Reflections: The Second-Last Sunday of the Church Year

“And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'” (Matthew 25:37-40)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Jesus tells us that He will come in His glory with an angel host and from His glorious throne he will make a judgment: sheep to the right and goats to the left. The sheep go into the eternal kingdom prepared for them before the foundations of the world. The goats go to an eternal fire. How the verdict is decided is what surprises people. 

The wisdom of the world says that bad people will get what’s coming to them. You know, “karma.” And the good will receive a reward. What shocks the world, and our old sinful selves is that the judgment Jesus will render on the day of His return is not based on what people do but on what they are. So, in the text for this day, it is only after the separation is completed that we hear about their deeds, good or bad. The sheep are called righteous. We know how the Bible speaks of righteousness: It is a gift along with that faith that receives it (Ephesians 2). The goats lack faith and therefore righteousness. 

The Bible says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6), no matter how much good you do. But the faithful receive what has always been theirs since the foundation of the world–the kingdom. They are blessed by the Father. 

And that is your standing before God in Christ. You are declared righteous before God because Jesus served you. He came all the way down into our flesh and took up our sins in His own body on the tree of the Cross. Your life is now hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3). Your life in this world, and the good works you do, matter to those around you: the least and the lowly. And in the doing of those works, you do it to Jesus. Blessed are you by the Father, through the Son and in the Holy Spirit. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O Lord, so rule and govern our hearts and minds by Your Holy Spirit that, ever mindful of the end of all things and the day of Your just judgment, we may be stirred up to holiness of living here and dwell with Your forever hereafter; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, Our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Second-Last Sunday of the Church Year)

Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch