Signs of the End (Lent 37-2019)

The Twelve had come to accept that Jesus was not in a hurry to overthrow the Romans even if maybe one of the Twelve was not committed to stay the course in the way of the other Eleven.  Perhaps it was Judas’ impatience.  Maybe his heart had long been elsewhere.  

Who knows when a man’s heart changes, and a growing disillusionment replaces faith?  Jesus knew the answer, and it grieved Him that part of the plan would include one “doomed to destruction.”

If the end wasn’t coming soon, at least Eleven who would stay the course wanted to know how to know when it was coming. 

Luke 21::7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”  

It was not a question arising from faith, but from somewhere else.  Human planning? Curiosity? Countdown? Jesus would not answer the former “when” question, but He’d outline the signs.  In a series of warnings and encouragements,

Luke 21:8 Jesus replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.  9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”  10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.  12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.  13 And so you will bear testimony to me.  14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.  

Think about it: 

  • Why would Jesus give them both warnings and encouragements as it relates to the signs? 
  • Read verses 16-36.  What are the warning signs? 
  • Encouragement consists of telling the faithful that if they stand firm, they will win life (v 19), that the times of the Gentiles needed to be fulfilled (v 24), Jesus will come in a cloud with power and great glory (v 27) and if they will be always on the watch prayerfully… “you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (v 36)  Why was it important to include the encouragement following each of the warnings? 
  • Had He offered only encouragement without the warnings, what might have happened to their faith?  Had He offered only warnings without the encouragement, what might have happened to their faith?

Thank You, Father, for creating a resilience in our faith through trials and testing.  Thank You for salvation and rescuing us from the powers of evil in this world.  Give us strength to persevere in prayer, more and more as the days draw near to Your return, Lord Jesus.  Amen.

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Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on April 17, 2019

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