Incentives to Persevere
Patient One, sometimes the past has a stranglehold on today. Help me to unwrap the past and let Your call to the future lead me on.
Read Luke 21:5–28
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Trust means to hope where we cannot see (Heb. 11:1). We look to Jesus, who promises to return one day in great power and glory. In the meantime, we are to serve and wait with great expectation.
The Temple in Jerusalem was the center of Jewish cultural, national and religious identity. It was the presence of God on earth and firm evidence of his election of the Jewish nation as his people. So Jesus’ listeners are stunned when he says its days are numbered. He then goes on to talk about the fall of Jerusalem and what would happen in the days leading up to his return to reign in victory.
These verses are fraught with difficulty. Perhaps a key to interpreting them is to remember that Jesus is not giving us a timetable but is alerting his followers to the fact that the times ahead would be hard—and giving help for how to cope. Verse 8 is an important verse—there will be hardships and persecutions (10–12), but there is also a danger of being deceived and hence the need to keep watch and pray (see also verse 36). Jesus’ words have carried reassurance for believers in every century as to how they are to react when life is hard. He promises wisdom and words in the midst of opposition (13–15); their eternal safety is secure (18,19). They are to live and preach the Gospel to a world which often rejects Jesus.
Jesus assures us that one day deliverance will come, even though events may be painful and even our families may oppose us (16). Disciples need to have a resolve to endure, which can grow in the face of God’s assurance that he will do what he has promised and come back as the supreme king (27,28). Commitment to Jesus is costly and may even lead to the ultimate sacrifice (16), but this supreme assurance of Jesus’ return should equip us and enable us to trust in God’s control.
How do you respond when problems or difficulties are present or are certainly going to happen in the future?
Lord, thank You for the hope You give to Your children. May I look to You and trust in Your power over all circumstances.