Today’s text predicts wars, uprisings, earthquakes, famines, and disease. Jesus says that we will be persecuted and imprisoned, but that we will have “opportunity to testify” to our faith in him.
The author of Luke says that we do not need to be concerned about what we will say, though, because Jesus will fill our hearts and minds and guide our tongues. What Jesus commands from our lips will be enough.
Often, shipmates who have managed to land themselves in trouble must stand before the Commanding Officer, who acts as the judge to determine the consequences for these errant sailors. Typically, the accused have a chance to offer words in defense of their actions. The sailors with a fair amount of courage always have something to say. They open their mouths and all kinds of words issue forth. Commanding Officers can determine easily when they are making up stories and when they are speaking the truth. Sailors’ attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of their superiors are rarely well received.
When our time comes to stand in judgment, all we have to do is speak the truth that will be given to us. Jesus will usher forth truth from our mouths and spirits and not a hair on our heads will perish. If we stand firm, we will not need to offer up convincing stories. The testimony we will give of Jesus will be Jesus’ words. When Jesus speaks, we can rest assured it will always be truth.
God, help us stand firm so that we may win the life you have waiting for us. 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.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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