Sermon for Pentecost 23 – 11.13.22

+ 23rd Sunday after Pentecost – November 13th, 2022 +

Series C: Micah 4; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-13; Luke 21:5-36

Beautiful Savior Lutheran

Milton, WA

 

“Redemption is Near”

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Where do you go when you suffer? Where do you turn in your hurt and pain? When the brokenness of the world overwhelms you?

 

We might pretend, like some do, that suffering doesn’t exist; it’s all an illusion. We might try amusing ourselves to death with distractions: drown our sorrows, numb the pain, scroll through social media and hope it all just goes away. We even might try giving ourselves a little pep-talk, and put on a brave face for the world.

 

But in the end, there are really only two places to go when we suffer: to hide in our works or in the work of Christ. To rest in our own restless hands, or to find peace and rest in the hands and wounds of Jesus.

 

Where do you go when you suffer? For centuries God’s people would’ve answered that by pointing you to the temple. To the place where God dwelt with and for his people. Where God heard the prayers of his broken people and spoke his word to heal them. Where God was present with his promise to make atonement for their sins, the place where he shared his holiness with them, to the place where he promised to set things right.

 

So you can imagine the shock on the crowds’ faces as they stood admiring the white stones and gilded walls of the temple as they listened to Jesus pointing to the temple and saying; you see that…it’s all going to be destroyed.

 

“As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

 

Jesus was predicting the destruction that was to come some forty years afterwards when that very temple would be destroyed by Rome in 70 A.D. For the crowds, his own disciples, and all who believe in him, Jesus was preparing them for suffering that was to come.

 

While they are admiring the temple, He predicts its destruction. A destruction that comes in waves. First there are the false Messiahs (verse 8) and false prophets. Governmental persecution (verse 12). Jesus tells His disciples that they will be betrayed by friends and family. You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers[c] and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 

 

Doesn’t sound all that different from the world we live in today does it? That’s because Jesus’ prediction of the temple’s destruction is also a picture of living in the Last Days. Days when, as Jesus warned his disciples, suffering is coming. As Luther said, “When you’re baptized you have a target on your back,” – the devil, the world, and your own sinful flesh will bring suffering and try and destroy you any way they can.

 

 

It all sounds terrifying doesn’t it. And If that were all Jesus said, it would be. But it’s not all Jesus said. Suffering doesn’t get the last word when Jesus is around. Larger than the target on our backs is the name of the Christ written upon your forehead; so what if the devil has you on his hit list, your name is written in the Lamb’s book of life and all his threats and lies are empty as the tomb that Jesus rose from when he destroyed your sin, died your death, and crushed the devil under foot.  There’s no amount of suffering – no matter how severe it is, no sin big or small, not even death itself can take you that can take you out of Jesus hands.

 

Where do you go when you suffer? Take comfort in, and find rest in the words and wounds of Christ who suffered for you. Who speaks to us in the midst of suffering.

 

“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 

Where do you go when you suffer? You go where God’s people have always gone, to the temple. Not the one with stones and gold and cedar, but the temple of flesh and blood and bone – to Jesus the new and greater temple. To Christ who dwells with you and for you. To Christ who atones for your sins. To Christ who shares his holiness with you in holy words, holy washing away of sins, holy eating and drinking of his holy body and blood. To Christ who sets all things right in his own suffering on the cross for you.

 

Jesus spoke these words mere days before His death. The suffering Jesus will experience is for your eternal salvation. He will fight against death and die in the battle precisely so He can rise and reveal that he has overcome death for you. There is nothing in this life, therefore, which can tear you out of His strong, protective hand.

 

You see, all these signs Jesus speaks of concerning the temple’s destruction are also the same signs present at his crucifixion. Persecution. Betrayal. Death. False prophets. Earthquakes. He endured all of it for you.

 

Where do you go when you suffer? To the place where Jesus went and suffered for you, to his death and resurrection. To his word of peace and promise that comes to us whenever we suffer.

 

“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

 

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

 

In the Name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

 

Beautiful Savior

is a traditional Lutheran Church, faithful to God's Word and His Sacraments. We equip God's people to serve, love, and encourage one another as we grow in our personal relationship with Christ. We reach out to the community as beacons of light, sharing the love of God in Christ Jesus, our Savior.

Church Office Hours

Monday - Thursday 8:30am-3:30pm

Friday 8:30am-11:30am

The office is closed on Fridays during the summer months of June, July, and August.

Preschool Office Hours

August - May
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
8:30am-12:30pm

By appointment only June and July

Contact

Address
2306 Milton Way
Milton, WA 98354
Phone
(253) 922-6977
Fax
(253) 922-6977