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God’s Word for You

Luke 21:34-36 it will come like a trap

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Monday, March 11, 2019

34 “Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with hangovers and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day may catch you unexpectedly. 35 For it will come like a trap upon all who live on the face of the whole earth.  36 Be alert at all times. Pray that you may be able to escape all these things that are about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”

A word that seems to baffle some translators is kraipálē (κραιπάλῃ), which means the dizziness and nausea that follows too much drinking. While “dissipation” (NIV ’84, NASB) is a polite term, it isn’t very descriptive. Some commentators think Luke is using a specific medical term here, and while I’m all for letting Luke’s medical language come to the surface, this is just the Greek word for a hangover.

Jesus compares “the worries of this life” with being drunk or hungover: you aren’t yourself, your mind is occupied with useless things, and you need healing to get over it. What distracts you these days? What are your worries? Put them in God’s hands and live your life to serve him.

The connection between drunkenness and hangovers is that they are self-inflicted. No one needs to be weighed down by those things; they bring them on themselves, like Noah getting drunk in his tent (Genesis 9:21) or Nabal getting “very drunk” at a banquet fit for a king (after he had refused to give David even a crust of bread, 1 Samuel 25:36). So it is with the worries of this life. Shouldn’t we trust that God will protect us and the people we love? If we are not foolish with the gifts he gives, he will give us everything that we need, and in most cases, God even blesses us with more than we need, more than enough for us to return his blessings to him through the church so that we can take part in the work of his kingdom.

He wants us to be alert. This is where our faith springs into action and participates, no longer merely the passive recipient of God’s gifts, but now acting and responding in thanks. The faith of the Christian cooperates with the Holy Spirit, the divine resident of the flesh of the believer (John 14:17; Romans 8:9-11; 1 Corinthians 3:16; Ephesians 2:22; 2 Timothy 1:14). The Holy Spirit empowers the Christian to be able to refuse temptations. We use the example of Jesus during his temptations and use the Word of God as both shield and weapon, and the Spirit gives us the ability to turn away from temptation and to turn to Jesus whenever the gospel calls. There is no sin so small that God does not notice or condemn it. There is no sinner so hidden that God does not notice or condemn his sins. At the same time, as one churchman said, “There is no sin so great but a great saint may fall into it; there is no saint so great but he may fall into a great sin” (J. C. Ryle, 1858). So when we stumble into sin and temptation, God invites us to pray, “Forgive me my trespasses.” God has already forgiven me through the Gospel, but he wants me to pray for forgiveness so that I will recognize and accept his forgiveness, and not fall into despair that there is no way of obtaining forgiveness. The Holy Spirit guides and strengthens my faith through the sacrament of the Lord’ Supper as well, so that every time I take it I receive forgiveness and my faith is also strengthened. Therefore when my faith is weak, I should run back to the altar for the Lord’s Supper, because it is the outward vessel of the Holy Spirit to give me forgiveness once again, in such a way that I notice it, and am comforted.

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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