Remaining Ready for the Last Day

Pentecost 26 Saturday

Luke 21:34-36

“Beware lest your hearts are weighed down by gormandizing and carousing and with the cares for food and the Day come upon you suddenly. For it will come upon all those who dwell on earth like a trap. Thus, always watch and pray that you may become worthy to flee all that is to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Timid hearts are very offended when the Lord says that the Last Day will break in unexpectedly, that the people will suffer the fate of a little bird in the forest: It flies about in the morning; it is hungry and seeks its food, hoping that it will find it as always. It finds its food and lands on the ground, is glad and of good cheer–but suddenly, before it realizes it, it is caught and killed in the trap. The pious and God-fearing people take this to heart, and since they know from their everyday experience how quickly it happens that people fall, they become timid and despondent because of it. For they think: “Who know how this Day will find me? Perhaps it will come at a time when I am unprepared and expect it the least, or when I find myself in this or the other sin, then I am done for and this joyful day turns into an eternal day of
mourning.” The Lord does not want to leave us without comfort here and teaches his Christians how they are to remedy this worry, saying, “Beware lest your hearts are weighed down by gormandizing and carousing and with the cares for food and the Day come upon you suddenly. For it will come upon all those who dwell on earth like a trap. Thus, always watch and pray that you may become worthy to flee all that is to take place and to stand before the Son of Man,” Luke 21:34-36. Now, this is a very noble and necessary teaching which we should never allow to leave our hearts. The Lord does not prohibit eating and drinking…God does not begrudge you food and drink. Also seek your food; for this is why
God has commanded you to work. “But beware lest your hearts are weighed down by all these things so that you forget my return, but be brave, that is, wait at all times and keep yourselves in the fear of God and a good conscience.” Let this be the first. Second, also pray so that you may escape from all temptation and misery and may become worthy to stand before the Son of Man. This is nicely comprehended in the last two petitions of the Lord’s Prayer: “Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” If you do this, all will be well, no matter if the Last Day finds you sitting at the table or in bed, at church or when conducting business, waking or sleeping; it does not matter. For it will find you under God’s protection. Yet know this as well: You cannot properly call upon or pray to God when you do not want to cease known sins and to become a better person. This is why honest repentance belongs to right prayer as well as avoiding willful sins and keeping a good conscience. Then pray based on God’s goodness in the name of Jesus Christ that he would keep us in his fear, preserve us from sin by his Holy Spirit, and keep us in the one true faith until the end, so that we may expect this blessed day joyfully and receive our Lord Jesus as our Redeemer with wholehearted confidence. Such prayer is heard for Christ’s sake, no doubt about it. This is why we should follow such advice and teaching and prepare properly for this gracious Day of eternal redemption. May our Lord and Redeemer grant this to us all. Amen.

St. Louis ed., 13.1:19-21.

This entry was posted in Daily Devotions From the Writings of Martin Luther. Bookmark the permalink.