Thursday of the 24thWeek After Trinity

Daily Lectionary: Jeremiah 22:1-23; Matthew 25:1-13

For if you will indeed obey this word, then there shall enter the gates of this house kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their servants and their people. But if you will not obey these words, I swear by myself, declares the LORD, that this house shall become a desolation. (Jeremiah 22:4-5)

You can't say the Lord didn't warn them. He warned Judah and her king over and over not to be secure. Just because they were God's chosen people and just because the throne belonged to David didn't mean the Lord couldn't or wouldn't stick them in time-out in Babylon. The king had a duty to provide justice, to protect the poor and the widowed, the alien and the fatherless. The mandates of the Lord were meant to be kept. And if they were broken, no king, no throne, no palace. Exile. Desolation.

That's precisely what happened. God raised up Babylon and its king, Nebuchadnezzar, to raid the land of Judah, topple the throne and the temple, and carry the people off into exile. Israel died as a nation. The throne of David died. They were buried in Babylon. And then they returned--a kind of resurrection and rebirth of the nation.

The history of Israel's desolation, exile, and return is the history of Christ, who is Israel reduced to One. He is the Davidic King in fulfillment. He kept the commands of God perfectly. He suffered for the sins of the people, for the sin of the world. He went into the desolation of death as Israel's promised King. He went to His Babylonian captivity in the grave. And there He broke the chains of death and trampled down the gates of Hades. He crushed the head of the serpent, the devil. And He raises up a baptized, holy, priestly people: a new Israel.

Death and resurrection are the mechanism of salvation and life. As it is with Israel and with Christ, so it is with you in Christ. Like Israel, you must die and rise with Christ. Be buried with Him in Baptism, be raised with Him through faith, be glorified in Him at the right hand of God. As Israel returned from exile, as Christ rose from the dead, so you will rise as one of the Lord's baptized believers, on the day of His coming. In the Name of + Jesus. Amen.

The King shall come when morning dawns And light and beauty brings. Hail, Christ the Lord! Your people pray: Come quickly, King of kings!

(The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns, LSB 348:5)

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