The Promised Judgment Brings Hope for Patient Believers

Sunday, November 13, 2022 —

As we arrive at the 2nd Last Sunday of the Church Year, our readings remind us that the end of the world is drawing ever nearer. When Jesus returns, He will judge the living and the dead. All who ever lived will be gathered before Him, separated into two groups, the sheep and the goats (those who believed in life and those who did not) to hear His divine verdict on their lives.

Our Old Testament Lesson is the final chapter of the Old Testament, the 4th chapter of Malachi written around 400 B.C. These were the last inspired words of God before the “400 years of silence” waiting for Messiah to finally come. It’s not hard for us to put ourselves in the sandals of those Jewish believers, since we New Testament faithful have been patiently waiting for Jesus’ return since the New Testament was completed around 100 A.D. We base our hope on the clear words of God in Scripture. Through Malachi, God said, “Look! The day is coming, burning like a blast furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble. The day that is coming will set them on fire, says the Lord of Armies, a day that will not leave behind a root or branch for them. 2 But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will rise, and there will be healing in its wings. You will go out and jump around like calves from the stall. 3 You will trample the wicked. They will surely be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day when I take action, says the Lord of Armies.”

In the Gospel Lesson Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple as a precursor of the final destruction of the world. When the disciples asked Jesus “when will the end come?” He answered them that first there must be persecution of Christians, the kind that has been happening throughout the New Testament era. But there is hope and encouragement for us believers! “You will be hated by all people for my name’s sake. But not a hair of your head will perish. By patient endurance you will gain your lives.

Our Epistle Lesson is a further encouragement for faithful, patient, persecuted Christians. God is fair and will pay back—He will pay back trouble to those who rejected Him and troubled us, and He will pay back justice to those who were deprived of it here in this world but patiently awaited His return in faith. We will marvel and rejoice when finally “He comes to be glorified among His saints.”

We’ll focus on the Epistle Lesson in our sermon this Sunday: “Divine Justice.”

This Week’s Lessons:

Malachi 4

2 Thessalonians 1:5–10  (sermon text)

Luke 21:5–19

Psalm 98