Come, Lord Jesus!
Tuesday of Easter 5
16 May 2017
Our poor life of labor comes to an end when Christ delivers the kingdom to His Father. This life with all its earthly orders, as necessary as they are, will undergo a profound transformation. While we will remain man or woman as fully human creatures made to have fellowship with our God, still none of the God-given orders of creation will remain at the consummation of the age. However, there will be neither marrying, nor child bearing; both signs of the temporal and temporary orders of this age. These orders are divinely given so that there would be decency, discipline, good government, and the like in the world. They may not be ignored by us until they are dissolved by God. For now we must live under the discipline they impose on this life.
Certainly we feel the burden of this order. A great deal of the unrest and dissatisfaction people express today revolves around trying to get out of the discipline of the divine orders. Men want to become women. Women want to become men. Children want to run their homes. Parents want to be free of the burden of child-rearing and to become children again. Adults want to flee their marriages. Young people refuse to marry or bear children.
Perhaps we would not be so easily misled into restlessness and dissatisfaction if we understood both that these are orders ordained by God and that they are not ultimate, but means to God's goals. God has a stake in the tranquility of this age, so that the gospel has a field in which to work without being disturbed by civil unrest. The anxious striving to be something other than what God has ordained for us leaves terrible wreckage in its wake. In that wreckage the quiet of the civil order in which the gospel can be preached and the catechism learned are disturbed. Where family no longer is a nest of domestic peace and tranquility, anxiety overcomes the gospel's peaceful tones with the frenetic madness of psychological survival. Study, prayer, church going, and service to the church require everything else to work properly under the divinely given orders. When a quiet life is shattered the gospel is hurt.
The earthly orders lack of ultimacy is highlighted by life in the church in which the life of Christ transcends all human orders. Our relationship with God is not shaped by our human commitments as child, husband, wife, employer, or employee. In Christ there is neither male nor female. While in the world and in all earthly relations such human commitments shaped by the divine law still obtain, at the resurrection of all flesh the burden this life will no longer be borne. The commitments required by God through the orders of creation will fall into instant disuse. If we have the long view that looks forward to the time when that happens we might bear these orders and the suffering they imply more willingly because they will come to an end. "Then comes the end, when He delivers the Kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power" (1Co 15:24). Here is why we pray so fervently, "Come, Lord Jesus!"

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Martin Luther
"Paul wishes to say that when the hour strikes in which we who are Christ's are to rise and follow Him, then all is accomplished, and the end to which Scripture points is at hand. This earthly life with all its misery and misfortune will cease, the abominable devil with his rule will come to an end. Yes, also both the secular and the spiritual offices will terminate. In summary, all things on earth will come to an end, and that which we together with all saints have desired and waited for since the beginning of the world will be ushered in. Namely, that God Himself will be Lord alone and rule alone in us, His children. To this rule there will be no end. He Himself explains what He means with the end when He says that He will abolish every rule and power and will alone be all in all.
"The life to come will not be regulated as this temporal life is, requiring man and woman, children, house, fields, menservants and maidservants, and whatever else pertains to the married estate or proceeds from it, such as government, subjects, and whatever other obligations and offices there may be on earth. To be sure, man and woman will remain with regard to the nature and person of each, but not for the purpose of bearing children, establishing a home, or providing daily bread, food and drink, clothing and shoes, etc. Every purpose for which God instituted marriage, namely, that husband and wife live together and bear children and then rule city and country and people, is left behind in this life. For wherever the married estate is established, the rest must all follow, entailing everything that pertains to the government of the world. But since the married estate will no longer exist, all the rest will necessarily also terminate."

Martin Luther, Commentary on 1 Corinthians 15, 25
Romans 13:1-14

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Lord Christ, help me to live in the orders in which You have placed me that I might submit to the yoke that You give me. Let peace and good order abide in my home and community. Give me the faith to serve cheerfully until You terminate this world, when I shall be set free by You. Amen.
For the family of Webb Thompson, who was laid to rest, that they might be comforted by the eternal gospel
For those who have suffered inclement weather, that they may be kept safe and place their cares in God's good hands
For the members of the Board of Regents of Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, as they gather to meet and celebrate graduation with the seminary community, that the Lord Jesus would grant success to their meeting
Art: GRÜNEWALD, Matthias  Resurrection (c. 1515)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2017
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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