READY, SET, RUN!
Dear God, save me from thinking that I know you so well I only hear from you what is comfortable and familiar.
Read MATTHEW 24:15–35
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak. 19 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! 20 Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.
22 “If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. 23 At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. 24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 25 See, I have told you ahead of time.
26 “So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. 27 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28 Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.
29 “Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’[b]
30 “Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth[c] will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory.[d] 31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
32 “Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near. 33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it[e] is near, right at the door. 34 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
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.
ReflectThink of some of the biblical names for Jesus: Emmanuel, Shepherd, Redeemer, Light, Friend, etc. Thank him that he is all of these to you.
This is one of those passages of Scripture that we Christians tend either to have strong opinions about – or completely ignore because we don’t understand it. The reference to Daniel in verse 15 can be found in Daniel 9:27, 11:31, and 12:11. Daniel’s prophecy is clearly about the desecration of the temple in Jerusalem which took place in 168 BC. This then leads to the interpretation that Jesus is predicting the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem that took place in 70 AD, when Christians did indeed flee to the hills (v 16). However, others argue that this passage – and those in Daniel – refer to the end of this age, when Christ will return. Whatever your stance (or if you haven’t thought about it), Jesus is teaching us here to be aware of what is going on around us (vs 32,33) and to be ready to move in whatever way is necessary (vs 16–20).
If there’s one thing the Coronavirus pandemic taught us, it’s to hold our plans and our normality lightly. Things may change at any moment. You won’t always have time to go back for your cloak (vs 17,18). In a world that is constantly changing, the only thing we can truly depend on are the words of Jesus (v 35).
Meditate on the words of Matthew 28:20b: ‘And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age!’
Lord, I am reminded today that one of the certainties of life is change. So, I renew my trust in the Rock of Ages, the Lord Jesus Christ, who never changes.
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