The End of Time
Lord, You are the righteous Judge of my words and decisions. May I seek Your will in all things today.
Read Luke 21:5-19
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
Meditate on Christ as Alpha and Omega: there at the beginning, sitting in judgment at the end. What does this mean to you?
We know now that the Jerusalem temple was destroyed by a Roman army in 70 AD, not even 40 years after Jesus spoke these prophetic words. It was a dreadful event, with thousands dead. The world didn’t come to an end, but it marked the beginning of a long and agonizing scattering of the Jewish people.
The persecution of Christians had already begun. The prophecy about the end of the world, which seemed so immediate to the early Christians, still stands. Do we still live with that possibility, or has the immediacy of it totally vanished? How many times have you heard that the signs of the end are here, and yet it hasn’t happened the following week, or month? What can we take from this reading that will help us live for that day, while not abandoning the long view? There are some people reading these notes who may face real and dangerous persecution; for others the hostility may be strongly felt, but it won’t result in physical harm, and probably no more than a little social awkwardness.
In both situations we need to testify and, as we have seen with Paul’s story, there will be opportunities, sometimes in influential circles. The advice of Jesus is to trust the Holy Spirit. The promise of v. 15 is that the Spirit will give wisdom, the kind of wisdom that expresses itself with an authority and coherence that will transcend the results of any effort that we might have put in. This is not advice to give up on sermon or lesson preparation! But we can and should take comfort in recognizing that in extreme situations we are strengthened by an omnipotent God.
Pray for Christians in prison or under physical attack for their faith; ask for the Spirit to give them the words to say that will convince and convert their attackers.
Lord, I pray for my brothers and sisters who live and serve in tough places. Fortify and use them, and may their courage challenge me to greater devotion to You.
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