"The day is surely drawing near when Jesus, God's anointed, In all His power 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.
"O Jesus Christ, do not delay but hasten our salvation; We often tremble on our way in fear and tribulation. O hear and grant our fervent plea: Come, mighty Judge, and set us free from death and ev'ry evil."
"Then fright shall banish idle mirth." Our hymn is not condemning light-hearted laughter. It is describing the reaction of the world to Jesus' sudden and unexpected return. The Lord said that His return would be like "the days of Noah" when everyone was going about their lives, eating and drinking and, no doubt, enjoying idle mirth, "until the flood came and swept them all away" (Matthew 24:39b).
While we who trust in Christ Jesus are not unaware of the fact that He is coming back, we may not often think about the day when this world's history will come to a startling, abrupt end. Yet after describing what will happen on that Last Day, the apostle Paul tells us that we are to "encourage one another with these words" (1 Thessalonians 4:18). We should not only think about our Lord's return, but talk about that great day to encourage and strengthen one another in faith!
The Last Day "is surely drawing near." God appointed His Son as Judge, having "given Him authority to execute judgment because He is the Son of Man" (John 5:27b), that is, He is the Messiah, God's Anointed One. We pray in our hymn, "Come, mighty Judge, and set us free from death and ev'ry evil." We joyfully await Jesus' return because our Judge on that day will be the Savior who took our sins into His own body on the cross and endured the penalty of death that we deserved. Our sins are forgiven, washed away in His blood. On the Day of Judgment, by God's grace through faith in Jesus, we will stand before our mighty Judge dressed in His righteousness.
In this earthly life we endure "fear and tribulation" in the troubles we face each day, as well as the disdain, and even hatred, with which the unbelieving world regards our faith. With gentleness and respect, we witness to our faith in Jesus so that others will come to believe in Him and eagerly await His return. All who confess Jesus as Lord look forward to His Second Coming with a joy far greater than idle mirth. We are encouraged as we remind each other that our Savior is coming back, and we pray that He would "hear and grant our fervent plea." Come, Lord Jesus!
WE PRAY: Lord Jesus, help me to share the Good News of salvation so that others will confess You as Lord and welcome Your return. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "The Day is Surely Drawing Near," which is number 508 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. How do you keep a healthy focus and perspective on God's coming Judgment Day?
2. How are believers comforted by Christ's Second Coming?
3. How can God's final Judgment be a motivator in bringing people to repentance and faith?
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