The readings this week begin with Job’s lament and his plea for God to just leave him alone, for he cannot stand in judgment with God. He is but a man, who will quickly fade and pass away, while God is almighty and eternal. Job asks, “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? There is not one.”
But then the Epistle and the Gospel talk about the end of days, when the dead will be raised and we will be with the Lord Jesus in heaven. And that is where we see God correct Job. No human can make something righteous out of something sinful and unclean, but God can do it. Jesus did more than cleanse lepers and raise the (unclean) dead. His atoning sacrifice cleanses us all, for on the Last Day we will be the ones who have washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Then our time of suffering will be cut short, and we will be with Him as His beloved children.
The Old Testament lesson is from the book of Job, chapter 14, verses 1-6:
“Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.
He comes out like a flower and withers;
he flees like a shadow and continues not.
And do you open your eyes on such a one
and bring me into judgment with you?
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?
There is not one.
Since his days are determined,
and the number of his months is with you,
and you have appointed his limits that he cannot pass,
look away from him and leave him alone,
that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.
The Epistle lesson is from 1 Thessalonians, chapter 4, verses 13-18:
But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. Therefore encourage one another with these words.
The Gospel for the Twenty-Fifth Sunday after Trinity is from Matthew, chapter 24, verses 15-28:
“So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.