. Yeah!: JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION EVERY SINGLE DAY.))
But Jesus isn’t just your Redemption on Good Friday. In our Gospel today, He tells us when the end times are going on to “stand up, lift up your eyes because your Redemption is drawing near.” He’s your Redemption, Redemption also on the Last Day, and if He’s that on the Last Day, it means JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION EVERY SINGLE DAY.
JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION EVERY SINGLE DAY because you are baptized. Nothing can ever change that. You are wrapped up in the Light of the world. The darkness can’t really overwhelm you. You’re clothed with Redemption Himself—clothed with Jesus, His Righteousness. You’re washed in His Good-Friday shed blood. You’ve been grafted into His empty grave. It’s not just true on the day you were Baptized, but it’s true every day. Because you’re still baptized. And that’s what will happen for you on the Last Day.
JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION EVERY SINGLE DAY because He still advents and comes to you. He doesn’t leave you alone. You’re never alone with Him. He’s there for you. He strengthens and keeps you in His baptismal favor. He prepares you for the Last Day in His redeeming body and blood. So it is today: body and blood for you. His promise holds true everyday: “for you…for the forgiveness of your sins.” And so He will resurrect you on the Last Day.
JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION EVERY SINGLE DAY. He can’t not be. He is no matter what. His cross and empty tomb say so. His Baptism and His Supper make it so for you. He wraps you up with Himself—you really are! Now no darkness, no devil, no death, no pain, no worry, no sin can hurt you. You want His Redemption? It’s yours! He feeds you with it—right into your mouth: body and blood. When you eat and drink Redemption, you most certainly are redeemed. Have to be? Can it be any other way? JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION EVERY SINGLE DAY. Even on the dark days. Even on the Last Day. Even forever.
Let the dark days come! What can they really do? You’ll make it through. Jesus has already made sure you will. In fact, in Him you already have. In Him you live. In Him you love. Jesus comes. He’s your Redemption. Your baptism into Him, His body and blood He feeds you with tell you the same thing. JESUS IS YOUR REDEMPTION EVERY SINGLE DAY.
INI + AMEN.