Hope in the Middle of Calamity

Jesus warns of very difficult times ahead for his people but assures us that, as we trust him, all will be well. 

Luke 21:5 – 19

The destruction of the temple and signs of the end times

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, ‘As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.’

‘Teacher,’ they asked, ‘when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?’

He replied: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, “I am he,” and, “The time is near.” Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.’

10 Then he said to them: ‘Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12 ‘But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

Cross,Jesus,God,Holy Spirit,Daily Devotion,Calamity

Jesus tells the disciples at the beginning of this section that the beautiful temple will be destroyed.  This prompted questions from the disciples about when and what signs will precede this.  Jesus’ answer to those questions provide us with a clear picture of what Christians, in all eras, can expect to encounter in this world. 

Christians have often sought to place all of this at some future time just before the second coming of Jesus. That Jesus was talking about the general Christian experience is demonstrated by the fact that people from many (perhaps all) ages in the past have read this and decided the end is near.  The problems described in Jesus’ comments have been the experience of all.  More pertinent, Jesus says here, as his primary statement, “Do not be deceived.” He goes on to say that deceivers will impersonate him and will falsely say the time is near.  His second command is, “Do not go after them.” (verse 8) He then proceeds to say that that while you will hear of disasters of many kinds, “do not be afraid … the end will not come right away.” (verse 9) Piecing that together, Jesus is saying life will be hard as one of his people, some will try to draw people away from normal Christian living because “the end is near”, but we are to live with confidence knowing Jesus will return in God’s good time. 

Our Lord then makes it clear that wars, earthquakes, famines and other problems will take place.  He also provides assurance that there will be fearful persecutions of his people.  He says that his servants will even have family against them and be “hated by all because of my name.” (verse 17) This is a description of the Christian life with hostility for all, at least at some level.  

Within all this there are two points of significance for all of us.  The first is in verse 13, where he says that even in the depths of persecution, they have come “so you will bear testimony to me.”  It is an encouragement to us that when we are being shown hostility, great or small, because we are Christians, it is a time when we will show to our adversaries that we have a glorious saviour.  This is closely tied to our second point of significance which is found in verse 19, “Stand firm and you will win life.”  The world will be hostile to us.  Life will be hard in every respect, but we are to continue to cling to our saviour.  As we live and know that Jesus has perfectly saved us in his life, death and resurrection, that eternal life is both real and assured, we will survive all this.  The union we have with Jesus ensures we will pass through the rigours of life into a blessed eternity.  As we live with that assurance, we will be displaying to the world that Jesus is Lord. 

So, the intent of Jesus here is to assure us that while everything may seem to be against us, the physical world, the authorities, people in general and even family, because we have him, all is well. 

Head: Understand that life as one of God’s people will always be difficult. 

Heart:  Don’t be afraid in difficult trials because the Lord has all in hand. 

Hands: Keep trusting in the Lord and serving him. 

Prayer: Loving Father, thank you that Jesus has so perfectly saved us.  Please give us confidence in the struggles of life that because Jesus is our Lord that all is well for eternity. In Jesus’ name. Amen. 

A song to listen to: Grace Awaiting Me

David Johnston 

Living Church – Creek Road