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God’s Word for You

Luke 21:27-28 your redemption is drawing near

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

27 At that time they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory.  28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

“They” in this case is everyone; all people in the whole world, and in the whole history of the world. The graves will begin to fly open, and the churning, frightful seas will give up their dead (Revelation 20:13). (Is the resuscitation of the sea’s dead perhaps the cause of the noise and clamor of the sea in verse 25?) All mankind will witness the return of Jesus Christ. “Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him” (Revelation 1:7). How will everyone on earth be able to see the Lord come down from heaven? We will be occupying every spot around the globe, and he will be descending, we presume, to one place, perhaps the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4, although the prophet does not say that Christ will stand “only” on the Mount of Olives). Just as Christ is present everywhere at all times now in his omnipresence (“him who fills everything in every way,” Ephesians 1:23), so too he can arrange to be seen by all people at the same time. Surely if he is making everything new (Revelation 21:5) he makes the laws of the nature of the hereafter, which are different than the laws of the here and now.

Jesus commands us: “Stand up and lift up your heads!” These words remind us of the great Advent hymn of the Old Testament:

  “Lift up your heads, O you gates;
  be lifted up, you ancient doors,
  that the King of glory may come in.
  Who is this King of glory?
  The LORD strong and mighty,
  the LORD mighty in battle.” (Psalm 24:7-8)

During Jesus’ first coming, the gates of the old Jerusalem were commanded to look up and lift up their heads. Now Jesus says that at his second coming, the people of the new Jerusalem, that is the whole Christian Church, are also commanded to look up and lift up their heads. The Lord’s words remind us that his coming will take place when people are not expecting him. Some will be lying down, sleeping: “On that night, two people will be in one bed; one will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:34). Other people will be working at their jobs: “Two women will be grinding together; one will be taken and the other left” (Luke 17:35), or: “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left” (Matthew 24:40). Jesus will come when no one expects him, but he will certainly come.

More than this, most of the people who have ever lived will be dead. Yet they are also commanded: “Stand up and lift up your heads!” This is the call to rise from the dead, when “the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). The graves will be opened, and all those who have ever died will stand, living, on the earth to be judged by Christ. It will not matter how they died or how they were buried. The buried will rise, the drowned will emerge, those devoured, whether by flames or something else, will reappear, remade by God even as fire itself is unmade. Ashes and dust will spin together in a little whirlwind of reanimation and the bodies of all mankind will be reunited with their souls—our souls—to listen for what will come while the world is consumed. “The voice of the LORD strikes with flashes of lightning. The voice of the LORD shakes the desert; the LORD shakes the Desert of Kadesh. The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, “Glory!” The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD is enthroned as King forever.” (Psalm 29:7-10)

Our redemption will be drawing near, but our redemption has already been assured. We have been bought back from our slavery to sin and death, and by the love and kindness of God we have been made his children, the children of the resurrection, who will live with him for all eternity.

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim SmithAbout Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. His wife, Kathryn, attended the Chapel from 1987-1990 while studying Secondary Education (Theater and Math) at UW-Madison. Kathryn’s father, John Meyer, was also the first man to serve as a Vicar at Chapel.

To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please contact Pastor Smith.



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