Last Judgment

November 7, 2021

Pastor John Hering

John 5:19-24

John 5:19-24

19 Jesus answered them directly, “Amen, Amen, I tell you: The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. And he will show him even greater works than these so that you will be amazed. 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to those he wishes.

22 “In fact, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. 24 Amen, Amen, I tell you: Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He is not going to come into judgment but has crossed over from death to life.

25 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: A time is coming and is here now when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will live.

At our Circuit Pastors meeting last Tuesday Pastor Koelpin was sharing a time during his vicar year when his bishop had them go to the courthouse and sit in on a trial.  If you’ve ever been with someone in court, you probably have a better idea of what it is like in a courtroom.  Your appearance might be calm, but everyone knows your heart is racing. As you look around the room the defendant is likely the most nervous waiting for the door to the judge’s chambers to open.  The lawyer is reading over his notes and thinking about how he might have presented the case differently.  Then it’s time for the jury to enter into the courtroom and be seated.  The bailiff calls out, “All rise!” and everyone gets up out of respect for the judge who sits down behind the bench.

Today is “Last Judgment Sunday.” This Sunday falls at the end of the Church Year in order that we recall the fact that we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Some of you here know what the Bible says about this day, and some of you may know little, or have forgotten about it.  I’ll share the basic outline gathered from holy Scriptures.  On the Last Judgment Jesus is returning to this world the same way he left—descending in the clouds of heaven.  He will bring with him all the angels of heaven.  The bodies of all people, believers and unbelievers, will be raised from the dead as easily as it was when God said, “Let there be light.”  And there was light.  Jesus will return to this world with souls of all people to be reunited with their bodies.  Some to everlasting death in hell and some to everlasting life in heaven.  The Bible also tells us this will all happened in the twinkling of an eye, after which the earth will be destroyed by fire.  There are also some things we don’t know about Judgment Day, for instance, when it will happen.  God has picked a day, but no one knows when that day will be when Jesus once again visibly appears before all people.  So, are you nervous like the people in the courtroom knowing that you will stand before Jesus, the Judge, someday?  Today may the Holy Spirit renew our knowledge and inspire our faith in preparation for this great and glorious day when we hear the call,

All Rise!

To See Who Jesus Is

This past Wednesday morning Bible Class we studied the Palm Sunday account when Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.  The people were very excited to see Jesus because they hoped Jesus was going to be the promised Messiah to deliver them—not from sin, death and the devil, but from hunger, sickness and the Roman Empire.  They were hoping Jesus would say, “You poor people have been suffering for a long time, but I’ve come to rescue you from these terrible conditions.  You don’t deserve to have to live like this, I’m going to take of everything!”  They had hope and faith that Jesus would take on the role like Gideon, or Samson, or a warrior like King David!  All Rise!  Here comes Jesus as they shouted, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Luke 19:38).  Why, that sounds like what the angels said to the shepherds when Jesus was born!  But wait, Jesus didn’t look exactly as they would have liked.  He was lowly, and riding on a colt, the foal of a donkey.  There were no spear or swords, no shields and helmets.  He didn’t look like the king they wanted.  He rather looks very humble.  It wouldn’t take long for them to fail to rise for Jesus and end up spitting and mocking Jesus for who he really is on Good Friday.  It’s so sad.  Jesus came to do exactly what his Father in heaven wanted him to do and they hated Jesus for it.

John recorded these words about Jesus, Amen, Amen, I tell you: The Son can do nothing on his own, but only what he sees the Father doing. Jesus came to do exactly what his Father sent him to do, and yet people find themselves refusing to Rise for Jesus in exchange for judging him.  That doesn’t surprise us because we rise in judgment over people all the time. We take a quick look at people and decide what they’re probably like, or we might wait until we hear a few sentences come out of their mouth and then we know, right?!?  Should we add them as friends on Instagram and Facebook or not?  Should we invite them to the party or not?  Should we hire them or not?  Should we vote for them or not?  

So, how do you see Jesus?  We want Jesus to be our Messiah and our Savior but have you ever thought, “Jesus help me with my sickness, job, friends, family and school, but I really don’t want you to be my Judge!   I know, almost every Sunday I confess to believe that Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead, but that’s sometime in the far away future—we hope!”  All too often we prefer to be the judge!  This helps us avoid the self-internal judging we should be doing of our own hearts, but all too often avoid.  After all, who wants to lift the lid off the rotten garbage can of my heart and smell my sins?  Well, God doesn’t even need to lift the lid to see sin in our hearts.  He has every right to condemn us for improperly condemning others and failing to keep his laws and holy will.

