The Final Lesson: We are priestly companions of Jesus the King!
Companions of the Cross
The Final Lesson:
Priestly Companions of the King
† IHS †
May you know the grace and peace that is yours, the gift of the One who is, Who always was, and who is still to come!
The Vision/the Mission
While both the Old Testament and Epistle reading today are about the end of time, about looking toward the end of time, the gospel takes us back to thirty weeks ago, to the remembrance of what happens the morning of Jesus’ crucifixion, It covers one of the events we remember during Holy Week.
The gospel covers the trial of Jesus, the moments before he is sentenced by mankind to die. The moment that God our Father planned for, that Jesus was committed to before the foundations of the world were laid.
The trial, the cross, the critical moment in all of time, as eternity hung in the balance.
Your eternity, my eternity.
We need to look back, in order to see why Daniel and the Revelation of John can talk so positively of the of the end. Hearing that Christ has been the King, even at the cross, we understand our future, and can walk confidently in the present.
For we walk with a king, and we are His companions. The very King of King and Lord of Lords who makes us a Kingdom of priests, ready to serve God our Father. Ready to serve alongside Jesus.
Let me rephrase that, He makes us into the priests of His Kingdom.
That was His vision, His mission, and it is what He has accomplished on the cross, even as Pilate was condemning Jesus, enabling Him to shed His blood for us.
The Ordeal of Hope
When we are involved in planning something, there is a hope that everything will work out well. It doesn’t matter if the planning and preparation are for a game, or for an event like the women’s advent tea.
Hope can sometimes be an ordeal as our minds consider all the things that could destroy our hope. For instance, for a football team, we could focus on a critical injury or just an accumulation of them. For an event like the Advent Tea, it could be that the speaker cancels out at the last moment. It could even be the week between finishing a course, and getting the grades! Our minds can spin wildly out of control, conceiving of all the things that could go wrong. It is no different for our lives, and for our eternity. When we think of hope, it can be an ordeal as we wonder what will happen to mess up that which we hoped for so eagerly.
Which is why I think the readings work together so well today. They lay out a pattern that assures us that our hope is not in vain, that there is nothing that can change what we hope for, what our trust in God leads us to expect. If we didn’t have that assurance, the first verses in Daniel would be terrifying; hear them again.
I watched as thrones were put in place and the Ancient One sat down to judge.His clothing was as white as snow, his hair like purest wool. He sat on a fiery throne with wheels of blazing fire, 10 and a river of fire was pouring out, flowing from his presence. Millions of angels ministered to him; many millions stood to attend him. Then the court began its session, and the books were opened.
If we feel anxiety watching a football game, or waiting for the guests to arrive, of the report card to show, what kind of anxiety would we experience, knowing we had to stand before all of the missions of angels, and all of humanity, as God opened the story of our life and began to look at the details, examining our actions, our thoughts, our words?
We could try to dismiss the guilt and shame, but it still would haunt us. We could try to rationalize it, we could argue that it isn’t fair for God to give us desires that cannot be eased without sin.
Before the throne, before a God that not only knows our thoughts but the hearts where those thoughts originate, such attempts at self-preservation do not matter. If we are to have hope that Jesus is our salvation, that we will live in His Kingdom that has no end, we have to be serious about the fact we needed to be saved.
We sin. Thoughts, words, deeds.
As we will say in Advent, it is our fault, we need to grieve over that fault, we need to seriously grieve over that sin.
If we are to know the grace and peace of God, we have to realize how radically different it is to know God’s grace and peace, compared to the brokeness of our lives.
Realizing the love of God
For then, understanding the depth of our despair, we find ourselves blown away by this word grace, by the peace that is ours when we should be weighed down by guilt and despair. We begin to understand how incredible these words written by the Apostle John are,
All glory to him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding his blood for us. 6 He has made us a Kingdom of priests for God his Father. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.
It’s not just that Jesus has freed us from sin, and Satan, that He’s robbed death of the anxiety it can cause, that guilt and shame are wiped away. It is that He’s made us like Him, He’s made us priests who serve the Father, He’s made us holy enough to be the very attendants of God the Father.
All of us, from the smallest to the largest, youngest to the oldest, we have been made companions of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
No wonder all of creation will bow before Him! No wonder we will shout about the glory of God He has revealed to us.
He loves us!
He freed us from our sin, by shedding HIS BLOOD for us.
He has made us priest, …..
ALL GLORY TO HIM FOREVER AND EVER! AMEN!!!