Reflections: The Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year

“For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” (Matthew 24:27)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. How many predictions of the end of the world have you lived through? I’m so old that I remember predictions from the 1970s and a false prophet named Hal Lindsey. Some other old folks will remember the Y2K scare of 1999. Isn’t it funny how every generation can recall any number of false and deceiving prophecies of Jesus’ return? I suppose I shouldn’t describe faith-destroying teaching as “funny” but it is fascinating to see how the wicked one still sows confusion in the Church. That is Satan’s old trick, to get the faithful to doubt the certainty of God’s Word and move off into unsure speculation. Jesus does not leave us scratching our heads about the future or His return. It will happen, according to the time set by God the Father but the exact day and hour will remain unknown to us.

What is knowable for us is that Jesus will return, and the world will not miss that return. “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man” (Matthew 24:27). Christians live in the confidence that Jesus’ word is sure. We can look at the world and its decay and recognize that the return of Jesus is drawing near. The day or the hour we will not know, but in the meantime, we will live by faith. Certainly, the signs of the end are all around us, including false christs and false prophets who seek to turn our attention from the sure promises of Jesus to wild speculations about the end. Don’t listen to them or go after them. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). In faith, wait patiently for His return. You have nothing to fear. You are died for by Jesus and He will keep you firm in the faith until the end. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

O God, our refuge and strength, the author of all godliness, hear the devout prayers of Your Church especially in times of persecution, and grant that what we ask in faith we may obtain; through Jesus Christ, Your son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, on God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for the Third-Last Sunday of the Church Year)