Have you ever been reading a book and been tempted to peek at the last chapter to see how it will end? Probably most of us have. God in His grace lets us not only peek at the End of the Story, but proclaims clearly to us what will happen: Jesus will return as Lord and Savior, and take all who are trusting in Him to be with Himself forever. What a blessing to know how it will all end! Let us follow Jesus into eternity!
The Readings for today point us to the Lordship of God over all. Let us take comfort in the fact that nothing in all of creation is greater than He is, and that in Jesus we see His love and redemption of us.
In the First Reading, Ezekiel 34:11-16, 20-24, we see that the religious leaders of Ezekiel’s day were not tending to God’s people as they should, so the Lord Himself will intervene and come to the rescue of His people. Notice all the occurrences of the pronoun, “I”, in this passage. Notice that God is speaking, and notice all that He does for His people. Let us take comfort in all God does for us through Jesus.
Faithful Lord, we thank and praise You that You are the Good Shepherd Who tends to Your flock. Keep us looking to You and trusting in Your faithfulness to fulfill Your promises. Amen.
Today’s Psalm, 95:1-7a, is a wonderful psalm of praise. Notice that the psalm begins and ends with praise, and is filled with the reasons to praise the Lord. Let us take time to consider all of God’s blessings to us, especially in Jesus, and let us join our voices with all who give thanks and praise to God.
Holy Lord, to You we sing, to You we give thanks, to You we give praise! Amen
Today’s Second Reading is recorded in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28. One of the most powerful assertions in the book of 1 Corinthians is the clear proclamation of the resurrection to eternal life through Jesus Christ. As you read this passage, take heart that death is not the end; in Christ even death has been defeated. By His grace given in Baptism this victory is ours. Walk in faith, trusting the Lord to give us eternal life in His presence.
Lord Jesus, we thank and praise You that You are risen, never to die again! We thank and praise You that You will raise us up to be with You forever. We thank and praise You that You have defeated death itself. Keep us safe in Your victory. Amen.
Today’s Gospel is the Great Judgment in the Gospel of Matthew, 25:31-46. All people will be separated to Jesus’ right or left. Those on His right will receive the kingdom of God. Notice that they are commended for their acts of charity on behalf of others. They don’t even realize what they have done. How can this be? They are so caught-up in following Jesus, in being His disciples, that they just naturally do those acts of kindness we are called to do. Their eyes are fixed on Jesus and so they naturally follow what He does.
The ones on Jesus’ left are turned away. They have focused on themselves and so think they are put right with Jesus by their acts and not by faith. They are caught up in keeping the Law and not walking in faith; they are caught up in what they do, and think what they do should be enough to save them. Jesus saves by grace through faith. Let us walk as His disciples.
Jesus, we are awed as we read about Your coming in glory! What an awesome sight we will see! By Your grace, keep us as Your sheep who inherit the kingdom prepared by the Father. By Your Holy Spirit, keep our eyes fixed on You. By Your mercy bring more and more people into Your kingdom where we follow You, just as sheep follow their shepherd. Amen.