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The Last Sunday of the Church Year

Old Testament Reading

Ezekiel 34:11–16, 20–24

11 כִּ֛י כֹּ֥ה

אָמַ֖ר אֲדֹנָ֣י יְהוִ֑ה הִנְ‍נִי־אָ֕נִי וְ‍דָרַשְׁתִּ֥י אֶת־צֹאנִ֖‍י וּ‍בִקַּרְתִּֽי‍ם׃  12 כְּ‍בַקָּרַת֩

רֹעֶ֨ה עֶדְר֜‍וֹ בְּ‍יוֹם־הֱיוֹת֤‍וֹ בְ‍תוֹךְ־צֹאנ‍וֹ֙ נִפְרָשׁ֔וֹת כֵּ֖ן אֲבַקֵּ֣ר אֶת־צֹאנִ֑‍י

וְ‍הִצַּלְתִּ֣י אֶתְ‍הֶ֗ם מִ‍כָּל־הַ‍מְּקוֹמֹת֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר נָפֹ֣צוּ שָׁ֔ם בְּ‍י֥וֹם עָנָ֖ן וַ‍עֲרָפֶֽל׃

13 וְ‍הוֹצֵאתִ֣י‍ם מִן־הָ‍עַמִּ֗ים וְ‍קִבַּצְתִּי‍ם֙ מִן־הָ֣‍אֲרָצ֔וֹת וַ‍הֲבִיאֹתִ֖י‍ם אֶל־

אַדְמָתָ֑‍ם וּ‍רְעִיתִי‍ם֙ אֶל־הָרֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בָּ‍אֲפִיקִ֕ים וּ‍בְ‍כֹ֖ל מוֹשְׁבֵ֥י הָ‍אָֽרֶץ׃

14 בְּ‍מִרְעֶה־טּוֹב֙ אֶרְעֶ֣ה אֹתָ֔‍ם וּ‍בְ‍הָרֵ֥י מְרֽוֹם־יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל יִהְיֶ֣ה נְוֵ‍הֶ֑ם שָׁ֤ם

תִּרְבַּ֙צְנָה֙ בְּ‍נָ֣וֶה טּ֔וֹב וּ‍מִרְעֶ֥ה שָׁמֵ֛ן תִּרְעֶ֖ינָה אֶל־הָרֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵֽל׃  15 אֲנִ֨י

אֶרְעֶ֤ה צֹאנִ‍י֙ וַ‍אֲנִ֣י אַרְבִּיצֵ֔‍ם נְאֻ֖ם אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִֽה׃  16 אֶת־הָ‍אֹבֶ֤דֶת אֲבַקֵּשׁ֙

וְ‍אֶת־הַ‍נִּדַּ֣חַת אָשִׁ֔יב וְ‍לַ‍נִּשְׁבֶּ֣רֶת אֶחֱבֹ֔שׁ וְ‍אֶת־הַ‍חוֹלָ֖ה אֲחַזֵּ֑ק וְ‍אֶת־

הַ‍שְּׁמֵנָ֧ה וְ‍אֶת־הַ‍חֲזָקָ֛ה אַשְׁמִ֖יד אֶרְעֶ֥‍נָּה בְ‍מִשְׁפָּֽט׃

20 לָ‍כֵ֗ן כֹּ֥ה אָמַ֛ר אֲדֹנָ֥י יְהוִ֖ה אֲלֵי‍הֶ֑ם

הִנְ‍נִי־אָ֕נִי וְ‍שָֽׁפַטְתִּי֙ בֵּֽין־שֶׂ֣ה בִרְיָ֔ה וּ‍בֵ֥ין שֶׂ֖ה רָזָֽה׃  21 יַ֗עַן בְּ‍צַ֤ד וּ‍בְ‍כָתֵף֙

תֶּהְדֹּ֔פוּ וּ‍בְ‍קַרְנֵי‍כֶ֥ם תְּנַגְּח֖וּ כָּל־הַ‍נַּחְל֑וֹת עַ֣ד אֲשֶׁ֧ר הֲפִיצוֹתֶ֛ם אוֹתָ֖‍נָה

אֶל־הַ‍חֽוּצָ‍ה׃  22 וְ‍הוֹשַׁעְתִּ֣י לְ‍צֹאנִ֔‍י וְ‍לֹֽא־תִהְיֶ֥ינָה ע֖וֹד לָ‍בַ֑ז וְ‍שָׁ֣פַטְתִּ֔י

