Pentecost 26 Thursday
“Yet when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
Christ teaches us rightly in these words that we should rather be glad and rejoice when we see that the Last Day is near. This he says to instruct those who are afraid because of timidity, even though they are pious otherwise, when he says that they should look up and lift up their heads, meaning that they should not let their heads hang out of fear and sadness. In Matthew 24:6, he says accordingly, “You will hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that you do not be alarmed.” At the end of the world, when all sins will have gained the upper hand and “love will have grown cold,” Matthew 24:12, it will be very dangerous to live among people. And this confusion of sins will be followed by the worse confusion of punishment
and evil, war, hunger, plague, and subversion of all things. Friend, who would not wish an end of this evil? This is why Christ comforts those who are his, who would live at that time, that is, he comforts those who pray for the redemption from sin and all evil and promises them that their redemption is near. It will then take place marvelously that when other people perish for fear, Christ’s people live in hope and joy, desiring what everybody else fears and is afraid of–just as they related to sin and piety: while everybody else clung to sin and loved it, they hated sin. Here you can see that there are only few people who pray the Lord’s Prayer rightly and desire that God’s kingdom should come and that they be redeemed from all evil, since there are so many who do not want the Last Day to come ever. Meanwhile these do not see this condemned and godless fear, that is, the great beam in their eyes, and do much good, so they think, by which they want to free themselves from sin, although they render themselves more and more unfit for the Last Day by their doing. Now, if you cannot overcome this fear of the Last Day in your heart so that you cannot wish that the Last Day should come, then wish that you might be able to wish it to come; pray that you might be able to pray; desire that you might be able to desire. And do not despair, but be sad that you are so weak that you are afraid of your redemption. And do not
doubt that God will hear you, as he has promised you, Luke 11:10: “He who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it will be opened.” Take comfort that there are others who wish this as well and who ask for you. Be certain that this fear must be eradicated in you; otherwise you must be condemned forever. For it is a sin against the Holy Spirit that resists against grace and your redemption and that defends sin which it does not want to be eradicated.