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Our dear Lord Jesus wants us to be ready for His return. On the first Sunday of the church year we are made aware of the end of this world. While some people will faint of sheer terror, Christians straighten their backs and raise their heads.
For this the last Sunday in the church year, all three readings point to the end. Jesus warns us to “stay awake,” that is, keep your faith nourished by His Word and Sacrament. He guaranteed our salvation.
Daniel prophesies about life after the end of time. We note what he says about teachers of the faith. “Those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever and ever.” Oh, you Sunday School and faith teachers!
Jesus showed Saint John a scene from Heaven. It was the redeemed gathered in front of the throne of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes. White is the color of purity. They were celebrating the victory of the Son of God over sin, death and the devil.
As we live all our days in loving service to our Savior, we can be strong and courageous, no matter what challenges we may encounter. For we know that our Lord is with us always on earth, and we will live with our Savior in heaven.
The author of Hebrews contrasts the many former priests to Jesus. Death kept them from going on. No so with Jesus. He defeated death and serves as our High Priest forever. He died once and for all.
The rich young man wanted to secure eternal life. His past and present had been secured by his great wealth. But wealth is not able to buy eternal life. Jesus told him to be a blessing to the poor. He became sad and went away.
People were bringing little children to Jesus that He might touch them. Would that be a healing touch? Likely not. At the end of this episode He picked them up and blessed them. But it is noteworthy that Jesus became “really irritated” at his disciples, because the kingdom of God belongs to them.
Throughout the Bible there are many passages that give parents the task of teaching the faith to their children. Jesus uses very stern words in this regard. Parents who neglect their children’s Christian upbringing will have to answer to God, who entrusted them with their children.
The Apostle likes the tongue to a fire, a world of unrighteousness. He uses the analogy of the rudder on a ship: relatively small, yet it turns the whole boat. A tongue, though small, can stain the whole body. Curse and blessing comes out of the same mouth. “This ought not to be so,” he says.
The Apostle James calls us Christians to action. He warns us strictly not to be partial to various people but treat all with respect. He also says that if someone is in need of food we should not just wish them well. We ought to actually help them, out of love for Christ.
Paul, in a farewell to the Ephesians urges them — and us — to take up the shield of faith. Faith extinguishes the flaming darts of the Devil. Faith keeps us safe in a close relationship with God.