Straighten up and raise your heads, for your redemption is near!

This is the confessional address our pastor gave to us during our Service of Confession.  The purpose of a confessional address is to prepare one for confession, after which the Lord’s Supper is to be received.


Jesus says, “When these [signs of the end times] begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads because your redemption is near.”  That’s the meaning behind the distress taking place in creation.

So, straighten up and lift your heads, for your redemption is near!  The signs are all around you, and they have been that way your entire life.  Yet, the truth remains.  Our Lord Jesus is coming on the clouds of heaven.  Then, He will raise the dead, and judge every human creature.

Straighten up and lift your heads, for your redemption is closer now than when you first believed!  Can you not see the signs around you?  Ah, but they’re so easy to ignore, for they happen all the time.  To think that a falling star points to Jesus’ return sounds like a fairy tale.  But Jesus is not talking about fairy tales in Luke 21.

Jesus is speaking the truth.  And the foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.  We cannot learn the will of God from human wisdom.  We learn His will only in the way that He has chosen to reveal it to us.  God shows us His will in His Word.  It’s His Word revealed in the Scriptures, and the Word preached and taught.

It’s in God’s Word that we hear the words of eternal life.  It’s in God’s Word that our sins are forgiven.  It’s in God’s Word that we learn the signs that point to the return of our Savior.  It’s in God’s Word that we hear His words to help keep us from becoming complacent.

Look at the trees.  It’s autumn and the leaves have fallen to the ground.  The world is telling us that winter is on its way.  But the Word of God interprets the signs differently.  Every time the earth shakes or the sea violates its boundaries, God is reminding us that our redemption is close.  Jesus is ready, waiting only for word from His Father to claim you as His own.

Indeed, your Savior wants you to be prepared for that day, that hour.  He doesn’t want you to become complacent.  That’s so easy to do.  You say, “I’ve been alive this long and Jesus hasn’t returned.  He probably won’t return while I’m alive, so I’ll just take it easy.”  That’s the way of your sinful flesh.  Don’t let the day of Jesus’ return sneak up on you suddenly like a trap.  Jesus wants you to be ready.

One way to be ready is never to stop recognizing your inborn sinfulness.  It’s facing the ugliness of your sins and not rationalizing them as not being sinful.  It’s calling a spade a spade, a sin a sin.

But preparing yourself for your Lord’s return is more than just recognizing your sin.  It’s also coming clean.  It’s confessing it.  And it’s also hearing God’s life-bestowing words of absolution–His spoken, forgiving Word for you.  Yes, even the spoken Word of absolution helps prepare you for Jesus’ return.

Jesus wants you ready, eagerly expecting His return.  For when He comes to you, He doesn’t want to find you in a spiritual coma.  For if you are in a spiritual stupor, He will not come as your Savior and Deliverer, but as your Judge.  So, admit your sin and confess it.  But also, delighting in His forgiving Word, receive Jesus Himself in His Supper for you.  Amen.