Order of Service Printed in Today’s Bulletin
The soldiers stripped [Jesus] and put a scarlet robe on him, and then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on his head. … After they had mocked him, they took off the robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. – Matthew 27:28,31
Who is Jesus? The first Sunday of the Church year (December 3) Jesus rides into Jerusalem as a King only to die on a cross on Good Friday. He is my humble King who freely submitted to the scorn of the soldiers who surrounded him. Christ is the King of kings and Master of all creation. Yet he emptied himself of his heavenly glory and power as he faced the ridicule of the Roman soldiers. Although he committed no crime, he bore the cruelty of a criminal and wore a thorny crown unbefitting his holy brow. My King willingly suffered for me.
In absolute humility, King Jesus willingly walked to the cross, bearing a greater pain than the pounding of the nails that pierced his blameless body. The Sinless One bore the guilt and shame of all my sins. Jesus is the perfect substitute who fully satisfied the just wrath of God as the guiltless God-man. His sacrifice paid the full price to win my forgiveness! My King selflessly died for me.
Jesus is also my heavenly King, who now wears a crown of glory. He arose triumphantly from the grave. His glorious resurrection assures me that all the work of my salvation is complete. After the mockery that led to his death came the victory that brings life to all people. I am ever-confident that Christ the King will return on the last day and raise me from the dead. Then I will rejoice as he brings me to his everlasting heavenly kingdom. My King will mercifully come for me!
Until the day of his triumphant return, my Savior-King lovingly calls me through the gospel to be devoted to his service. He strengthens me to bear the crosses I endure in this life. Why would I not long to serve him each day with the life he has freely won for me? For Christ compels me with a gracious promise—he offers me a glorious crown too! He said, “Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). My King surely cares for me!
Prayer: Jesus, my Savior-King, when you suffered and died, you did it all for me. By your death I now have life and forgiveness. Strengthen me each day to be faithful to you as I await your triumphant return. Amen.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. … Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” – Matthew 25:1-2,13
Ten virgins wait for the bridegroom to arrive. Five are wise and bring oil for their lamps and five are foolish and have no oil. When the bridegroom finally arrives, the wise ones are ready to meet him with brightly burning lamps. The foolish ones, however, scramble to find oil and get shut out from the wedding banquet.
Jesus uses this parable to teach about his return on the Last Day. Jesus is the Bridegroom. You are waiting for him to arrive, and he tells you to keep watch. So how do you do that? Look for him to check in on Facebook or post on Instagram? Buy a telescope and study the sky nonstop? No. When Jesus tells you to keep watch, he’s not telling you to stare up into the sky. “Keep watch” is another way of saying, “Be ready.” Just as the wise virgins had to be ready at all times, you also must be ready since you do not know when Jesus will return.
But who hasn’t lived like a fool? Hearing God’s Word one day and then living your own way the next. Hating the same people, giving in to the same sins, finding more ways to please yourself instead of new ways to serve others—all while forgetting Jesus’ pending arrival.
So Jesus speaks this parable to remind you that you need to be ready. Where does that readiness come from? Your readiness comes from God!
On the tree of the cross, God the Son was crushed for your iniquities and paid for your sins. At your baptism, God the Spirit readied you by writing God’s name on you and adopting you into his family. In his holy Word, God the Father constantly calls you to repentance and prepares you to enter the heavenly banquet.
When Jesus returns on the Last Day, you will be ready because of him and what he has given you. So keep watch! Light your lamp and live in Christ.
Prayer: Lord, keep me ready for your arrival on the Last Day. Come quickly, Lord Jesus! Amen.