Scripture: Luke 21:20-28
20 "But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that
its desolation has come near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to
the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not
those who are out in the country enter it; 22 for these are days of vengeance,
to fulfil all that is written. 23 Alas for those who are with child and
for those who give suck in those days! For great distress shall be upon
the earth and wrath upon this people; 24 they will fall by the edge of
the sword, and be led captive among all nations; and Jerusalem will be
trodden down by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
25 "And there will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth
distress of nations in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves,
26 men fainting with fear and with foreboding of what is coming on the
world; for the powers of the
heavens will be shaken. 27 And then they will see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to take place, look up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near."
Meditation: Do you believe that the world as we know it is going to end just as Jesus foretold? Jesus' prophetic description of the end of time, the day of judgment, and the destruction of Jerusalem was not new to the people of Israel. The prophets had foretold these events many centuries before. Behold the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger to make the earth a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it (Isaiah 13:9-13; see also Joel 2:1-2; Amos 5:18-20; Zephaniah 1:14-18). Jesus warns of the imminent destruction of Jerusalem for the rejection of the gospel. According the historian Josephus, over a million inhabitants died when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem with its temple in 70 A.D. Jerusalem's vengeance resulted from her indifference to the visitation of God, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ (Luke 19:44).
Jesus also speaks about the judgment at the end of the world. Only spiritual blindness can keep us from recognizing the obvious signs of approaching disaster which awaits the day of judgment for those who refuse to heed God's word of grace and salvation. Jesus was completely honest. He told his disciples what it would cost to follow him. And he promised that he would never leave them alone, even in their time of tribulation. The saints and martyrs who underwent torment and death made their prisons a temple of praise and their scaffolds a throne to the glory of God. They knew the saving presence of Christ with them in all circumstances. Jesus offers us safety in the face of earth's threats. Not a hair of your head will perish (Luke 21:18). The disciple who walks with Christ may lose his body but not his soul.
The greatest gift we have to be thankful for is our redemption and adoption as children of God. Jesus Christ has redeemed us from slavery to sin, from fear of death, and from final destruction. We can be thankful because our hope is in heaven and in the promise that Jesus will return to fully establish his reign of peace and righteousness. Jesus speaks of the second coming as a known fact, a for certain event we can expect to take place. This coming will be marked by signs that all will recognize; signs which will strike terror in those unprepared and wonder in those who are ready to meet the Lord. When the Lord returns he will establish justice and righteousness and he will vindicate all who have been faithful to him. His judgment is a sign of hope for those who trust in him. Do you hope in God and in his promise to return again to establish his reign over all the earth?
"Lord, fill me with gratitude for the gift of redemption and increase
my hope and longing for your return again in glory. May that day bring
joy to my heart rather than sorrow. Help me to serve you faithfully and
to make the best use of my time now in the light of your coming again."