Holy Week, Part II
In our Facebook video last evening, we talked about that on Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus was teaching the disciples and the people at the temple when the chief priests and the scribes came up and began to question him. They asked him what authority he had to be preaching his gospel. And Jesus answered them by telling them several parables, which predicted the destruction of the temple and the coming of the end of the world.
We naturally ask questions like: “why did it have to happen this way? Why him, why them, why us, why now?” Often, we don’t know how God is going to do new things because he works in unusual or unexpected ways. And Jesus, when facing the same questions that we ask ourselves, determined that “all he can do is to trust God, to commit his cause to the Father, and to wait in utter faith” (from Christians at the Cross by N.T. Wright). If Jesus had to wait in total faith – why would we expect God to act differently with us? He requires us to wait on him in the unknown and despairing moments of our life.
Scripture: Matthew 24:1-13 NLT
As Jesus was leaving the Temple grounds, his disciples pointed out to him the various Temple buildings. But he responded, “Do you see all these buildings? I tell you the truth, they will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!” Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.
Jesus predicts a troubling future: wars and rumors of wars, nation fighting against nation, violence, and death. What are the disciples supposed to do in the meantime? Keep watch! Notice what is happening around us and be on the lookout for the return of our Savior, who will deliver us from all evil. Take care not to be fooled. Many will come claiming to be from Jesus. Study the Scriptures. Know the truth. Cultivate the gift of discernment so that we may know what is from God and what is not.
Living Lord, who came to the earth to save sinners, and whose return is certain, give us eyes to see your truth, and faith to trust in you so that we can stand firm, even when life is hard. We pray in your name, Jesus. Amen.