Reading: Jeremiah 23: 1-6
Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who shepherd my people: It is you who have scattered my flock, and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. So, I will attend to you for your evil doings, says the Lord. Then I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the lands where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. I will raise up shepherds over them who will shepherd them, and they shall not fear any longer, or be dismayed, nor shall any be missing, says the Lord. The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. And this is the name by which he will be called: “The Lord is our righteousness.”
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the church year, known as “Christ the King Sunday.” Next week, we will begin our Advent journey toward the manger. The past few weeks we’ve been reading about end times and the future. Jeremiah today foretells the coming of Jesus, who will reign as king and deal wisely.
He adds that justice and righteousness shall be in the land. Jesus is going to bring that to the table. He even says, “The Lord is our righteousness.”
What is righteousness? When I want to know what a word means, you guessed it, I go to Google. Merriam-Webster says righteousness means “acting in accord with divine or moral law; free from guilt or sin.” Wow! Jesus does bring us a world where we are free from guilt of our sins. Jesus comes to do the work for us.
In the coming weeks as we approach Christmas, I hope you will remember the end of the story. As we get set for this cute, tiny, baby Jesus, let’s know forget adult Jesus who hangs on a cross and who is not present in the tomb on Easter Sunday. That’s the great news we cling to. The King of Righteousness is near!
Righteous God, have mercy on me. Help me to live in the good of Jesus crucified and risen for my sake. Help me not to feel guilt for my sins, knowing Christ has done the work for me. Amen.