Reflections: Tuesday of the Third-Last Week

Today’s Reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 20:1-18; Matthew 24:29-51

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.  (1 Thes. 4:16-17)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Ancient Rome had a unique way to celebrate a visit from the emperor. If the emperor was coming to a city for a state visit, watchmen would play trumpets to let the people of the city know the emperor had come. When they heard the trumpet blast, the people went out of the city walls to welcome the emperor.  Then they all processed back into the city, the people going along with the emperor and his men.

Something like this is going to happen on the last day. But we have more than an earthly emperor who is coming. We have Jesus. He who died and is risen, who ascended and fills all things, who is the king of kings and lord of lords, He is coming! Like the ancient Romans, so believers also will go to meet the Lord as He is coming, and join with Him as He comes to earth in judgment. What Paul is describing in 1 Thes. 4 is not some kind of ‘holy hovering,’ but a welcoming party of believers for their long-awaited Lord.

Why can you anticipate Jesus’ final coming with joy? It’s because He has redeemed you from your sins. Without faith in His Word, a person can only fear Christ’s coming, for He comes to judge the world and the people in it. Only through faith in God’s Word and promise can you have joy and confidence before Christ the judge. Not by your efforts, not by your cheery attitude or your abilities, not by anything that is in you can you have this confidence and boldness on the last day. The only way to welcome Jesus without fear is trusting His Word of absolution. You stand forgiven on account of what He has done. Because of that, you gladly await the heavenly trumpet so that you might welcome Jesus and join Him.  In the Name + of Jesus. Amen

“Come, O Christ, and loose the chains that bind us; Lead us forth and cast this world behind us. With You, the Anointed, Finds the soul its joy and rest appointed.! (LSB 679:5).

-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.