Text: Luke 17:20-37 (cross reference Hebrews 6:1-3)
In our Sunday study we’ve been looking at Hebrews and the above link ties into what must have been the outline of the basic catechism or teaching: repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands (ministry/healing), resurrection and judgement. I’ve been thinking about that list and the current state of the church. The author to the Hebrews says those are the basics and encourages his readers to greater understanding. Of those six subjects for lack of a better term, which of them are emphasized? Which are missing? Are any over done?
My gut reaction is that in many places the only one of the six that receives its due is faith – but the even that is not a grounded faith in the person of Jesus Christ but a vague warm fuzzy of faith in faith, a sing-songy “My faith will see me through”. Part of that is the shortening of our vision. As in our primary text, things go on as in the days of Noah or the days of Lot. People are born and die; People get married and give in marriage. We eat and drink, buy and sell, and build. And we think that it will go on like this forever gradually forgetting the judgement. When there is no judgement, who needs repentance? If there is no need for repentance, who needs a preacher or a baptism? When there is no New Jerusalem, what does resurrection mean – aren’t we just going to be spirits in a utopian heaven?
This is not to fall into the Hellfire and Brimstone mode of preaching, but to lift our eyes out of the insignificant toward the significant. That is what the judgement does. The things that go on here and now will continue and they deserve their time. There is a time for everything under the sun. But in light of the judgement, the captial letters DAY OF THE SON OF MAN, they are somewhat insignificant. Of true significance is the acceptance of a personal small letter day of the son of man. On that capital letter day there will not be time. It comes like lightening. One is taken and one is left. Today is the day of grace. Today is the day we repent and have faith in the works of the Son of Man – Jesus Christ – who washes us in the waters of baptism and puts his Spirit in us. Our faith rests secure in that Day of the Son of Man.