Messages from Pastor Raddatz

November 24, 2021:  Mount Olive Lutheran Church Houston TX, CHRIST THE KING SUNDAY, The Last Sunday of the Church Year.

Readings for today: Isaiah 51:4-6, Jude 20-25 and Mark 13:24-37


Dear People of God,

Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

            Today’s sermon text, from Mark 13:24-37, reminds us of the last day when Jesus Christ will return and judge all people.  No one knows the day or the hour when he plans to return, so, we are called to wait.  The challenge for us and all Christians is the wait.

            Samuel Beckett wrote a play around the middle of the last century titled: “Waiting for Godot.” The play revolves around two characters who wait for Godot, who never shows up.  It reflects on the human condition of hopelessness and how people rely on illusions.   One of those illusions, which this play reflects, is religion.  (Concordia Theology 2009, St. Louis Joel Bierman)

            God reminds us that His people can look forward to the day of Christ’s return.   The challenge is that we are terrible waiters.  So God asks us, what are you waiting for?  Be ready.   Don’t sleep.  Stay awake.


What are you waiting for?— is our question to God. 

The day and hour of Christ’s return and judgement are already scheduled, but no man knows the day.  God has even established the last hour.  He reminds us that heaven and earth will pass away, but his word will never pass away.

He is coming and there was a frenetic anticipation in the first century that this would happen soon.   In this atmosphere of charged anxiety and mystery, the worst thing that could happen, the unthinkable thing, is to be caught sleeping. Images of drowsy, sleep-addled disciples strewn around the Gethsemane grounds, spring to mind. It was D-day already, and H-hour was charging toward them. But they never saw it coming—in spite of the repeated warnings. On the verge of the world’s premiere event of eternal significance, they slept.


(Transition) “Ready or not,” It will certainly come.   We know the signs.  It happens every change of seasons.  Things change.  We can grow impatient waiting for the day.  How well do you do at waiting?  We can be an impatient people.  While we wait, we are to “be on guard, keep awake” v. 33.   Sleep is the ultimate failure.


What are you waiting for?”– is God’s question to us.

            Sleeping through the sermon and stumbling through the liturgy in unthinking stupor may be common enough, and sinful enough, but what of the sin of sleeping through life itself? The command to watch applies not only to doormen and watchmen, but also to travelers. Careless, sleepy travelers risk missing a

, or an exit, or the “bridge out” sign. Alert traveling demands attention to maps, weather, the road, luggage, other travelers and the destination. It is the direction suggested by the day’s Gradual: “Blessed are those who have set their hearts on pilgrimage” (Ps. 84:5). An otherwise inexact and general appeal to “be alert” can become more tangible and relevant when cast in terms of being alert to God’s direction through each day’s journey.

            Our prayer might be, “Lord keep me alert” or “make me aware” or “don’t ever let me lose sight of this blessed truth”: that the Lord is not slow in keeping his promises…, but “he wants all to people to come to repentance,” 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4.

"Therefore" introduces the application. It means: "In view of the fact that the Lord has ascended into heaven and assigned to each Christian his individual task." Now the imperative is plural "you (plural) keep on watching." The stress is not on the last day but careful living each and every day; like the disciples after Jesus ascended into heaven. Read Acts 1:12-2:47 and the rest of Acts for that matter. Christ warned them not to sit around wondering about times and seasons, Acts 1:7. They went about their daily Christian tasks and living. -Bul’s Notes

            We have direction for each day.  We know what will happened on that D day, (D stands for day).  We know what will happened in the H hour, (H stands for the hour operations actually begin.  

            We have been given guidance for this day.  It will come as a surprise for many.  How can we keep watch?  The better question is “Who’s the real watcher?”  Only God can stay awake.

God never sleeps, Psalm 121:3-4.  One woman wrote in an online devotion: “EVERY NIGHT I TURN OVER ALL MY WORRIES TO GOD, HE’LL BE UP ALL NIGHT ANYWAY.” (Mary Crowley, Gospel coalition). 


Only God can accomplish The Day.  He watches you, always.  He directs your way, always. Only God can give us his power to wait.

            Yes, he will come again, and yes he has already accomplished this.

  • H-hour came for the disciples: Jesus dies and rises.
  • H-hour comes, now, for you: Jesus graces you at the communion rail.
  • H-hour will come for all: Jesus will come again.

            This is why he said that this present generation will not pass away until these things have been accomplished, see v. 30.  It is because he is referring to the falling of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. He is also calling us to wait on him for the day he returns, we wait in joy, because God’s word will never pass away.

Conclusion: There’s no doubt. We are waiting for God. And there’s no doubt, this waiting is not in vain. It has already been fulfilled at Calvary, is being fulfilled again at the altar, and will be fulfilled on the Last Day. What are you waiting for? The reality is now.

There is only ONE ON WHOM WE WAIT, and he is present here and now and to come!

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” Jude 24-25

May this peace which passes all human understanding keep your heart and your mind in Christ Jesus, to life everlasting, Amen.

Pastor John Raddatz



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