SAFER THAN HOUSES
Thank You, God, that You are faithful and true.
Read Luke 21:5–28
The Destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times
5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”
8 He 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. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
20 “When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. 26 People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”
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.
ReflectDo world events leave you anxious or depressed? Or are you able to “lift up your head” to look for your redemption (28)?
This is a completely different take on trusting in material things. Despite Jesus’ condemnation of the activities going on in the Temple, the disciples can’t resist admiring its physical beauty. The building complex, though unfinished after about 50 years’ work, is truly wonderful. But what they see, Jesus says, will be reduced to a pile of rubble (6)! And that’s not all. Jesus warns of all kinds of distress and upheaval to come – wars, famines, natural disasters, and persecution. His followers must “stand firm” (19).
Is Jesus’ intention to spread fear and uncertainty? No, his purpose is to prepare and equip, and to give the gift of “long-sightedness.” Whatever happens – and all through history there have been truly terrible events when the innocent suffered and evil seemed to have the upper hand – the believer need not fear. We have a Father watching over us who numbers the very hairs on our heads (Luke 12:7). Our future is secure.
The Temple in Jerusalem represents all that is dependable. But within a few short years it will be razed to the ground. Like the disciples we need to learn to look beyond the material, to what is safer than houses.
Where is there severe turmoil in the world today? What is an issue that presses on your heart? Commit to pray for the people in the affected areas daily this week.
Jesus, I pray for those suffering the effects of war, famine, flood, earthquake. Help me to “stand firm” in the face of all that’s happening,
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