Holy Week: Tuesday

In Holy Week by Stuart Owens

As some were talking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, “These things that you see—the days will come when not one stone will be left on another that will not be thrown down.”

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

Then he said, “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Don’t follow them. When you hear of wars and rebellions, don’t be alarmed. Indeed, it is necessary that these things take place first, but the end won’t come right away.”

10 Then he told them: “Nation will be raised up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be violent earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you. They will hand you over to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to bear witness. 14 Therefore make up your minds not to prepare your defense ahead of time, 15 for I will give you such words and a wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will even be betrayed by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends. They will kill some of you. 17 You will be hated by everyone because of my name, 18 but not a hair of your head will be lost. 19 By your endurance, gain your lives.

20 “When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that its desolation has come near. 21 Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains. Those inside the city must leave it, and those who are in the country must not enter it, 22 because these are days of vengeance to fulfill all the things that are written. 23 Woe to pregnant women and nursing mothers in those days, for there will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will be killed by the sword and be led captive into all the nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

25 “Then there will be signs in the sun, moon, and stars; and there will be anguish on the earth among nations bewildered by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26 People will faint from fear and expectation of the things that are coming on the world, because the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 But when these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.”

29 Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they put out leaves you can see for yourselves and recognize that summer is already near. 31 In the same way, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

34 “Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly 35 like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. 36 But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Luke 21:5-36, CSB

In this world you will have trouble, but take heart, Jesus has overcome the world. Isn’t that a word that you and I ought to find peace in? These are hard days. COVID-19 has disrupted everything about life as we know it and it doesn’t appear that there is an end in sight. The virus may go away soon, but what about the long-term economic, societal, and physical impact?

But it’s not just the coronavirus that reminds us that we have trouble in this world. What about the 6.5 magnitude earthquake that happened in Idaho last week? What about the missiles that North Korea launched into the ocean last month? What about the reality that your neighbor lost their job? Or that at the snap of a finger we can lose a loved one to a car crash?

Life is hard and in this world we will have trouble but we can take heart because Jesus has overcome the world.

It appears, from Luke 21, that there isn’t a nation or kingdom that will be void of conflict, there isn’t a rock that’s free from the possibility of a violent earthquake tearing it in half, and there isn’t farmland, or neighborhood, safe from famine and plague. It’s also clear that there isn’t a Christian that’s safe from the possibility of being persecuted for the hope they have in Jesus. Disaster, conflict, pain, and oppression. It’s coming for us whether we’re ready, or not.

But take heart, Jesus has overcome the world.

There will be a day when Jesus makes all things right–He wipes away every tear from our eye, there will be no more pain, and no more evil. There will be no more disaster, or plague, or fighting. There will be no more job loss, sickness, or death. It will be peaceful, holy, and worshipful.

One day, Jesus will crack the sky and make good on His promise to overcome the world. So what do we do now?

We trust His words that will never pass away, we be on guard so our minds are not dulled, we stay alert and pray that we may have the strength to stand before the Son of Man. And most importantly, we place our hope in the One who was, is, and is to come.

So join me, as I look to God for help. It’s clear to us in this passage that God will leave no stone unturned in the fight to get our attention, so let’s pay attention to Him today.