ENDURE TO THE END
Loving Father, I want to worship you, and open myself to your Word and will. Speak to me now through your Word.
Read MATTHEW 24:1–14
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?”
4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectTake a few moments to pray about one of the major news stories happening right now. Pray for Christian brothers and sisters living through it.
I don’t think Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ question (v 4) was quite what they were looking for. They probably wanted a nice, tidy checklist, with times, dates, and key events. Something they could plan their lives around. Many people are still looking for – and indeed trying to create – this kind of list. They take obscure verses from this section of Matthew, from Daniel’s prophecy (Daniel 9–12), and from Revelation, and try to tie them to world events in order to predict when and how Christ will return.
The point of Jesus’ response seems to be that ‘yes, bad stuff will happen’: it will be both natural and man-made (v 7). Christians will be persecuted to the point of death (v 9) and many will give up their faith (vs 10,12). We certainly see this happening today. So how does Jesus want us to respond?
We find two things in this passage. In verse 13, we are told to ‘stand firm’ or ‘endure’. Endurance isn’t fun or pleasant; it’s about keeping going when things are tough. Jesus never promised life would be easy. He did promise hope for a better life to come. Secondly, Jesus invites us to play a part in sharing his gospel message with those who haven’t heard (v 14).
Pray for anyone you know who is struggling to ‘stand firm’ in faith in the face of their present trials.
Sovereign Lord, the old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”, is easier to say than live. Infuse me with your power and fortitude for whatever lies ahead.
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