5 Some people were talking about the temple, how it was decorated with beautiful stones and ornaments dedicated to God. Jesus said, 6 “As for the things you are admiring, the time is coming when not even one stone will be left upon another. All will be demolished.”
7 They asked him, “Teacher, when will these things happen? What sign will show that these things are about to happen?”
8 Jesus said, “Watch out that you aren’t deceived. Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I’m the one!’ and ‘It’s time!’ Don’t follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. These things must happen first, but the end won’t happen immediately.”
10 Then Jesus said to them, “Nations and kingdoms will fight against each other. 11 There will be great earthquakes and wide-scale food shortages and epidemics. There will also be terrifying sights and great signs in the sky. 12 But before all this occurs, they will take you into custody and harass you because of your faith. They will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will provide you with an opportunity to testify. 14 Make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance. 15 I’ll give you words and wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to counter or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed by your parents, brothers and sisters, relatives, and friends. They will execute some of you. 17 Everyone will hate you because of my name. 18 Still, not a hair on your heads will be lost. 19 By holding fast, you will gain your lives.
How many “end of the worlds” have I lived through at this point? 2? 3? There was the whole year 2000 thing and the December 2012 thing. Every generation thinks it’s them, and there’s reason why. Jesus talks about war and natural disasters. Every generation has experienced these things, devastation has caused so much damage from before the time of Christ to today. It’s not hard to imagine that such horrible occurrences are the end.
In Jesus’ warning, He makes it clear that this is unpredictable, and though our hearts may grow heavy with sorrow, to not get caught up in thinking this is the end. We spend so much time being overwhelmed by how much pain there is in the world, we can get distracted from keeping our eyes on the kingdom.
Does this sound familiar? You turn off the news because it’s too much. You state to friends that you’re just not going to talk about such-and-such topic. You get a full night’s sleep but feel exhausted. Any of these ringing a bell? Our eyes go down instead of up. But in Jesus’s words, we hear His plea to do the work now, not because the “end is nigh” but because more likely it’s not and people still need us. With goodness and love and hope we can bring glimpses of God’s kingdom to those who need it today.
by Rachel Callender
For Pondering & Prayer
In the beginning of this text, it talks about the beautiful ornaments of faith but how they are not what brings people to God. They will not last forever. What “ornaments” live in your life today? What is an “ornament” that can instead bring hope to others?
Prayer: Holy Lord, be with those who are tired and in pain and worn thin. Draw our attention up to You so that we may be a source of Your goodness. Amen.