Right before it storms, the clouds get really dark. It gets a little colder. The birds stop chirping. The wind picks up.
In today's lesson Jesus tell about signs that the end of the world is cominng. A whole lot scarier than a simple storm. Check it out:
1 As Jesus was leaving the temple, one of his disciples said to him, “Look, Teacher! What massive stones! What magnificent buildings!”
2 “Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”
3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are all about to be fulfilled?”
5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 6Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end
is still to come. 8Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.
9 “You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11 Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.
12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 Everyone will hate you because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
That sounds scary.
False Christs. Wars. Rumors of Wars. Earthquakes. Famines. Persecutions against Christians. Family members hating family members because of Jesus. It certainly doesn’t sound pleasant
But that’s not all. The truth is that these things are already happening. Check out the long list of people who have claimed to be Christ in the Wikipedia article here. Go to CNN and read about wars in the Middle East and rumors of wars in Crimea. Check out this website that tracks earthquakes as they happen here. Besides the economic famine in America, take a look at the results of famine in Africa here. Take to the blogs to read about Christians being ridiculed in the Western world and thrown into prison in the East. Don't miss this article about Christians who were killed during worship just yesterday!
Then there’s that last one. Family members hating family members. I could give you a link of Facebook posts from people who are upset with me for spreading the message of Jesus. But you don't need to read about my life for proof. You feel it on a daily basis. From long distance relatives. From people within your own home.
This sounds so scary. Why would anyone want to be a Christian during these times?
Listen to the end of verse 13 again: The one who stands firm to the end will be saved.
Because our Savior Jesus Christ is real. He defeated our sin. He destroyed death. He conquered the devil. He thwarts all imposters. He is the God of war. Earthquakes and famines don’t scare him. Persecutions affect him none. He can take anything angry scientists, vicious bloggers, and vitriol governments can hurl against him.
And so can you.
In Jesus, you will be saved. He will hold you firm to the end. He is our Mighty Fortress! Unlike those temple walls that came crashing down in...Jesus will never crash. His church will never fail. It will remain firm – solidly on Christ until we reach the peaceful streets of heaven.
Suddenly, in the strong arms of Jesus, life doesn't sound so scary anymore.
PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, bear me up. Keep me firm in faith in the midst of very scary things. Help me to cling to you through devotions, Bible readings, and time in your word. Keep me from neglecting church where I am built up by songs, hymns, spiritual songs, messages of your love, your Word, and prayers from my friends in Jesus. Jesus, be our foundation. Hold us up until the end. Amen.