Today's Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Some preachers love to talk about Judgment Day in a way that is meant to frighten people into repenting. (Note to false preachers: you can't scare people into doing something that only the Holy Spirit can do in them!) The words of St. Paul above are the perfect summary of what you need to know about the End Times and the Second Coming of Christ and Judgment Day.
What's the main point? Jesus isn't coming back to destroy you but to save you. Give you eternal life. People think that somehow the Jesus who is coming back is a different guy than the one who came in the flesh to suffer and die for our sins — a different one than the one who rose from the dead.
But it's the same Jesus who suffered and died and rose in the flesh who will return in the flesh to bring us to eternal life. He's not coming to smite but to save. Not to destroy but to raise up to live. Not to dump God's wrath but bring us into the kingdom prepared beforehand by the Father.
For those who are baptized into Christ, absolved of their sins and fed with Jesus' Body and Blood, the Last Day just isn't a day of terror and fear. It is a day the Lord's people long for and look for with eager anticipation. It is a day when our salvation, which has been accomplished by Jesus on the cross and given to us in His church, is once and for all completed and fulfilled for us in everlasting life.
If anyone wants to know anything about Judgment Day and the coming of Christ, just tell them clearly as St. Paul does. It's not a day of wrath but of salvation for those who are the Lord's. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Zion hears the watchmen singing, And all her heart with joy is springing; She wakes, she rises from her gloom. For her Lord comes down all glorious, The strong in grace, in truth victorious; Her star is ris'n, her light is come Now come, Thou Blessed One, Lord Jesus, God's own Son, Hail! Hosanna! We enter all The wedding hall To eat the Supper at Thy call. (LSB 516:2)
Questions or comments regarding the Reflections may be sent to the Rev. Mark Buetow, Reflections Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org.