“Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” – Luke 21:27
The opening words of the Gospel lesson a few weeks ago reads like the daily news: “And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth distress of nations in perplexity because of the roaring of the sea and the waves, people fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the world. For the powers of the heavens will be shaken.” (Luke 21:25-26) Sounds ominous – and frightening.
It’s all the buzz. Hollywood has done their share to stir up interest and anxiety. The news media have done their share too. With the approach of December 21, not to mention the multiple failed prophecies of Harold Camping and the other false-prophets who have predicted the end of the world, the general unrest in the world and our own lives, it’s easy to get caught up in the “end of the world” mania that seems rampant. Even NASA scientists have taken time out to reassure frightened children and suicidal teens that there are no immanent threats from asteroids, planet sized bodies ready to collide with our planet, or other astronomical phenomena.
But as Christians, we have no need to fear these things even if they were real. What is important for us is that we recognize that every day since the ascension of Jesus is “the end times.” He is coming soon. But the Bible doesn’t tell us to run and hide in fear. While it is the righteous judge that shall come on the clouds with power and glory, this is not something for the Christian to fear because the righteous judge is the very Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
Once He came in blessing,
All our ills redressing,
Came in likeness lowly,
Son of God most Holy.
Bore the cross to save us,
Hope and Freedom gave us. (LSB 333)
Because of Jesus, the guilt of our sin has been removed and we can raise our heads and look forward to the day of His coming. That day means that all our sin will finally be put away from us.