“The Bridegroom Is Coming!”
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Nature reminds us to expect endings, whether it’s falling leaves, shortened days, or the approach of snow. As we consider the end of the year and the end of all things, faith is vital. St. Paul tells us in Romans, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” With that in mind, what do you hear? Listen to the promises of God as you look forward to a new heaven and a new earth. Listen to the watchman’s cry. “Awake, Jerusalem! Arise!”
God is calling to you today. He is calling you to cast off the works of darkness. He is calling you to rejoice in His gifts, to receive Him with thanksgiving, to look forward to His return with great joy and gladness. Jesus is coming soon, and the Last Day is your day of vindication. It is the day when your Baptism into His death truly brings you out of the tomb and into His glorious light.
God did not appoint you to wrath, as St. Paul reminds us. More than anything else in the whole world, God wants you to join Him in the eternal courts of heaven. He wants you to be with Him forever. God wants all of your sorrows gone. He wants all of your sickness, all of your heartache, all of your aches and pains of body, mind, and soul to be gone forever.
Of course, we are not given to see what great plans God has for us. But God in His infinite kindness, gentleness, and patience, comes into our world to remake what we have messed up so royally. You are Christ’s chosen one, His Bride; He will not let you go. He has taken your despair into Himself. He has emptied the cup of God’s wrath for you. And because He swallowed that bitter wine, your cup of blessing knows no end.
But God’s work is not finished even yet! He bought your life back for you by His blood, and now His great plan of heaven for you comes to you by His Word and Spirit. The invitation goes out to one and all: Come to the feast! Like the bridegroom who comes to meet His bride, we do not know the day or the hour of His returning. But imagine what a day it will be. Every wrong will be made right. Every sin will be eternally forgiven. Your hope for the future is all there in His life and blood.
On the Last Day, Christ will gather His sheep to Himself. God said through the prophet Isaiah: “For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I create; For behold, I create Jerusalem as a rejoicing, And her people a joy. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, And joy in My people; The voice of weeping shall no longer be heard in her, Nor the voice of crying.” On the Last Day, when Jesus returns in glory, things will be so new and wonderful that we won’t remember the sin and sorrow. All that we suffer because of sin will be gone forever.
We know this by the Spirit of God, who tells this to us in His Holy Word. The wise virgins knew that the most important thing to have in their dark night of waiting was the oil of faith. They looked back at all God had done for His people. He brought them out of the slavery in Egypt. He led them by the pillar of cloud and the pillar of fire. He brought them into the Promised Land. He brought them back from captivity in Babylon. The Savior who did all these things will also bring you to the eternal Promised Land.
But while we are on this side of eternity, we look forward with all the saints to the new heaven and the new earth. Of course, the Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus Himself, gives us a taste of the eternal wedding Banquet at His Table this day. We feast here with Moses, Elijah, Mary, the Apostles, and all the saints who have gone before us, united in our Lord’s body and blood. Baptized and redeemed, you are invited, welcomed, and seated at the Table.
God’s mercy is for you, and until you are permanently joined with all of Christ’s Church in eternity, rejoice and look forward to that great Day. Do not let these gray and latter days weigh you down. Your life is one of praise, for His life is in you even now. Look up! Behold! Your Bridegroom, your King, is coming! Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly! In the name of the Father and of the Son (†) and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
The peace of God which passes all understanding will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus always. Amen.