Today’s Reading: 2 Peter 3:8–14
“The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise.” – 2 Peter 3:9
It has been nearly two thousand years. Two thousand years since Jesus told us that He would be coming in glory to judge the living and the dead. Two thousand years since He promised us that He would be returning to redeem us from this present evil age!
It is embarrassing, really. For two thousand years the Church has been warning the sinful world around her to repent, for the end is drawing nigh. And where is this end of which we warn? It has been delayed year after year, century after century, millennium after millennium. The Christians of St. Paul’s day believed their deliverance to be right around the corner. Luther was convinced that Jesus would come in his lifetime to destroy the kingdom of Antichrist. Walther firmly believed that he was living in the last years of this declining world. As we look around us and behold the wickedness that daily increases in our sinful age, it is difficult for us to imagine that Jesus’ return could be that far off. But still He delays, and the world laughs at our foolish trust in a Savior who remains hidden.
But His delay has a purpose. “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise,” St. Peter tells us, “but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” Jesus has delayed His coming for your sake. If He had come when Luther expected Him, five centuries of Christians yet unborn would not have come to salvation. And His delay now is for the sake of those elect whom He has yet to draw to Himself. Yet we still pray Him to hasten His coming, which He will accomplish on that day and at that hour set by His Father. God grant us patience and endurance until that blessed event.
Prayer: 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. (The Day Is Surely Drawing Near, LSB 508:7).
This devotion was written by Reverend Christopher Neuendorf, pastor at Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Davenport, IA.