Home > Uncategorized > Message for Wednesday night in Easter 5

Message for Wednesday night in Easter 5

I’m especially indebted to Rev. Scott Murray’s devotion on this text in A Year with the Church Fathers, published by CPH.  I took his devotion as an outline and built up from there.

Luke 12:35-53



It’s hard to not make too much out of our first parent’s fall in the garden.  Only when we begin to ancient-oil-lamp-2see how everything became different, twisted from God’s original intent and the perfect goodness with which He created them and the cosmos in which they dwelt, do we then have some inkling as to what makes Easter and even more momentous historical event.

It was a kind of spiritual anesthesia that the serpent administered to Eve and Adam in the Garden.  The effects of which lingered until Jesus wakened us from our slumber and made us once again watchful.  Now that He has come and awakened us and yet also left to return to the right hand of the Father, we await His return.  I remember as a child waiting with anticipation the arrival of a family guest, my grandparents or sometimes better, a friend of my parents who was bringing with them their children, other kids for my brothers and I to play with.  We would sit on the porch and wait and wait.  We had already done all the straightening up so we were just waiting.  So we made sure we were playing the front year but always with an eye on the corner to watch for an approaching car.  Nothing could cure us from the expectation of their immanent arrival except their arrival itself.

We typically hear Matthew’s version of this reading at the end of the Church Year.  There it’s not servants waiting for the master to arrive in the might but virgins waiting on the coming bridegroom.  But the effect is similar.  Be ready.  Be watchful.  Don’t put your pjs on and get ready to go to bed, stay dressed for action, be ready to welcome him who will come, who is coming.  The risen Lord has promised His return.  But I wonder how we hear this.  Do we hear this as a good thing or a thing that makes us a little anxious?

One of the great benefits of living in the buckle of the Bible belt is that our neighbors are also looking for the Lord to come back.  But at least when I hear it, that teaching seems to be more of a validation and a justification for their sometimes severe views and attitudes towards others, especially unbelievers.  “The Lord is coming back, you’d better straighten up.”  Larry, a cut out man in the shop I worked in during the summers through college and seminary, had a sign on his bulletin board over his table saw.  “The Lord is coming back and boy is He ever upset.”  I don’t see that kind of attitude in in our reading tonight.  Jesus is not coming back as a threat.  His return is supposed to be pure joy for us.  In the language of the text tonight, there is no accounting of the servants’ labors and faithfulness, no judgment of the duties of the servants done in the master’s absence, no fear of being unemployed should he return and find the servants asleep, just the joyful anticipation of the master returning because when He comes back, Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants!”  They’ll be blessed because they’ll be served.

John reveals to us toward the end of his apocalypse,

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”  That sounds like something I want to be awake to see.

My wife and I will occasionally watch a movie together and even if it’s a movie she likes, she tends to fall asleep.  Back when I was often deployed, I came home having seen a bunch of movies she had not and we’d watch them together and sometimes, I knew a good part was coming and I’d look over and see the eyelids start to get heavy and nudge her and say, “There’s a good part coming up, you don’t want to fall asleep now!”

This is the tone, of Jesus’ words to the disciples tonight.  “Be ready, you don’t want to miss out on this.”  We don’t want to be overcome by the demands of our lives, our work, our struggles, even the good things in life, that we slip back into the spiritual anesthesia from which He has awakened us in His coming.

The baptism with which He was baptized was His cross and by it He has straightened up, made everything right between us and the Father.  Truth is often times when my grandparents came, they’d have little gifts for us.  And my brothers and I were as excited about that possibility.  Jesus says He will dwell with us and care for us and even invite us to His table and serve us.  That sounds like a Guest worth waiting for, staying awake for.

Often times, our guests had not arrived by nightfall and so we went inside but we always left the porch light on for them.  The same was true two thousand years ago and so Jesus instruction to be ready, to keep your lamps lit and burning to welcome Him who promised He will return, who promised He is coming.

Easter is the proof that all has been made right and we can look forward to meeting the Lord face to face when He comes.  He’s coming back because He was raised and so shall we be too into the eternal company of our Lord.

I want us to hear this tonight, less as an exhortation to straighten up and more as a nudge in the arm to stay awake or you’ll miss this good bit that’s coming up—to be looking forward to the eternal company of our Savior, Jesus.  He return is a good thing for those He came to save.  Truly.  Even so, come, Lord Jesus, come quickly.  Amen.

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