15 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron; he will tread the wine press of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.16 On his robe and on his thigh he has a name inscribed, "King of kings and Lord of lords." (Revelation 19:15-16)
Matthew 2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2 asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we ob-served his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage." (Matthew 2:1-2)
Two interesting scripture juxtaposed together. The one from Revelation pertains to Sunday, Novem-ber 22nd when the church celebrates “Christ the King” Sunday. On that day Jesus will come with his angels to earth and it will be the Day of Judgment. This can be a good thing or we just might find out how murky our lives have been. So many people think the Day of Judgment will be grand and glorious. Jesus Christ coming back again-absolutely. But, we cannot forget that two-edged (according to Revelation 1:16) sword-such a militaristic image. In this part of revelation Jesus is coming to conquer the nations (see verse 15 above) but we are all part of one nation or another so we cannot stand back and say, “go get them, Jesus” be-cause we are part of “them.”
Now as for the Matthew reading we have these wise men coming for different nations to humble themselves before an infant they designate as “King of the Jews”. This is the Jesus we really like. A baby who is dependent on us for supplying his every need. We can “control” him to a certain point as a baby and this is better for us. No judgment on his part just loving our attention being poured out on him. Why is it as Jesus grows into an adult and calls his disciples we find it harder to pour our attentions on him in the same way we did when he was that newborn babe in a manger?
We find it harder because Jesus asks us to do things that make us uncomfortable. We have to change ourselves and that is a lot harder than changing the infant’s soiled clothes. Our lives are soiled by sin no matter how hard we try not to sin. Jesus came to change our soiled lives by his death on the cross and yet we have trouble being thankful for this by living our lives with Jesus as our example and the Holy Spirit re-ceived in baptism as our guide.
By sending Jesus God has already judged each of us worth saving. Of this I have no doubt. We are all loved by God and God wants to have all of creation saved so Jesus saving us by his death has made it pos-sible for those saved to go on to save the creation left in our care back in the Garden of Eden. This way when Jesus does come again we can withstand the Day of Judgment knowing Jesus has covered our sins with his blood and will claim us as one of his own.
When retiring for the night and after asking for forgiveness for things done and undone I would like to think (and there is no learned commentary to support this) that if Jesus comes with his two edged sword, I like to believe one edge is the “Law” as given to Moses and the other the “Gospel” as rendered by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus for the forgiveness of my (and all) our sins.
So Lord, when the Judgment Day arrives if you have to hit me with the two-edged sword-please whack me with the gospel edge!
In thanksgiving for salvation through the Cross of Christ,