5 And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6 "As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down." 7 And they asked him, "Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign when this is about to take place?" 8 And he said, "Take heed that you are not led astray; for many will come in my name, saying, `I am he!' and, `The time is at hand!' Do not go after them. 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified; for this must first take place, but the end will not be at once." 10 Then he said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; 11 there will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences; and there will be terrors and great signs from heaven.
Meditation: How would you respond if someone prophesied that your church would be destroyed? In 1972 a violent earthquake ripped through the center of Managua and destroyed the great cathedral church. This was only the beginning of the troubles for the tiny nation and Christian community of Nicaragua which suffered great turmoil and loss in the civil war that ensued for more than a decade. Out of the ashes of destruction and the ravages of communism has emerged a humbler and more purified church. God sends many "signs" today pointing not only to his coming judgment, but also to his saving action and mercy. Jesus foretold many signs of God's action and judgment. To the great consternation of the Jews, Jesus prophesied the destruction of their temple at Jerusalem. The Jewish people took great pride in their temple, a marvel of the ancient world. The foretelling of this destruction was a dire judgment in itself. They sought Jesus for a sign that would indicate when this would occur. Jesus admonished them to not seek signs but rather to seek God's kingdom. There will be plenty of signs pointing to God's ultimate judgment -- wars, famines, diseases, earthquakes, etc.
An American judge, named Robert H. Bork, recently wrote a book entitled, Slouching Towards Gomorrah. His message sounds an alarm about the moral crisis and decay of culture which he sees at the end of a millennium. We often don't recognize the moral crisis and spiritual conflict of our age, until something "shakes us up" to the reality of our present condition. The reward for the righteous and the penalty for the unrighteous are not always experienced in this life; but they are sure to come in the day of judgment. There will be persecution, suffering, and difficulties in this age until the Lord comes again. God intends our anticipation of his final judgment to be a powerful deterrent to wrongdoing. God extends grace and mercy to all who will heed his call and his warning. Do you take advantage of this season of grace and mercy to seek God's kingdom and to pursue his will?
"Lord, your grace and mercy abounds even in the midst of turmoil and
destruction. Increase my hunger for your kingdom and help me to be
faithful to your word. May nothing, not even the fear of death or the loss
of all that I have, deter me from seeking you and the coming of your kingdom
with hope and joy."