Luke is describing in fuller detail the day, “burning like an oven,” that Malachi foretold (Mal. 4:1). He is saying that in that day of calamity, God will provide for his own, so that, even if they die, they will not perish (Luke 21:18).
Jesus’ words comforted his original hearers who would have feared for their lives and livelihood if they joined in the insurrection against Rome that they assumed he was planning. In our own day, the cost of discipleship remains high, but it gains for us two things: the opportunity to bear witness and eternal life.
Jesus is the “sun of righteousness” who brings healing to those who fear the LORD (c.f. Mal. 3:16-17, 4:2a). Just as the sun dispels the darkness of night, so too does Jesus dispel the darkness of gloom, oppression, and injustice. As disciples of Jesus, we must bear witnesses to this “sun” and speak Jesus’ very words to the evil powers of this world. By doing so we gain our lives.
Preached on November 11, 2016 at Holy Trinity Church Inwood.