Summary: Death is just around the corner. Jesus could return at any moment. Are you prepared?
In days gone by, kings and nobles were accustomed to having court jesters, or fools as they were called, to entertain them. Many years ago there lived a king who enjoyed the folly of his court jester. Jokingly the king gave his jester a scepter and told him that if someday he found someone more foolish than he, he could give that man the scepter.
A few years later, the king fell gravely ill. The jester went to visit his king. When he saw his beloved clown, the king told him, “I fear that I am about to embark on a long journey.”
“And when will your majesty return?” asked the jester innocently, “In a month?”
“No,” the king replied.
“In a year?”
“No, my beloved jester, I am never going to return.”
“Well then, what preparations has his majesty made for his long journey?” asked the jester.
“None,” replied the king sadly.
“Your majesty is going away forever and he has made no preparations for his journey? Please take this then,” said the jester handing the king his scepter, “for I would never do such a foolish thing.”
I have a question. How many years do the healthiest, strongest people of the world live? Eighty, ninety? Now, what is that compared to eternity? Death is always right around the corner. I could walk out on the street this afternoon and get plowed down by a bus. Besides that, we know that the world could end at any minute – before we die. So, it’s important to be prepared, right? For death or the end of the world whichever comes first. Well, this morning, our Lord Jesus Christ is going to teach us how to be ready for our “long journey” that we have before us, that is, for the after life. So, let’s look at what our Savior has to teach us in Luke chapter 12 verses 32 to 40...
I. Seek the eternal treasure
We have a lot of worries in this world, don’t we? Will we be able to make the money stretch until the end of the month? Am I in danger of getting laid off? Is my marriage on the rocks? How are my kids going to turn out with all the bad influences of this world? And the most scary thing of all: what is going to happen to me when I die?
In this world there are a lot of people scared to death of death, right? Nobody likes to talk about it. Nobody likes to go to funerals to face that coffin that one day will be their final resting place. But why? Why are we so frightened of death? I guess it’s the fear of the unknown, isn’t it? What’s it going to be like? What will happen to me? Where will I go?
Well, Jesus in the verses that precede our text for this morning tells his disciples that they don’t need to worry about anything. Using some examples from nature he assures them that if God takes care of the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, how much more won’t he provide for us his dear children everything we need? And that’s true, isn’t it? We’ve never been lacking what we need to live: food, clothes, a roof over our heads. In fact, he provides much more than we need.
Therefore, Jesus tells us not to focus our attention on obtaining earthly treasures, but rather to seek his kingdom, that is, to seek spiritual treasures. But really, that worries us as well, doesn’t it? In fact, that’s the fear that many have. They’re not sure if they have the eternal treasure which is heaven. And therefore they are afraid of death.
Because our consciences give testimony to the fact that by nature we aren’t prepared for death. We aren’t prepared for Christ’s second coming. Even though the world and the devil try to silence that voice within us – even though they try to get us to focus on the present, on what we have to do right now, rather than prepare ourselves for the future – we still have that voice within that tells us, “Be afraid of what’s coming. You haven’t done enough. You have been selfish, prideful and materialistic. You deserve to be punished.”
And simply put, that is why we are afraid of death, because at least subconsciously we are aware that when we die we must face the judgement of our just God. We are all slaves to sin and to the fear of death. And that’s why Jesus tells us here: Do not be afraid, little flock, for our Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
What a relief! In other words, we don’t have to find God or earn his favor. He has given us his kingdom. He has entered into our hearts to reign there forever, and through that faith has given us eternal life. God has prepared us for death. He has prepared us for judgement day. Jesus suffered and died in our place to give us life. He faced God’s judgement for us, suffering God’s righteous anger for our sins of selfishness, pride and materialism. We have been freed from the slavery of fear. The writer to the Hebrews tells us that with his death, Jesus destroyed him who holds the power of death – that is, the devil – and freed those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death.