FAITHFULNESS IS COSTLY
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.
Open your heart to hear deep truths from God’s Word today. Expect to be stirred to action for those who need our prayers and God’s protection.
The disciples of Jesus were clearly awestruck by the magnificence of the temple of Jerusalem. Located 200 feet above the Kidron valley and said to have taken up a sixth of the city, it dominated the skyline. So Jesus’ prophecy that it would be brought to ruin must have startled them enormously. Even more, its destruction (in AD 70) was to foreshadow many other kinds of destruction. Wars, earthquakes, catastrophes, and famines would multiply in future times.
Disasters and political conflicts were not the only events which Jesus foretold. For the disciples, the predictions of severe persecution and suffering were closer to home and would affect not only them but followers of Jesus over centuries to come. Hatred and martyrdom would confront those who chose the way of Christ; the integrity of the church itself could be threatened. The temptation to betray fellow believers, to follow false leaders, and to fall away from the faith would challenge the lives of Christians in the last days.
Jesus was uncompromisingly honest in sharing this prophecy with his disciples. He never promised an easy life for his followers, but warned that they would suffer. Today, his picture is a clear reflection of the plight of millions of believers in the persecuted church. Across the world, many of Jesus’ followers undergo discrimination, persecution, incarceration, and death. Organizations such as Open Doors work to support them and expose the injustices. Yet, as Christ also foretold, the gospel is being preached powerfully across the globe, often through their sufferings. Today, the challenge to Christians everywhere is to stand firm, to identify compassionately with those who suffer, and to work together for God’s kingdom.
In praying for the safety of those who suffer for their faith, explore the websites of Christians who work with them and support them.
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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