Sermon:
Are You Ready for Jesus?
Matthew 24:36-44; 25:1-13

Stephen H. Becker, M.Div.
St. Peter’s Lutheran Church
1st Sunday in Advent; December 2, 2007

I once saw a story on the evening news where a photographer was also a skydiver, and he jumped with a number of skydivers from a plane to videotape the dive, filming the group as they each individually dove out of the plane and opened their parachutes. As the video was being shown of each member of the crew jumping out and then pulling their rip chord so that their parachute opened to the wind, the final skydiver opened his chute and then the picture from the cameraman shot went berserk. (pause) The announcer reported that the cameraman had fallen to his death, having jumped out of the plane without a parachute. It wasn’t until he reached for the ripcord that he realized he was free falling without a parachute. Up until then, he was enjoying himself and was absorbed in what he was doing. But tragically, he was unprepared for the jump. It didn’t matter how many times he had done it before or what skill he had. But by forgetting the parachute today he made a foolish—and deadly—mistake. Nothing could save him, because his faith was in a parachute which he had never taken the trouble to buckle on.
Granted, this story sounds funny, but it is tragically true. And it’s a story not unlike the parable we read a moment ago here in the Gospel of Matthew, where Jesus told about the foolish bridesmaids forgetting to bring something very important and necessary. Like the bridesmaids, the photographer was not ready. He was unprepared. It would do no good to try and borrow a parachute of someone else on their way to meet the ground. He was not prepared and he passed the point of no return. And he had to pay with his life for this deadly mistake. Let’s pray…
Jesus’ parables are timeless. They taught important lessons 2,000 years ago, and they continue to teach us equally as important messages today. The first message in today’s lesson is, we must be spiritually ready for His return. If there is one thing that Jesus consistently and continually preached it was that we need to be ready. Over and over again we hear him say, “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Matthew 24:44). Remember without Jesus, we are lost. Without Jesus, we are freefalling without a parachute, on a collision course the ground that’s going to kill us. So what do we need to do to be ready? Well, listen on…
We in this culture try to live as though there is no tomorrow. Our finances reflect this. The way we eat and treat our bodies reflect this. And certainly the moral lives of some Americans reflect this. One of my great concerns for our country, and even within the Christian church, is the great moral disconnect between personal faith and ethical / moral behavior. Many people in the Christian church, as well as outside of it, seem to have lost their