CHRIST IS COMING FOR HIS BRIDEWe are so attached to the things of this world, that the promise of the prophet Isaiah that the former things of this world shall not be remembered may not at first offer comfort. Yet, for the Christian whose hope is in Christ, we long to be rid of the corruption of sin and the devil's temptations that so often entangle us. These are the “former things” that shall not be remembered. In addition, the prophet paints the picture that the new heavens and the new earth will be a life that is lived entirely from the love of God in Christ. Today’s Epistle teaches us that “Waking” and “sleeping” are synonyms for “faith” and “mistrust.” To be “awake” and “watchful” for the Lord's coming, is to live in eager anticipation of the consummation of our salvation through the hearing of His Word, the receiving of the Sacrament, contrition and repentance, and the life of prayer. To be asleep is to turn away from these things to find one’s comfort and happiness in what is passing away. Faith in Christ alone makes one wise to salvation. Foolish is the one who casts aside the Gospel of Christ. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins is a parable about faith and unbelief. To believe in Christ is to love Him and long for His coming again in glory, like a faithful bride and her bridesmaids who await the coming of the Bridegroom. Those who do not believe in Christ have no particular yearning or anticipation for the Bridegroom’s coming. We, the faithful, go to the Sacrament each week, confessing our sins that we might “learn to believe that no creature could make satisfaction for our sins…so we may find joy and comfort in Christ alone, and through faith in Him be saved.” (Small Catechism) To “watch, [that is] pray” is to cry out to our Bridegroom, as His faithful bride, according to the loving promises of His Gospel and the gracious Words of His testament: “take eat, this is My body…drink of it all of you, this is My blood.”
Daily Lectionary For November 21–27, 2010November 21 Daniel 2:1-23; Revelation 18:1-24
November 22 Daniel 2:24-49; Revelation 19:1-21
November 23 Daniel 3:1-30; Revelation 20:1-15
November 24 Daniel 4:1-37; Revelation 21:1-8
November 25 Daniel 5:1-30; Revelation 21:9-27; Daniel 7:1-8:27
November 26 Daniel 6:1-28; Revelation 22:1-21; Daniel 9:1-27
November 27 Isaiah 1:1-28; 1 Peter 1:1-12
Looking Ahead to Next Sunday: AD TE LEVAVI—THE FIRST SUNDAY IN ADVENT
The new church year begins by focusing on the humble coming of our Lord. “Behold, your King is coming to you, lowly, and sitting on a donkey.” Even as He was born in a lowly manger, so Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a beast of burden. For He bears the sin of the world. He is the Son of David riding to His enthronement on the cross, where He shows Himself to be “The Lord, our Righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:5–8). Our Lord still comes in great humility to deliver His righteousness to us in the Word and Sacraments. Before receiving Christ’s body and blood, we also sing, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” (Matthew 21:1–9) And as we receive the Sacrament, we set our hearts on His return in glory, for “Our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11–14).
Collect for Beginning of the Church Year: Eternal Lord God, our Father, who by Your grace have this day permitted us to enter a new church year, we implore You to pour upon Your church Your Holy Spirit and the wisdom that comes down from above, that Your Word, as becomes it, may not be bound, but have free course and be preached to the joy and upbuilding of Christ’s holy people, that in steadfast faith we may serve You and in the confession of Your name abide unto the end; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Old Testament: Jeremiah 23:5–8 [The Lord Our Righteousness]
Epistle: Romans 13:(8–10) 11–14 [Our salvation is nearer now]
Holy Gospel: Matthew 21:1–9 [Behold, your King is coming to you]