Summary: . Today--despite what your eyes of experience tell you--our Lord Jesus Christ tells us to see a hidden reality with our eyes of faith.
Rejoice, O royal priesthood! Lift your heads, O saints of God! Look and see that your Salvation is coming. Be no longer downcast and disheartened. Today--despite what your eyes of experience tell you--our Lord Jesus Christ tells us to see a hidden reality with our eyes of faith.
Jesus says that it is springtime. How can this be? The fig tree is in bloom. And so summer will soon be here. Yes, God is still God. He is still in control.
Jesus says this, despite the mountains of worldly evidence to the contrary. The world says it is but a bleak December. The days are short and are getting shorter. The nights are long and cold and getting colder. The trees are stripped bare. The last golden hues of autumn have fallen to the ground and blown away with the biting, winter winds.
And who has not felt this bleakness in his own life--this spiritual depression of December? Who has not looked out on a gray December day and thought, “That’s me. That’s how I feel! My heart has more darkness than light, more cold than warmth.” Who here has never been abandoned and betrayed? (Probably, everyone but Kaeden, but even for Kaeden, as young as he is, it will come.) Who has not felt disgust at himself for his own betrayals? Who has never increased the bleakness in another’s life?
Amid the muted gray of winter, which continues getting grayer, He, the Lord of Life, the Lord of Light comes. Jesus steps into your bleak darkness and confronts death for you in full force. He calls to you, “Turn from the darkness and come to Me for light. For your life is more than the bleakness you feel. Listen now and I will tell you why!”
And from there He goes to face the darkness of the cross, the darkness of death, and the darkness of a sealed tomb. All the darkness and bleakness of the world, the world’s sin, disease, pain, death, and betrayal fall heavily on Jesus. He takes them all. He takes them into Himself. He lets them have their way with Him. He offers Himself as the sacrifice and goes down in darkness to death.
And at that moment, when the Lord of Life died, Jesus’ disciples thought their life was over as well. They plunged into the darkness even further. They thought, “If death and betrayal could have their way with Jesus, then what hope do we have?” But they had forgotten His promise. They had forgotten that He had to die for the sins of the world, that He had to take the world’s darkness into Himself to destroy it.
And then on Easter day, Jesus arose and put the bleakness of winter behind Him. In His wake, He brought the springtime of life. So do not believe your eyes, beloved. Do not believe the calendar, or the world, or your own emotions. They lie and deceive you. It is not winter. In your soul, it can never be winter again.
The Lord is arisen! Life and light are now yours! Everything is now new: including you. For you were buried in the flowing, life-giving waters of Baptism. You are now a child of Christ’s tomb. In Baptism, you were drowned with Jesus in His death. But even more, you were also pulled up to everlasting life in His resurrection.
As Jesus says, the fig tree is now in bloom. The springtime of the new creation draws near. So hold on; the summer of eternal life is near. The Lord will soon return to end the bleakness and darkness of this world--once and for all!
You have much reason to rejoice, even amid your many sorrows. For the signs of sadness we constantly see, don’t simply point to the end of the world. If they did, who could ever rise beyond the gloom of death? No, the signs pointing to the end of the world point to even a greater reality: God’s eternal reign and your eternity in His under His kingship!
So don’t think the bleakness of this world only points to the end of the world. Don’t believe the signs of the world’s end are simply happening by chance. When you hear creation groan and creak, when dread fills your heart because you feel within you what is happening around you--remember that this is the Lord’s doing. He is allowing these events to happen.
God does this--not to frighten you--but to keep you focused on your goal: eternal life with Him, you true home with Him under His benevolent rule. The Lord lets events happen to entice you to long for His kingdom. The Lord loves you and will not abandon you to eternal despair. And He has sealed this promise in His own blood.