And this is why we all need to be here today.  We need to hear the call, “All Rise” and learn just who Jesus, our Judge, is.  Jesus is our amazing Judge.  Here’s why.  Human judges can make mistakes. Jesus never does because he is perfectly lined up with God the Father’s holy will.  Indeed, the Son does exactly what the Father does. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing….22 “In fact, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, 23 so that all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father.  The Holy Spirit inspired St John to write these very simple words, but to write words with profound meaning.  These are the mysteries of the person and essence of God.  For while there are three persons—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—there is only one God.  While this truth goes beyond human understanding, it really is a good thing.  I want to have a God who is bigger and more amazing than I can comprehend because that means he does things I could never do.  This makes Jesus our Amazing Judge!  Therefore, hear the call, “All Rise!” and eagerly stand to be in the presence of Jesus because You See Jesus For Who He Is!  He is your Messiah.  He is your Judge.  He is your Savior!  And as such, stand in worship and praise of Jesus   

To See What Jesus Does

Jesus is not only our amazing Judge, but he also does amazing things!  When the court is in session the prosecutor and the defendant present facts and evidence to build their case.  John’s Gospel is loaded with testimony that show us that Jesus is the Son of God—the second person of the Trinity.  Jesus calls himself the Son of God 10 times in the verses before us today.  John records evidence that Jesus is true God.  At the wedding of Cana they ran out of wine, and Jesus miraculously turned water into wine.  Or the royal official found Jesus to ask if he would heal his son.  Jesus miraculously healed him (John 4:53).  There was a man in Jerusalem that had been handicapped for 38 years, and Jesus told him to pick up his mat and go home.  He did! (John 5:5-8).  We have all seen the amazing things our amazing Judge has done.  But, there’s more.

St. John records these words of Jesus. 20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he is doing. And he will show him even greater works than these so that you will be amazed. As if all of the miracles Jesus did up until John 5 were not enough, in the following chapters we learn of even greater miracles. The Word of Jesus came true: 21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to those he wishes.  Jesus raised the daughter of Jairus.  He raised the widow’s son at Nain.  He raised Lazarus from the dead!  Jesus, our Savior and our Judge suddenly becomes very personal for us.  24 Amen, Amen, I tell you: Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He is not going to come into judgment but has crossed over from death to life. You see, when you were born to your parents you were born with their inherited sin.  You were born a child of the devil, an enemy of God, and blind to his love.  You were not born into God’s family because of one word—sin!  That means you did not have a connection with God.  You were doomed to stand before the holy Judge and be condemned to hell.  But, God gave another word.  Jesus spoke this life changing, family changing, eternal life changing word from the cross, “Tetelisthi” [It is finished] (John 19:30)  In a word Jesus came with his power to pay the penalty of all your sins.  Because of his righteousness the Judge declared you not guilty.  This Word came to you from God’s Holy Word, or connected to Water, or connected to Wafer and Wine in the Lord’s Supper.  Jesus the Judge spoke the Word and caused new life to come alive in you.  What a miracle!  What a gift from Jesus the Judge!  You heard Jesus say, Anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He is not going to come into judgment but has crossed over from death to life.

You know what this means for you.  The day will come when we will all hear just like the daughter of Jairus, the boy raised to life at Nain, and Lazarus from the grave.  We will hear, “All Rise!” As we recall the promises of God on this Last Judgment Sunday I pray you hear these words with delight.  25 “Amen, Amen, I tell you: A time is coming and is here now when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who listen will live.  Look forward to Judgment Day because Jesus has taken the lid off the garbage can of your heart and filled it with his perfect life.  Look forward to Judgment Day because the status you have before God right now through faith, namely, that you are heirs of eternal life, will be publicly affirmed on the great and glorious day.  Look forward to the day when you hear, “All Rise!” because you will be gathered before the most caring, compassionate and only miracle-working Judge there is—Jesus!

If you are ever in a court room on trial as a defendant you would no doubt be nervous as you waited for the judge to return to his bench—especially if you knew you were guilty.  But, the Great Judgment Day doesn’t make us nervous.  We look forward to seeing all the angels and the souls from heaven shouting, “All Rise!” Then stand up!  Raise your heads, for your redemption has arrived.  You have nothing to fear, because you Know Who Jesus Is and you Know What Jesus does.  All Rise because Jesus, the Judge, is your Savior!  Amen!

Recent Sermons

You-Are-Loved

Grace Inspires Amazing Love

Shepherd-Holding-Staff

Your Shepherd Has Made Peace for You!

Protecting-Lambs

Trust the Easter Gifts of the Good Shepherd