Topic: Judgement Passage: Revelation 20:11–20:15
The Scripture passage for this sermon is one of the least "Christmas-y" passages in the entire Bible. Most people think this season is supposed to be about Jesus as a cute little newborn baby, with Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and the angel choirs and the wise men and all the rest. We don't want to hear about Jesus passing judgment on our actions in this life--at any time of the year, but especially now--and we certainly don't want to hear about people being thrown into a lake of fire.
However, we can't ignore the fact that Jesus will come again in power and in judgement. Jesus himself spoke of judgment on many occasions, and his apostles spoke of it as well. The early church was less reluctant to dwell on this idea than we are; one of the earliest images of Jesus used in churches were of him as the judge of the living and the dead.
In our discomfort with the idea of Jesus as judge, we tend to forget two important things:
1. The promise of God's judgment is also the promise of God's justice. The victims of injustice, oppression and cruelty are all around us--around the world, in our own country, and in our own neigbourhoods. Even within our churches, there are people being abused and exploited, often by ministers of the Word, who are supposed to protect and shepherd the people they're abusing. Our world cries out for justice, and that justice will surely be done.
2. Jesus our judge is also Jesus our Saviour. We will all appear before the judgment seat of God, there's no escaping that. Jesus will judge us for our sins, but he has also borne the harsh penalty for our sins himself on the cross, on our behalf. "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world though him." (John 3:17)
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