Advent 2 2022 – Populus Zion (Lk 21, 25–36)

Photo by Denny Müller on Unsplash

Audio: iTunes | Spotify | Download

Keep watch, praying at all times, so that you would have strength to escape all these things that are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.

᛭ INI ᛭

(5. Oops!: There’s tings we can’t unsee, undo, or un-experience.)

What’s your escape? We’ve all got them. Our escapes from reality. Our natural inclination as sinners is to have them. And we have them because there are things that we can’t unsee, we can’t undo, and we can’t in-experience. We saw them, we did them, and we experienced. Past tense. Done deal.

But what Jesus describes today are things that aren’t a done deal, though they might as well be. He’s prophesying about things that will be seen, that will be done, that will happen. And since Jesus was accurate at prophesying His death and resurrection, we believe He’s accurate about this stuff, too. And what He says sounds, well, I mean pretty stressful and scary.

He’s talking about what will happen in Last Days right before He comes again. “Distress of nations.” Jesus says today. “Wars and rumors of war” He says elsewhere. Creation will come apart at the seams. “The roaring of sea and waves.” “Signs in sun and moon and stars…the very powers of the heavens will be shaken.” That’s what Jesus says today. “The sun will go dark.” “The very heavens will roll back like a scroll.” Scripture says elsewhere.

No wonder Jesus describes, “Men fainting from fear and apprehension of what is coming upon the earth.” He warns that that day will come “suddenly (αἰφνίδιος) like a trap.” Paul also warns: “Sudden (αἰφνίδιος) destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.” (1 These 5) Can’t escape! “It will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.”

(4. Ugh!: So, we seek all sorts of escapes from reality.)

So, what’s your escape? How do you avoid what’s come up in your life? How do you avoid not thinking about the future? Jesus puts the End Times and His Second Coming right before our eyes today. When you look at what He says here in Luke 21 and what He says a bit earlier, it sounds like our 24 hours news cycle on steroids.

Jesus lays out what we humans do in the midst of pressure, too. “Watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with hangovers and drunkenness and cares of this life.” But it could be all sorts of other things! We can enjoy things in life, but the devil and the world want you to practice escapism. Constantly turning your mind to entertainment as an escape from reality or routine.” Professional Sports. TV. Movies. Reading. Social Media. TikTok. News. Entertainment. Eating. Drinking. Working.

Those things just weigh us down so that our heads aren’t held high looking for Jesus. Instead we’re dreading Jesus, dreading what’s coming around the corner in our lives. When’s the other shoe going to drop. With our hearts weighed down, we need more to keep escaping, to forget, to deaden the worry, doubt, fear, and sadness. (There’s a reason why some of our escapes rewire our brains.) None of those things are Jesus and have no lasting power or benefit. Because of all the things we try to use as an escape, we’re afraid of Jesus or we don’t really see the need for Him.

While we’re killing our minds, our bodies, even our souls, with the escapes of life, prayer, reading your Bible, studying it, the Sacrament of the Altar, get put on the back burner. The get lower and lower and lower We’re listen more faithfully to the talking heads on TVs, our phones, than God talking to us in His Word. We know the stories of our favorite TV shows, movies, and books more than the God’s salvation story in the Bible.

(3. Aha!: JESUS IS YOUR TRUE ESCAPE AND STRENGTH.)

Now, this isn’t a moralistic put your phone aside, fix your brain sermon. I’m also not saying you can’t enjoy those things. They don’t actually give life, but when we use them as an escape, that’s what we’re looking for them to do! To restore our life and give us strength to meet the challenges of life.

This isn’t a problem with our minds. It’s not a problem with society. It’s not a problem of our habits. (Though you can work at some of that to be better for your neighbor.) This is actually a spiritual problem. It’s a problem of faith. We trust that the TV or the vacation or the relationship or the next drink, will finally give us peace and life. But none of that will work. It hasn’t and won’t. For proof, let’s listen to what Jesus says again:

Keep watch, praying at all times, so that you would have strength to escape all these things that are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.

Doesn’t even that sound scary? Jesus isn’t joking around.

Keep watch, praying at all times, so that you would have strength to escape all these things that are about to happen, and to stand before the Son of Man.

The Good News is this:

JESUS IS YOUR TRUE ESCAPE AND STRENGTH.

(2. Whee!: He delivers that strength and promise of “escape” to you.)

JESUS IS YOUR TRUE ESCAPE AND STRENGTH. That’s what He is for you because didn’t escape, wasn’t strong. He didn’t escape the penalty for your sins, for your idols, for your escapes from reality. He claimed each one as His own. Where we limp around from thing to thing seeking strength, He weakened Himself completely, “becoming obedient unto death even death on the cross.”

Then He is complete strength from complete weakness for you. On the third day, Jesus came back to life from the dead. The only prospect now is life from death for you. You will escape your grave, just as surely as you’ve escaped your sins and condemnation by His death on the cross.

JESUS IS YOUR TRUE ESCAPE AND STRENGTH also because He delivers His strength and His promise of escape to you. He delivers these things in His Word and Gifts. Nothing else in our daily lives, nothing else we try, really, nothing else in the entire universe, gives the strength and promise that Jesus gives in the Means of Grace.

That’s Baptism and the Lord’s Supper of course. In those gifts are the promise of forgiveness and eternal life. You are God’s own dear child. Christ’s death and resurrection our yours. That’s the promise of baptism. The Supper is His body and blood for you for the forgiveness of sins, and the promise that He “will resurrect you on the Last Day.”

But let’s focus a little bit more on the Bible for a minute. When we treat the Bible as information rather than a source life—it’s no wonder we don’t want to read it! Sure there’s information. But it’s more than just who was Judah’s King in 1000 BC. What’s Mahome’s QB rating or TDs last game? Same sort of info. Interesting, for whatever it’s worth. But listen to what Paul says today:

“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.”

So the instruction of the Scriptures is not facts and figures but it delivers encouragement so that you can have hope, have faith in Jesus.

(1. Yeah!: Now there’s no fear only expectation of seeing your salvation.)

Since JESUS IS YOUR TRUE ESCAPE AND STRENGTH, and since He gives you those very same things. There’s no reason to be afraid, no reason to keep going after other escapes and false gods. Through Baptism, His Supper, and the Bible read, preached, and studied He’s giving you all the strength and promises you need.

With Jesus doing that for you, you can meet what’s coming with head held high. “Your redemption is drawing near.” Your Jesus will come again. No fear—just eager expectation. After all, JESUS IS YOUR TRUE ESCAPE AND STRENGTH each day, every day, during the end times, on the Last Day, and even forever.

᛭ INI ᛭

Total:      
Outline:    66
Final:      

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close