23rd Sunday after Pentecost | November 17
5 Some of his disciples began talking about the majestic stonework of the Temple and the memorial decorations on the walls. But Jesus said, 6 “The time is coming when all these things will be completely demolished. Not one stone will be left on top of another!”
7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will all this happen? What sign will show us that these things are about to take place?”
8 He replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and saying, ‘The time has come!’ But don’t believe them. 9 And when you hear of wars and insurrections, don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place first, but the end won’t follow immediately.” 10 Then he added, “Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and there will be famines and plagues in many lands, and there will be terrifying things and great miraculous signs from heaven.
12 “But before all this occurs, there will be a time of great persecution. You will be dragged into synagogues and prisons, and you will stand trial before kings and governors because you are my followers. 13 But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. 14 So don’t worry in advance about how to answer the charges against you, 15 for I will give you the right words and such wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to reply or refute you! 16 Even those closest to you—your parents, brothers, relatives, and friends—will betray you. They will even kill some of you. 17 And everyone will hate you because you are my followers. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish! 19 By standing firm, you will win your souls.
Luke 21:5-19 New Living Translation (NLT)
Interesting that this passage comes up this week. At McCrae Brook, I have been preaching a series called Grown-up Faith. We have been looking at the big questions people have about Christianity. It’s been a great series. One of the last big questions we are going to ask is, How will it all end? I think all of us want to know what happens after we die – I think all of us want to know how the world as we know it will end.
The disciples are marveling at the architecture around them. If you’ve ever been to one of the great cathedrals of the world, I think you can understand the feeling. Several years ago, we attended Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, Ontario. It is gorgeous.
The picture doesn’t really do it justice. There is a majesty and awe in entering the facility. I sense that is what was happening with the disciples. As they admire the architecture, Jesus starts teaching. He tells them that the temple and the decorations will be demolished.
The disciples are astonished and begin asking questions. “When will this happen? How will this happen? What are the signs?
Jesus then warns the disciples what to look for. He warns them of false Messiahs. We might even use the word anti-christ. He also gives them several signs that the end will be coming. In the midst of this, Jesus reminds them that when they are dragged into the courts and trials to use the opportunity to spread the gospel and tell people about Jesus.
But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me.Luke 21:13
While not mentioning the Holy Spirit, Jesus reminds his disciples that they will know what to say – giving them the words – and wisdom – so that their opponents will stop! How cool is that?
Jesus reminds his disciples that in the last days, people will betray us – even our family – they might even want to kill us – they will hate us simply for following the name of Jesus.
WHEN ALL OF THIS HAPPENS – STAND FIRM! – vs18
When you stand firm, you will win souls for Jesus. Two-thousand years have passed since Jesus admonished his disciples. The admonition still stands. We need to stand firm, so that our testimony will be heard and souls will be one to the Kingdom.
Who knows what will happen in the future, but God knows. We need to remember if the time was short then – the time is even shorter now. We need a sense of urgency to tell people about the saving work of Jesus!