Week 5: Friday

Read: Luke 21v7–19 

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

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. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 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. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.

Meditate: What is Jesus saying here? How can we meditate on a passage full of such dark and strange stuff? 

First, Jesus is telling the disciples, in symbolic, Old Testament language, that political and military upheavals are going to take place. At the climax the city of Jerusalem itself will be destroyed. The Temple in Jerusalem, of course, had been the place where God’s people had gone to worship him, but now Jesus himself would be the place and the means by which God meets with his people.

Second, Jesus is inviting his followers to face the future with confidence. All sorts of frightening things will happen, but that doesn’t mean that God isn’t in control. We live in a time between the old age and the new one. The already and the not-yet. And that can be an uncomfortable place to be. Jesus says, “Watch out. Do not be frightened. Do not be deceived. For just as God was present in the Temple, I am with you always. Even to the end of the age.”

Pray: Think about those whose faith is struggling by the things going on around them. Pray for them, that God will help them hold on. Talk to God about the things that cause your faith to struggle.

Engage: Give up online social networking for a day [Facebook, Twitter, etc.]