This is the beginning of the end for Jesus, and Jesus knows it. Jesus’ contemporaries believe that those nearing death have an extra ability to see things more clearly. Nearing death, they think, is akin to being nearer to God. In such close proximity to the Divine, folks can make sense of what is going to happen to the people close to them.
It is imperative for the dying to relay important information regarding the future of their loved ones. Jesus loves his small community of disciples, so he tells them that the Temple will crumble and that other people will come around claiming to be him.
We have two points to consider today. First, simply by reading Jesus’ warning, we are included among his close associates—ones whom Jesus loves. Jesus offers us this warning because he loves us and wants us to be informed of future events that might affect us. He sees that our faithfulness will be challenged and everything we have understood so far will turn into chaos. Deceivers will come and try to pull us away from what we as Christ-followers know to be true.
Second, even though many people are swayed by those who predict the end times, as members of Jesus’ close associates we can rest knowing that they have no power over us or our hearts. When we hear deceivers talking about end times, it is easy to get tangled up emotionally and spiritually. But Jesus’ instruction is simple: Do not follow them. Predictors of the future are nothing new, and they have often been wrong.
God, in you and you alone will we be free of the deceivers. Thank you for taking the fear out of our hearts. Amen.
This week we read two passages from the prophet Isaiah. In the first, God promises a total restoration, a new heaven and a new earth— a theme repeated in Revelation 21. The new Jerusalem will be filled with joy and prosperity. Isaiah 12 offers thanksgiving to God for the gift of salvation. God’s praise will be proclaimed among many nations. In the epistle, Paul chastises a lazy faction among the Thessalonians. This passage has been misapplied as teaching against providing assistance to the poor, but Paul’s target is not the poor; it is those who can provide for themselves but fail to do so because they say they are too focused on waiting for Jesus. In Luke, Jesus foretells future turmoil for Jerusalem at the hands of the Romans.
Read Isaiah 65:17-25. How can you play a part in Isaiah’s vision for God’s people? When do you have to accept that only God can usher in this vision? How do you know the difference between these two situations?
Read Isaiah 12. How can your words be life-changing for others?
Read 2 Thessalonians 3:6-13. Who has mentored you in the faith? How has their guidance kept you disciplined and helped you grow?
Read Luke 21:5-19. How do you speak the truth of Jesus to those who say the end is near?
Respond by posting a prayer.
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