Trinity 27 – Last Sunday in Church Year + Matthew 25:1-13
I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.
Jesus says, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn “‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves their father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves their son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it.”
Jesus, the King of kings and Lord of lords, sits on His glorious throne and judges the nations, separating the people, one from another. Jesus comes to punish those who do not believe and are not baptized; those who do not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Jesus, the Good Shepherd, divides the sheep from the goats, the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. The sheep are those who listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and follow them. He knows their name and they will be forever with Him. The goats do not fear, love and trust in Him; they do not listen or follow Him.
Jesus, the Groom came, and those who were ready went in with Him into the marriage feast, and the door was shut. The five wise and faithful virgins were prepared, they have oil in their lamps, they were welcomed in as honored guests. The five foolish and unfaithful virgins, they did not have oil in their lamps, they were not prepared, they were kept out of the marriage feast of the Lamb in His kingdom.
“Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.” Those are Jesus’ words. He spoke them to the five foolish virgins. Jesus comes to judge the quick and the dead. Jesus brings division. This is most certainly true. Jesus comes to punish those who do not come and lie down in His green pastures, that He would restore their soul. Jesus comes to judge those who do not hear His Word and keep it, holding it sacred, allowing it to create in them clean hearts and right spirits. Jesus comes to punish those who do not call upon the name of the Lord, those who do not call upon His name in every time of trouble: pray, praise and the giving of thanks. God does not lie. Do not put the Lord, your God to the test.
But don’t worry about the Second Coming, the Last Day, when Jesus will come and judge for the final time. Worry right now, Jesus judgement is taking place right now. The dividing of sheep from goats is taking place right now. The closing of the door on the foolish virgins is taking place right now. “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you”, Jesus is speaking those words right now. Jesus has come and is already here. Jesus is present with us, right now, never leaving us or forsaking us. Jesus will come again.
Jesus says, “The kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins, who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.” We are all one of the ten virgins and Jesus is the Bridegroom. On the day we were baptized, we were prepared for Jesus’ coming, we were dressed in the white garments, the wedding garments. On the day we were baptized with water, Word and Spirit, we were set apart, we became members of God the Father’s kingdom, one of Jesus little lambs. On the day we were baptized, we were judged. On that day, the Old Adam in us, our original sin, was drowned and killed and the new Adam, our new life, arose to live before God in righteousness and purity all our days. On the day we were baptized we were judged and we were forgiven. On the day of our baptism, and every day thereafter, is a day of judgment and forgiveness. In our sin, we are judged guilty, and because of Jesus, we are judged innocent, we are forgiven; no longer are our sins held against us. We have been purchased and won from all sin, from death and from the power of the devil; not with gold or silver, but with the holy precious blood and innocent, bitter suffering and death of Jesus.
On the day we were baptized we heard the voice of the Good Shepherd and we began to follow Him, we were one of His disciples. Through Sunday school and catechism instruction, we were taught everything that He commanded us, and lo, He is with us always unto the end. Our lamp was full. But many of us, too many of us, did not keep our confirmation vows. We have failed to renounce the devil and all his ways. By the grace of God, we have not heard the Word of God, we have not received faithfully and frequently the Lord’s Supper, the Marriage Feast of Lamb which will have no end. Our lamp became empty. By the grace of God, we do not live according to the Word of God, and in faith, word, and deed we have not remained true to God, even unto death. By the grace of God, we have not continued to be called, gathered, enlightened, sanctified and kept with Jesus Christ in the one true faith. By the grace of God, we have not suffered all, even death, rather than fall away from it. God has been faithful to us, we have not been faithful to Him.
We failed to continue to hear the Lord’s Word and receive His blessed body and blood. Our lamps became empty. He who began a good work in us, who desired to bring it to completion at the day of His second coming, must instead say to us, “I do not know you.” Jesus said, “Whoever confesses Me before men, I will also confess before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny before My Father who is in heaven.”
This is not what Jesus wanted. This is not what Jesus wants to say to us, for He wants to save us; that is why He came down from heaven in the first place. We have not kept our lamps full of the oil of faith, which was given to us as a gift of God. We are not prepared. We have not kept watch. We have not feared falling out of faith. We have not prayed without ceasing. And so, thankfully, we begin again, new today and everyday, watching and praying, looking forward to Jesus the Bridegroom’s coming. We watch and pray, confident that Jesus will make all things new, confident that He will prepare us and keep us prepared, confident that He will fill our lamps and keep them filled, confident that He will come again to take us to be where He is in heaven. God is faithful, He will do it. Amen.