Last Sunday after Pentecost (Year B)
Scripture Readings*: 2 Samuel 23:1-7; Psalm 132:1-13, (14-19); Revelation 1:4b-8; John 18:33-37
2 Samuel 23:1-7
In his final words to his people, David describes God’s ideal king (23:3–4). He notes God’s faithfulness to him, in spite of his failings (23:5); and, he underscores the importance of dealing with rebellion (23:6–7).
David reflects the beauty of reigning with righteousness and in the fear of God, and is confident that his royal line will continue.
Written to “the seven churches” of the Roman province of Asia, John’s work is a “revelation” of “what must soon take place.” As elder, or bishop, of Ephesus, the apostle John was responsible for these churches. Given to John by Jesus Christ, it is a message committed by God to the Lord to show to His “servants.”
The theme of John’s work is clear: the Lord God, the Almighty One Himself, has guaranteed the final vindication of the crucified Jesus before all the earth. The victory of Christ is assured. His people will rejoice in their final deliverance, but those who have rejected Him will mourn His coming, for it will mean judgment for them.
Jesus’ kingdom is not a military or political force. This concept was difficult for his audience to comprehend. Why call it a “kingdom” if it was nonpolitical? Jesus states that his authority is not of human origin, and by implication suggests that he is not a threat to the Roman authority, and that there is no place for the use of force in his kingdom.
The Last Word
Today’s Old Testament reading contains King David’s last words. The disciple John, elderly and in exile, writes his final words in his Revelation of Jesus Christ. Jesus, facing imminent crucifixion and death, speaks some of his last words in today’s Gospel reading. “Last words” are important.
David speaks of an everlasting covenant where all is secure. John writes of grace and peace from the One who loves us and frees us of sin by His blood. Jesus speaks of a kingdom not of this earth, a kingdom where God wins! These words are important.
However, beyond our last words, as important as they are, God’s Word remains eternal, immortal, and invincible. In the words of Saint John, Jesus is the beginning and the end, the One who is, and who was, and who is to come.
When we run out of words, and there is nothing more to say, we take comfort in the knowledge that God gets the final word concerning all things.
Prayer for Last Sunday after Pentecost – Everliving God, give me Your vision to see Your Son having final dominion and Lordship over my life and this world; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year B