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Saint Bartholomew

Luke 22:28-30

Rev. Andrew Eckert

Wed. after 13th Sunday after Trinity
Our Savior Lutheran Church  
Stevensville, MT

Wed, Aug 24, 2016 

The Lord Jesus tells His disciples that they will sit upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  They will eat and drink at His table in His Kingdom.  In fact, He is assigning the Kingdom to them, just as Christís Father assigned the Kingdom to Him.

Christ gives the Kingdom to them, but it is not only a future Kingdom in glory.  The Kingdom was already theirs.

How then did they sit upon thrones in this present life?  Because they were already given authority to judge as kings.  They had power from Christ to forgive and retain sins, which is the power to open and close the doors of heaven to sinners.  This is truly a kingly and mighty authority.

In the same way, they already sat at Christís table before they went to Paradise.  For what is the Sacrament of the Altar but the Table of Christ?  What is this Meal if not the Lordís Supper?  So already here in Luke 22, having received the Sacrament from the Lordís own hands a few verses before, they had already received the fulfillment of the words of Christ that they would sit in His Kingdom at His table.

So the Kingdom is not merely a future kingdom in the new Heaven and new Earth.  It is even now here on this earth, although hidden from fleshly eyes.  Only faith can see.

To be sure, the fulfillment will be visible and glorious when the Last Day comes.  When the Lord Christ sits upon His kingly throne to judge the living and the dead, then the twelve Apostles will also sit upon thrones.  They will concur with the judgment of the Lord, to confirm the verdict that the Gospel made in this life, that you have resurrection to eternal life because of the merits of Christ the Lord.

But before that scene of majestic culmination, the disciples shared in this life with Christ in His trials and temptations.  As He wandered about without a roof over His head, they wandered too.  As satan tempted Him, so he tempted them.  As the world persecuted Him and made Him suffer, in time the apostles also would suffer and die for their Lord.

So Christís message of the Kingdom was comforting for the disciples.  All they had suffered and endured was not for nothing.  They remained faithful by staying with their Lord to the end.  So they also received the Kingdom.

What about you?  You also share in Christís suffering in your own way.  There are crosses to carry.  Endurance is required, and temptations abound.

Like the disciples, you have remained faithful to Christ, even though it would have been easier to throw in the towel and join the world.  To stop donating money to the Church would make your pocketbook thicker.  Coming here less would free a lot of time for you.  Avoiding the ridicule of the world for your faith would feel more comfortable, at least in the short term.

Not all crosses are equal, yet all Christians have a cross to bear.  You have endured whatever the Lord has laid upon you to carry for His sake.

Christ sees the pains you have felt.  So He gives you a message of comfort: The Kingdom is yours, even now.  You cannot see it in this life, although you can see the marks of the Kingdom.  There is the washing of kings that you received.  There is the royal meal, when you eat with the King of kings at His own table.

You also have a share in the royal authority to open and close the Kingdom to sinners.  Although you do not publicly exercise this authority as a minister does, you support this ministry in various ways.  In private, you also use the authority to unbind sins.

And you also shall share in the Kingdom to come.  As surely as Christ has shed His Blood for you, you will sit in glory, at the eternal marriage banquet.  You will enjoy endless life because He has been raised.  You will be sinless and perfectly righteous, because He lived perfectly for you and died to release you from the slavery of sin.

Take comfort in this, when satan and the world harass you.  Set your eyes upon Christ and His promise for you, whenever you feel the pain of your cross weighing you down.  Remember the great privilege that is yours even now, to sit with the Lord at His table here in this house.  What temporary comfort is worth throwing away this fellowship with the Lord of hosts?  What brief illusion of peace can outweigh the wonderful and eternal peace Christ has given?

So take comfort and remain faithful to the One who was faithful for your sake, even to the death of the Cross. 

In His Name and to His glory.  Amen.

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