The Seventh Sunday of Easter (C)
“Come Lord Jesus”
June 2, 2019
Sermon Text: Revelation 22:12-17, 20
Grace, mercy and peace be unto you from our risen and ascended Lord Jesus. Amen.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
This is the last Sunday of the Easter Season and as you probably have noticed, our readings from God’s Holy Word during these past seven weeks have been, well, a little unusual.
First of all, we have had no Old Testament readings. Rather, we have been hearing about the wonderful work of the Lord through the Apostles and the early Christian Church, recorded for us in the Book of Acts.
Also, these past Sundays, we have had a reading from the Book of Revelation providing us with important information about this period… this season… in which we now live.
Many think it is all future stuff, but it is not. Rather, it vividly speaks of the season… the period between Christ’s ascension into heaven (which we celebrated this past Thursday) and Christ’s return in all His glory to judge the living and the dead which we shall likewise celebrate so very soon.
Again, many think it is all future stuff… far into the future and nothing that we really need to be concerned about. That is another big mistake, for God’s Words speaks otherwise… to the contrary. Holy Scripture makes it very clear that we are in the end times… the final days and that the end is most certainly near.
Oh, we have heard that before, I know…. the doomsday speech… that the world is coming to an end. Well it is!
It is kind of ironic that today we come to the end of the Easter Season and our sermon text comes from the end of the book… the end of the Bible… the very last chapter…. the very last words of God recorded for us.
And isn’t it interesting that in this last book of the Bible… in this last chapter… we are told not once… not twice… but three times that Jesus is coming soon.
Just previous to our text, in verse 7 of chapter 22, Christ declares, “Behold, I am coming quickly! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book.”
Now look at our text where Jesus says, “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done.” (Revelation 22:12)
And finally, at the end of our text, once again our Lord says, “Surely I am coming soon.” (Revelation 22:20)
What part of that isn’t clear to us… to all? Christ our Savior, Lord and King is coming soon! Quickly! He said so. Does anyone here want to take that to mean we have another 2,000 or so years as has been since His ascension?
We do not know if we have another 2,000 more days… 2,000 hours… 2,000 minutes… 2,000 seconds. And that’s the thing. We are not to know. Jesus said so. “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority.” (Acts 1:7)
We are not to know, my friends. Instead, we are simply to believe. We are simply called to be ready… to be prepared at all times to receive our Lord in glory.
And an honest question posed to all of us is, do we really want Jesus to come now? Yes, we certainly want Him to come… but do we want Him to come NOW… TODAY… THIS VERY MINUTE?
Given the option of whether the Lord should come now or at a future date… surprisingly, I think many people would want Him to come at that later date (a date, by the way, that they would like to pick… a day in which they would like to have a say).
But it does not work that way. What part of God being God do we not understand… or accept… that our times… all times… all of time is in His hands and under His perfect authority.
We say we wouldn’t want it any other way… but then we think about all that we still want to accomplish… places we still want to go… things that we still want to do. Yes, God has His plans, but so do we!
After going back to college… to the seminary for four years of training to be a pastor… after learning Greek and Hebrew… studying hundreds of hours, reading hundreds of pages, writing what seemed to be hundreds of papers… I remember that finally, it was all about to come to an end… graduation and ordination time had arrived. Soon I would be able to do that which I had been looking forward to doing for so many years…
… and as it was all about to happen, I remember Donna saying to me, “Wouldn’t it be something if Jesus came back now.” Why would she say such a thing!
And then I found that there was a part of me… the Old Adam in me… who did not want Jesus to come back… just yet… not there and then… maybe in a little while… give me some time to enjoy the ministry. As we know, our Lord did not come back then and I have had the blessed opportunity to serve Him and all of you for quite a while.
I have shared with you before that one of my classmates at the seminary did not have the same opportunity. Days before graduation, he was leaving campus when his car was struck broadside by a drunk driver.
My fellow classmate… who put just as much time and energy preparing for the ministry… my friend who likewise was just about to serve the Lord and others and was no doubt just as excited…. was killed instantly.
A soon to be pastor to God’s people and it never comes to be. Tell me, who “lost out” here? The flock and countless sheep that he was supposed to shepherd? It was never in God’s plan which always sees to the needs of His people in His perfect way.
Who lost out here? This dear brother in Christ who was given this amazing opportunity to study God’s Word and learn about the Holy Christian Church and is then transferred to the Church Triumphant and is with His Lord enjoying all of the beauty, the splendor, the peace and indescribable joy of heaven? Do you think he is complaining… moping around in paradise… wishing that he was still back here on earth? Not a chance!
How many of us are saying… “Give me just a little while longer to enjoy myself here on earth… a little longer to enjoy my new toy, my teenage years, my car, my career, my home, my wife, my husband, my children… or this or that which we have worked so hard to attain… obtain.”
And what this all goes to show is just how Satan has so successfully tricked us… how he has blinded us… all of us… to the truth… how he has so craftily convinced us that if Christ comes again sooner than later or if we or a loved one are suddenly taken to be with Jesus… that we will really miss something… we will really lose out on something.
The truth is… the reality of it all is in Christ Jesus and what He accomplished on the cross… is that there is for us and all who believe in Him, no losing out… no getting cheated. There is only winning… gaining… obtaining.
How does that work? This is where our Lord looks into our eyes and says, “Trust in me. Trust in my love for you. In me, all is well through what I have accomplished for you. All will be well for I come quickly to take you and all the faithful out of this veil of tears to myself in heaven.”
We read in our text, “The Spirit and the bride say, `Come!’ And let him who hears say, `Come!’ The Spirit is in reference to the Holy Spirit and the bride is the Church… the Holy Christian Church who says to the long-awaited Bridegroom… to our Savior, Jesus… “Come!”
And then all the faithful respond in the Spirit, pleading our Lord to, “Come.”
You see, my friends, only by the power of the Holy Spirit… only through the wisdom which “cometh down from above”… can we realize and so earnestly desire… want… crave… long for… groan for… Jesus Christ to come. For Him to come quickly… to come soon… to take us to paradise.
It is the Holy Spirit that helps us realize as the hymn so aptly puts it that we are but strangers here… heaven is our home. That heaven is the place we belong and long for… and it is Jesus who we wish to be with now and throughout eternity.
Our text ends with Jesus saying, “Surely, I am coming soon.” To this good news, may our response most assuredly… always… and confidently be… the same as that which was given by St. John. He said, “Amen, come Lord Jesus.”
Come and put an end to the madness and all of the sadness… come and put an end to the crying and the dying… come and take us home! Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
.. And now may the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus unto our Lord comes again to take us home. Amen.
“Come Lord Jesus” 6/2/19 The Rev. Mark H Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL.