He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. (1 Peter 1:20-21)
Our Lord is a mission-minded God. He set out from the foundation of the world with the purpose of redeeming you in these last times. St. Peter speaks of the mission of God in today’s Epistle, where Jesus’ fleshly dwelling redeems sinful humanity.
Almost 2000 years ago, St. Peter referred to “these last times”. It kind of makes you wonder what he was thinking. Two thousand years later, we read today’s Epistle and can’t help but think there was nothing “last” about those times. We like to think of the last times only as the last day, that final point in history when all things come to fruition. There is nothing wrong with that thinking, but sometimes we forget that we get a taste of the last times anywhere the body and blood of Jesus are.
The last times take us beyond time as they unite our Lord’s first coming (Advent), His coming in the Lord’s Supper, and His coming again for final judgment (brought to mind during the Last Sunday of the Church Year). With this in mind, when we eat of the Body and Blood of Jesus in the Lord’s Supper we are joined together with the incarnate and crucified body of our Lord and Savior. This joining connects us to Him and in Him to the final judgment. There, the Lord, who is waiting for all to come to a saving knowledge of Him, will separate those who know the Truth from those who have rejected it.
Now in these last times you are in Him, having been cleansed by the waters of Holy Baptism. In the waters of Holy Baptism death lost its claim to you. What could once be claimed by sin, death, and the devil now belongs to the Lord. Purified in Baptism you have been born again – a new creation, made for serving and loving your neighbor, even in these “last times.”
In the name of Jesus. Amen.
Lord, Your words are waters living When my thirsting spirit pleads. Lord, Your words are bread life-giving; On Your words my spirit feeds. Lord, Your words will be my light Through death’s cold and dreary night; Yes, they are my sword prevailing And my cup of joy unfailing! (LSB 589.3)