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In the classic movie Braveheart, Mel Gibson plays William Wallace, a Scotsman living under the tyrannical rule of the English. After the death of his wife, he begins to lead the Scottish people in rebellion against the English monarchy and rallies his countrymen to fight against the injustices they suffer. He is a fierce warrior and an even greater leader and motivator. Part of what makes him such a great leader is that he fights for a cause. He has seen and experienced firsthand the evil of their British overlords, and he wants to secure his people’s freedom from oppression. In the end, the Scottish people gain their freedom because of his efforts.
It is easy to imagine God’s judgment being like that of an offended monarch, so that when we imagine God’s judgment we picture something akin to the English king in Braveheart. The people He rules over have offended Him and rebelled against Him, so He is coming to earth to pay them back for the things they’ve done that He doesn’t like. While there is truth to this (God is in fact king, we have rebelled against Him, and He will come in judgment on His enemies), Jesus’ return in judgment will be much more like William Wallace’s fight against the British in one crucial way. Rather than being the one who oppresses, Jesus will come to free His people from oppression. In this world, we are oppressed by sin, Satan, and the world. When we look at the world around us, we see evil everywhere. The brokenness of the world is seen in the atrocities committed by men and women throughout history and around the world, the Orlando shooting being one of the worst and most recent. But it is also seen in the sinful ways that we treat our friends and family.
This is why Jesus must come back in judgment. Revelation 19:11 makes it clear that the fact that Jesus comes back in judgment is a sign of His righteousness. In our culture, the idea that God would bring judgment on the world is seen as a black mark against Him. The question is commonly asked, “If God is good and righteous, then how could He judge humanity in wrath?” However, in the face of human sin and depravity, this question can easily be flipped around, “How could He not judge the world in wrath?” We cheer on characters like William Wallace who fight to put an end to evil in the world, and we should have the same response when we hear of Jesus coming in judgment. Jesus comes in judgment because it is only through judgment that He can rid the world of sin, evil, sickness, and death. Therefore, we should long not only for His coming but also for His judgment, because it means and end to all the pain and misery that we experience every day. And we do so knowing that it is only by God’s grace through Jesus’ blood on the cross that we who follow Him will escape this wrath, which we also deserve.
Scripture: Revelation 19:1-21
Sermon: Your Warrior-King Comes