Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sunday of the Fulfillment Matthew 22:1-14 Paradise Restored!

For look, I create heavens anew, and earth anew; and will not be remembered the preceding things, and they will not be uppermost upon the heart. Nevertheless rejoice and shout for joy always upon which I Myself will create; for look, I create Jerusalem shouting joyfully, and its people rejoicing! And I will shout for joy in Jerusalem, and I rejoice in My people; and will not be heard in it any more the sound of weeping and the sound of crying. There will not be from there an infant of days, and an elder who does not complete his days, for the young son will die at year 100, and the son missing the mark of 100 years will be cursed...For as the days of the tree–the days of My people, and from the work of their hands my ones, led in as a bride, will make dark. They will not labor to emptiness, and they will not bear to terror; for seed blessed of Yahweh they will be, and their descendants with them.

Today is the last Sunday of the church year, the Sunday of Fulfillment. But it is not a day for reflecting backwards on the past. Far from it! Today is a day to look forward to what is to come! As the church year comes to a close, we await the heavenly wedding feast, filled with great shouts of joy and much rejoicing. We look to the return of our Groom, Jesus, to lead us to His home as His bride to dwell with Him in paradise. It is something to look forward to on that day–new heavens and new earth!

But we don't always like to look forward, do we. You may want to dwell on the past, and what you have in the here and now. You have past problems you are trying to rectify, and you have current concerns that seem so very pressing for you and your family. You don't think you have time to pay attention to what is to come in the future. You can be a lot like those initial guests invited to the banquet in Jesus' parable, who focused on their farm or business, and ignored the banquet invitation.

But rest assured, when Jesus does return, those former concerns will all be a thing of the past. No longer will the worries and anxieties of life in this world be uppermost in your hearts. On that day, you will be so excited about the new earth joined to the new heavens, that you won't give a rip about those old mundane things. Paradise will be restored for you on that day, with a perfect world like Adam and Eve had in the Garden, not apart from God's heaven, but connected directly to it and to Him!

Yet down here, in the meantime, you find yourself getting in a funk. Finances are tight, children get into messes, and parents get harder and harder to raise as the years go by. Sometimes you just want to have a good cry about all the problems of your life. You find yourself wanting to wallow in self-pity, only to find that everybody around you has their fair share of difficulties too. As the frustrations just seem to continue to mount You worry that there will be no end to your weeping.

There is an end to your crying about this world's worries. It ends in your Savior, Christ Jesus! For He has willingly given up His life for you. He gave up all His righteousness at the cross so that you would be clothed with beautiful white robes forevermore at the heavenly wedding feast. In trade, He took upon Himself the filthy garment of your sinfulness as His Own dress. In addition, your sorrowful weeping became His as He was forsaken by His Father, and cast out into the utter darkess of Hell for you.

As you grow older, you realize more and more that age seems less of a blessing, and more of a curse! You've gone from three to five meals a day, if you include morning and evening pills from the doctor. You don't want to burden family members for help, but you don't want to go without help either. There are days that you wonder if the good Lord shouldn't shorten the number of days you live down here in this valley of sorrows, because it's getting harder and harder to do what you used to.

As rough as growing older is here on earth, it is a complete joy in the restored paradise! More and more days there won't be a curse, but a blessing. The only curse would be not being able to have more years in paradise! For there you will have life in abundance. Just as your Savior didn't remain dead in the tomb, but rose to new, glorious, everlasting life that first Easter, He will return to bless you with that same renewed, glorified, eternal life with Him in the new heaven and new earth!

So as you await Jesus' return on the last day to make your body to be eternally glorious like His Own body already is, what can you do in the meantime? Be connected to your ever-living Savior through His Word and Sacraments–that's what! Hear His love proclaimed to you–"Jesus died and rose for you, to forgive your deadly sins, and to give you life in paradise!" Remember your baptism–the daily bath in Jesus cleansing blood. Receive the Lord's Body and Blood for your forgiveness, salvation and life!

Hymns for today from LSB
#663 Rise My Soul to Watch and Pray
#516 Wake Awake for Night is Flying
#514 The Bridegroom Soon will Call Us


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