בֵּ֥ין שֶׂ֖ה לָ‍שֶֽׂה׃  23 וַ‍הֲקִמֹתִ֨י עֲלֵי‍הֶ֜ם רֹעֶ֤ה אֶחָד֙ וְ‍רָעָ֣ה אֶתְ‍הֶ֔ן אֵ֖ת עַבְדִּ֣‍י

דָוִ֑יד ה֚וּא יִרְעֶ֣ה אֹתָ֔‍ם וְ‍הֽוּא־יִהְיֶ֥ה לָ‍הֶ֖ן לְ‍רֹעֶֽה׃  24 וַ‍אֲנִ֣י יְהוָ֗ה

אֶהְיֶ֤ה לָ‍הֶם֙ לֵֽ‍אלֹהִ֔ים וְ‍עַבְדִּ֥‍י דָוִ֖ד נָשִׂ֣יא בְ‍תוֹכָ֑‍ם אֲנִ֥י יְהוָ֖ה דִּבַּֽרְתִּי׃

“For thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

“Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD to them: Behold, I, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. Because you push with side and shoulder, and thrust at all the weak with your horns, till you have scattered them abroad, I will rescue my flock; they shall no longer be a prey. And I will judge between sheep and sheep. And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd. And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.” (ESV)

Epistle 

1 Corinthians 15:20–28

15:20 Νυνὶ δὲ Χριστὸς ἐγήγερται ἐκ νεκρῶν ἀπαρχὴ τῶν κεκοιμημένων.  15:21 ἐπειδὴ γὰρ δι᾽ ἀνθρώπου θάνατος, καὶ δι᾽ ἀνθρώπου ἀνάστασις νεκρῶν.  15:22 ὥσπερ γὰρ ἐν τῷ Ἀδὰμ πάντες ἀποθνῄσκουσιν, οὕτως καὶ ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ πάντες ζῳοποιηθήσονται.  15:23 ἕκαστος δὲ ἐν τῷ ἰδίῳ τάγματι·  ἀπαρχὴ Χριστός, ἔπειτα οἱ τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐν τῇ παρουσίᾳ αὐτοῦ, 15:24 εἶτα τὸ τέλος, ὅταν παραδιδῷ τὴν βασιλείαν τῷ θεῷ καὶ πατρί, ὅταν καταργήσῃ πᾶσαν ἀρχὴν καὶ πᾶσαν ἐξουσίαν καὶ δύναμιν.  15:25 δεῖ γὰρ αὐτὸν βασιλεύειν ἄχρι οὗ θῇ πάντας τοὺς ἐχθροὺς ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ.  15:26 ἔσχατος ἐχθρὸς καταργεῖται ὁ θάνατος·  15:27 πάντα γὰρ ὑπέταξεν ὑπὸ τοὺς πόδας αὐτοῦ.  ὅταν δὲ εἴπῃ ὅτι πάντα ὑποτέτακται, δῆλον ὅτι ἐκτὸς τοῦ ὑποτάξαντος αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα.  15:28 ὅταν δὲ ὑποταγῇ αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα, τότε [καὶ] αὐτὸς ὁ υἱὸς ὑποταγήσεται τῷ ὑποτάξαντι αὐτῷ τὰ πάντα, ἵνα ᾖ ὁ θεὸς [τὰ] πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. (ESV)

