Twenty-Sixth Sunday After Trinity + Daniel 7:9-14; Matthew 25:31-46
During these Last Day, it is our constant prayer, that we would be mindful of Jesus’ coming, when He will come to judge the living and the dead. Jesus is coming to judge the quick and the dead. We are to watch and pray, that we would be prepared and not fall into temptation. This is why you, the members of Immanuel and Trinity desire to have a pastor and take care of him. This is why you have built and maintain this church building, that through preaching and teaching the Word of God in all of its truth and purity, and the Sacraments rightly administered, you would be ever mindful of who Jesus is, what He does for you and what He demands of you and expects of you. It is your constant prayer that you and your children for generations to come, would dwell with Jesus hereafter, at the right hand of God the Father, in heaven.
At Jesus’ coming, all people will give an account concerning their own deeds. You and I will be judged by what we believe and confess concerning Jesus Christ. Like Saint Peter, we must believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. You and I will be judged by how we have lived our lives, what we have done and not done. It is our constant prayer that the name of God would be kept holy among us, that we would live holy lives according to the Word of God. It is our constant prayer that the kingdom of God would come to us, that we would believe the Word of God and live according to it. It is our constant prayer that the will of God would be done among us, that we would grow in faith toward God and love toward our neighbor. We do not sin against conscience. We do not sin against the Holy Spirit. We do not live the way we want but the way God desires for us to live. We desire to live according to the Ten Commandments, and the teachings He has taught us. It is for our good.
At Jesus’ coming, all people will give an account concerning their own deeds. Those who have done good will enter into eternal life, and those who have done evil will enter into eternal fire. Ever mindful of this truth, you and I are stirred up to holiness of living, living before God in righteousness and purity all the days of our life, that we would dwell in the house of the Lord forever. We live a holy life, the life given to us as a gift in our baptism, not because we earn heaven by it, because we don’t, but out of love and faithfulness toward God. In thanksgiving to God, for what He has done for us, we live the holy life, desiring to give God alone all glory. We have been baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, He has taught us all things, and it is our desire to live according to His teaching. He is with us always unto the end of the age.
The Prophet Daniel, records for us a vision. He saw the Ancient of Days, He saw God the Father, taking His seat on His throne. He is seated in judgment, just as He promised. His clothing and the hair of His head is pure white, the color of purity and righteousness and holiness. He is the God who made heaven and earth. He makes all things very good. He demands perfection and holiness of living. He demands faithfulness. He fills heaven and earth with His presence. His throne is fiery flames, pointing to both judgment and the purifying of faith, the work of the Holy Spirit among in us; just as the Holy Spirit came in tongues of fire at Pentecost. Daniel says that a thousand thousands serve Him, ten thousand time ten thousand stand before Him. The court sat in judgment with Him and the books were opened: the Book of Judgment – filled with the names of those who have rejected God and doubt His promises, and also the Book of Life – filled with the names of those who believe and are baptized, all those who fear, love and trust in God above all things, those who call upon the name of the Lord in every trouble, in prayer, praise and the giving of thanks, all those who hold the Word of God sacred, gladly hearing it and learning it.
Saint Matthew records for us Jesus’ parable about judgement. In His parable, Jesus is the King of glory, who gathers all nations unto Himself, and He will separate the people, those who believe in Him as the one who is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, and those who do not. Jesus will say to those on His right, “Come, you who are blessed by My Father, inherit the kingdom of prepared for you from the foundation of the world”. And to those on His left He will say, “Depart from Me, you cursed into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” In His parable, Jesus is also the Shepherd who separates the sheep from the goats. Those who listen to His voice and follow Him and those who do not. The Good Shepherd says to His sheep, “Lay down in the green pastures I have prepared for you. I restore your soul. My rod and my staff comfort you. My goodness and mercy are with you always and you will dwell in My house forever.”
Jesus, the Son of God, came down from heaven and became man, born of the Virgin Mary. Jesus humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, dying on a cross. God the Father has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That is why you desire to have a pastor and take care of him, that in his teaching and preaching the Word of God in all of its truth and purity, you and your neighbor would know that Jesus is the only Way to heaven, that Jesus is the Truth who shall set you free, that Jesus is the Life, no longer are you dead you are alive, looking forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. That is why you have built this house of God, this place where the glory of God dwells, and eagerly gather in it. Here you desire to baptize your children and grandchildren and all nations, that faith may be created and the kingdom extended. Here you come, with your neighbor, to hear the forgiveness of sins spoken to you, that together you would have a clean heart and a right spirit. Here you gather, with your neighbor, in Jesus presence and eat and drink His body and blood. Together, you proclaim the Lord’s death and resurrection until He comes again. Here the peace of God dwells among you. Here the love of God and neighbor is built up and encouraged. Here you are gathered, having been called by the Gospel, enlightened with His gifts, sanctified and kept with Jesus in the true faith.
Here, and only here, Jesus says to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” It is here that the hungry are fed, here the thirsty are given a drink, here the strangers are welcomed, here the naked are clothed, here the sick are healed and those in prison are set free. Amen.