"The day is surely drawing near When Jesus, God's anointed, In all His pow'r shall appear, As judge whom God appointed. Then fright shall banish idle mirth, And flames on flames shall ravage earth, As Scripture long has warned us.
"My Savior paid the debt I owe, And for my sin was smitten; Within the Book of Life I know My name has now been written. I will not doubt, for I am free, And Satan cannot threaten me, There is no condemnation!"
The last day! Children know all about last days—the last day of school before summer or the last day before the Christmas break. Adults, too, may eagerly count down the days (and hours) until the last day of work before a long-anticipated vacation. Our hymn celebrates a very different last day: the Last Day. The "day is surely drawing near" when God will bring life on this earth—life as we know it now—to an end, the day when Jesus, God's Anointed, will return to judge the earth.
We do not always think of Jesus as a Judge. In fact, we may view Him as very non-judgmental, perhaps not in His interactions with the Pharisees and other opponents, but certainly with the many people who received His compassionate forgiveness and healing. As Scripture says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:17). Jesus came not to condemn, but to be condemned on behalf of the world, to shoulder the burden of the world's sin and carry it to the cross.
But the Day of Judgment is coming, and God the Father "has given all judgment to the Son" (John 5:22b). The apostle Paul explains that God "has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a Man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead" (Acts 17:31). Jesus, the appointed Judge, warned of signs that would alert us to the nearness of that day—wars, earthquakes, persecution, false prophets, a darkened sun and falling stars. On the Last Day, "fright shall banish idle mirth." The day of Jesus' return will be a day of terror for many, but it will be a day of joy—eternal joy—for all who believe in Him, because our Judge is also our Redeemer, who took onto Himself our sin, guilt, and shame, and clothed us in His righteousness.
For all who trust in Christ Jesus, "there is therefore now no condemnation" (Romans 8:1a). Satan can no longer accuse us before God. Our sins were judged and condemned at the cross of Jesus and washed away in His blood. Our names are written in the Book of Life. Today, on that Last Day and for all eternity we are held securely in the hand of the coming Judge, the crucified and risen Son of God, our Savior and our Shepherd.
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have promised that You are coming soon. We long for the day when we will see You face-to-face and live in Your presence forever. Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "The Day is Surely Drawing Near," which is found on page 508 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. What comes to mind first when you think of Jesus?
2. What do you think will happen to the universe on Judgment Day?
3. Do you believe your name is written in the Book of Life? Why or why not?
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