Holy Gospel 

Matthew 25:31–46

25:31 Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐν τῇ δόξῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ πάντες οἱ ἄγγελοι μετ᾽ αὐτοῦ, τότε καθίσει ἐπὶ θρόνου δόξης αὐτοῦ·  25:32 καὶ συναχθήσονται ἔμπροσθεν αὐτοῦ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη, καὶ ἀφορίσει αὐτοὺς ἀπ᾽ ἀλλήλων, ὥσπερ ὁ ποιμὴν ἀφορίζει τὰ πρόβατα ἀπὸ τῶν ἐρίφων, 25:33 καὶ στήσει τὰ μὲν πρόβατα ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ, τὰ δὲ ἐρίφια ἐξ εὐωνύμων.  25:34 τότε ἐρεῖ ὁ βασιλεὺς τοῖς ἐκ δεξιῶν αὐτοῦ, Δεῦτε οἱ εὐλογημένοι τοῦ πατρός μου, κληρονομήσατε τὴν ἡτοιμασμένην ὑμῖν βασιλείαν ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου.  25:35 ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν, ἐδίψησα καὶ ἐποτίσατέ με, ξένος ἤμην καὶ συνηγάγετέ με, 25:36 γυμνὸς καὶ περιεβάλετέ με, ἠσθένησα καὶ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με, ἐν φυλακῇ ἤμην καὶ ἤλθατε πρός με.  25:37 τότε ἀποκριθήσονται αὐτῷ οἱ δίκαιοι λέγοντες, Κύριε, πότε σε εἴδομεν πεινῶντα καὶ ἐθρέψαμεν, ἢ διψῶντα καὶ ἐποτίσαμεν;  25:38 πότε δέ σε εἴδομεν ξένον καὶ συνηγάγομεν, ἢ γυμνὸν καὶ περιεβάλομεν;  25:39 πότε δέ σε εἴδομεν ἀσθενοῦντα ἢ ἐν φυλακῇ καὶ ἤλθομεν πρός σε;  25:40 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ βασιλεὺς ἐρεῖ αὐτοῖς, Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐφ᾽ ὅσον ἐποιήσατε ἑνὶ τούτων τῶν ἀδελφῶν μου τῶν ἐλαχίστων, ἐμοὶ ἐποιήσατε.

25:41 Τότε ἐρεῖ καὶ τοῖς ἐξ εὐωνύμων, Πορεύεσθε ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ [οἱ] κατηραμένοι εἰς τὸ πῦρ τὸ αἰώνιον τὸ ἡτοιμασμένον τῷ διαβόλῳ καὶ τοῖς ἀγγέλοις αὐτοῦ.  25:42 ἐπείνασα γὰρ καὶ οὐκ ἐδώκατέ μοι φαγεῖν, ἐδίψησα καὶ οὐκ ἐποτίσατέ με, 25:43 ξένος ἤμην καὶ οὐ συνηγάγετέ με, γυμνὸς καὶ οὐ περιεβάλετέ με, ἀσθενὴς καὶ ἐν φυλακῇ καὶ οὐκ ἐπεσκέψασθέ με.  25:44 τότε ἀποκριθήσονται καὶ αὐτοὶ λέγοντες, Κύριε, πότε σε εἴδομεν πεινῶντα ἢ διψῶντα ἢ ξένον ἢ γυμνὸν ἢ ἀσθενῆ ἢ ἐν φυλακῇ καὶ οὐ διηκονήσαμέν σοι;  25:45 τότε ἀποκριθήσεται αὐτοῖς λέγων, Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐφ᾽ ὅσον οὐκ ἐποιήσατε ἑνὶ τούτων τῶν ἐλαχίστων, οὐδὲ ἐμοὶ ἐποιήσατε.  25:46 καὶ ἀπελεύσονται οὗτοι εἰς κόλασιν αἰώνιον, οἱ δὲ δίκαιοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (ESV)


Commentary

1 Corinthians 15:20–28

The following is from 1 Corinthians, Concordia Commentary series, by Gregory J. Lockwood

“The fact that death is our spiritual enemy has immense significance for Christian existence and Christian funerals. Sometimes at funerals one hears comments such as these: ‘We shouldn’t be sad; we should only rejoice. This is a victory celebration.’ To be sure, there is a sense in which that is true. But death, the last enemy and sign of sin’s universal dominion over fallen humanity, will not be swallowed up until the Last Day (1 Cor 15:54), and Christians are free to grieve at the death of their loved ones. God never intended the pain of separation and the heartache that attends death. That sharp pain of grief can be an entirely appropriate manifestation of the biblical understanding that death is the enemy that has not been fully overcome. And so Christians may and should mourn at funerals—but not as those who have no hope (1 Thess 4:13–18).” (p. 571)


Scripture quotations are from the ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Written by

Mason Vieth

Mason Vieth is a recent graduate of Concordia University Chicago and is currently a first-year student at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He interned in the professional and academic editorial department at Concordia Publishing House in the summer of 2017. Some of the projects he worked on include Who Was Martin Luther?, CPH’s Academic Blog, as well as other academic and professional resources.

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