Reflections: The Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year

Today’s Reading: Matthew 24_15-28,  Introit:Ps. 130:1–2, 7–8; antiphon: Ps. 130:3–4

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 8:18-9:12; Matthew 23:13-39

“Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.”  (Mt. 24:23-24)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. This passage from Mt. 24 is often read as if Jesus was meaning it only for those of His time.  In the 1st century, when many Jews were expecting God’s Messiah (or Christ) to appear, some falsely proclaimed themselves as that promised savior.  And Jesus rightly warned His hearers to not follow those other guys, because they were frauds.  So this did apply then.

But Jesus also warns us today.  For there are false christs today too.  Today, false christs tend to go by the same name as the true Christ: Jesus.  One church proclaims Jesus as a social radical who now teaches that sin is no longer sinful.  One church preaches a Jesus who will make you financially wealthy if you believe enough.  One church proclaims Jesus as a cheerleader who gets you to do enough good works to enter heaven.  Still another church says that Jesus has done His part to save you, but the rest is up to you now.  All of these are false christs.  So if anyone says, “Look, Christ is here in this church,” but the pastor proclaims these false doctrines?  He is pointing you to a different guy than the savior we know, a false christ.  It’s just that their false savior also happens to have the same name as our true savior.

The true Christ is the One who saves sinners as a free gift.  The true Christ is the sacrifice whose gory bloodshed and disturbing death is your peace.  The true Christ is a physician for the afflicted and tormented soul, but He has nothing to give those who think they are already well without Him.  The true Christ is risen from the dead and sits at God’s right hand.  The true Christ washes sins away by the water of Baptism and adopts those baptized into God’s family.  The true Christ gives His body to eat in and under the consecrated bread, and His blood to drink in and under the consecrated wine.  The true Christ is the Shepherd of lost sheep.  God be praised.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all godliness, hear the devout prayers of Your Church, especially in times of persecution, and grant that what we ask in faith we may obtain; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

-Pastor Robert Mayes is Pastor at Immanuel Lutheran Church and Zion St. John Lutheran Church in Beemer and Wisner, NE.

Audio Reflections Speaker: Rev. Duane Bamsch

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.