Shootings. Terrorists. More shootings. Terrorist shootings. Somebody's trying to get nuclear bombs. And we're just trying to make sure we have enough to do Christmas shopping for the kids. We smile to pretend the world is not going to hell in a handbasket. But let's face it, there's enough out there on the news and enough right in our own lives to wear us down and drag us down. And that's exactly what Jesus warns us about today. He's coming again! But until He shows up, this is what the world is going to be like. But, He says, when we see all this, we don't retreat and hide. We don't curl up in the fetal position and hope we can stay safe. No, we stand up! He lift up our heads! Because our redemption is drawing near! We get eager and excited for the coming of Jesus becuase He's going to make everything right. He will come on the clouds of heaven in His glory. Wait for it... He's coming... He's adventing... There He is! At the font. On the altar. In His Word. If we get too wrapped up in the stuff of this life, we'll miss Him! So He tells us to watch! Be prepared. And don't act like it's the end of the world! Act like it's the return of your Savior to give you eternal life!
Our Advent repentance is that we forget who Jesus is and how He's handled everything. He came in the flesh to be the One to save you. He came precisely in the flesh so that His flesh could be pierced for you, nailed to the cross for you, laid in the tomb for you. So He would rise for you. So many people out there want to use the Bible to scare everyone. Look at all this horrible stuff! Fire! Brimstone! Doom! Gloom! Judgment! And for you too if you don't straighten up! But St. Paul says that the Scriptures were written for our comfort. How could they not be? They're about Jesus! And Jesus is all about being our Redeemer. He's all about coming to save us. Yeah, there are lots of bad things out there in the world. People do awful things to each other. Awful things happen to people, even Christians. Awful things happen around you. Awful things happen to you. But they are only truly awful if Jesus stayed away but He didn't. He came to this world. Manger. Donkey. Cross. Empty Tomb. Font. Pulpit. Altar. There He is! And if He is there for you, doing what He does, then there is nothing out there that can do to you anything that can outdo what Jesus has done! ISIS getting a hold of nuke? Doesn't put Jesus back in the grave. Some natural disaster destroys your home? Doesn't invalidate your baptism. Someone you love gets cancer? It doesn't cancel their absolution. Some bad thing happens to you? It doesn't make the Body and Blood of Jesus anything else. Do you get it? Jesus tells you that the signs of the end are not signs to get all worried about but to direct you to eagerly await His appearing! After all, He has given you His Word which can never pass away!
And here's the thing: Jesus came in the flesh at Christmas. Jesus will come again with glory on the clouds of heaven. In between that, there is all kinds of bad stuff going on all around. But Jesus is still coming to you. Still with you. Still dwells in you through your baptism. Still there in the person of your pastor to absolve and comfort you. Still there in His Body and Blood given and shed for you. The world goes crazy, what do you do? Make the sign of the holy cross and remember your baptism. Everything in your life is crumbling into a disastrous mess, what do you do? You confess your sins and hear the Good News that they are forgiven completely. You grow weak and tired in the world that is passing away, what do you do? You feast at the Supper of the Lamb who gives you strength for the journey. His promise is that His Word will never pass away which means you cannot either because His Word has been put upon you and in you by His gifts. They say that too much bad news can be depressing, cause anxiety and grief. But we know that sin and death are defeated by Jesus. So all these things, the more we hear them, simply cause us to stand tall and lift up our heads. Then we are confessing and telling the world, "It doesn't matter. Jesus has taken care of it. He's on His way back and when He comes on the Last Day, our redemption will arrive and we'll have everlasting life." Take that, world! Because Jesus has taken care of you. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Sermon Topics: Luke