Today’s Lectio Divina: Luke 21: 5-11 (MsgB)
One day people were standing around talking about the Temple, remarking how beautiful it was, the splendor of its stonework and memorial gifts. Jesus said, “All this you’re admiring so much—the time is coming when every stone in that building will end up in a heap of rubble.” They asked Him, “Teacher, when is this going to happen? What clue will we get that it’s about to take place?” He said, “Watch out for the doomsday deceivers. Many leaders are going to show up with forged identities claiming, ‘I’m the One,’ or, ‘The end is near.’ Don’t fall for any of that. When you hear of wars and uprisings, keep your head and don’t panic. This is routine history and no sign of the end.” He went on, “Nation will fight nation and ruler fight ruler, over and over. Huge earthquakes will occur in various places. There will be famines. You’ll think at times that the very sky is falling.”
Eschatology. The study of the end.
From the days of Jesus to this very day, every generation is enamored with ‘the end.’ The end of days. The end of life. The end of this planet. The end.
Here in Luke’s gospel, we find people gathering in the Temple of Jerusalem to listen to Jesus of Nazareth. Many are under the assumption that life as they know it will go on forever, uninterrupted and pretty much like they’ve lived it for centuries. Others are beginning to think differently, looking to Jesus as God’s up-n-coming rabbi-turned Messiah. According to Jewish belief, Messiah is the One who will step into time, end all of Israel’s problems, proclaim His lordship over all, and set up God’s rule and reign in the very temple they are all admiring.
While no one else but Jesus knows, this is actually His last week of public ministry in Israel. After three years of Kingdom work throughout the homeland, for the Son of God, ‘the end’ is near. Within a few days, He will be dying on a cross outside the city.
Only a few close personal friends in Jesus’ midst have even a glimmer of understanding on what’s about to occur this week in Jerusalem. While they are correct in their hope that Jesus is, indeed, God’s Messiah, they have no ability to comprehend that what they are witnessing is actually ‘the end’ of Jesus’ first visit to planet earth. An ‘end’ that will actually be a ‘new beginning.’ Yet, as Jesus views it, this ‘new beginning’ will turn out to be the beginning of ‘the end.’
Don’t fret. You’re in good company.
You see, from God’s perspective, the end times have already started. An accurate study of eschatology, or end times of planet earth, as defined by Jesus, will uncover the fact that our lost and fallen world entered a whole new dispensation of time on the day Jesus dies on the cross. This season of time, as we’ve discussed earlier in this blog, can be defined as the ‘last days’ or as other Kingdom thinkers call it, ‘the time between the times.’
When Jesus speaks boldly from His cross that “it is finished,” He is proclaiming that God’s ultimate answer to our ‘sin problem’ down here on earth has now been resolved. From the days of Adam and Eve until today, we humans have been living under the thumb of evil. And with our independent spirits and free will, we’ve been rocking and rolling on our own, trying our best to get back to God through our religious activity. For most of us who have a good handle on our lives, we know full well that this ‘trying to get back to God’ thing just doesn’t work out too well when we try to do it by ourselves. That selfish soul inside me keeps tripping up my best efforts to be good.
Been there, done that?
The primary message of the Bible is that, without God, our religious efforts to get back to Him will be hit and miss at best. So, as the New Testament writers state so clearly, God inserts His ultimate solution to this fleshly ‘sin problem’ by placing Jesus, His only perfected Son, forcefully on planet earth. He lives, ministers, dies and is resurrected back to life in and by the in-breaking power and presence of God’s Kingdom, which accompanies Him in His first visit.
So as we said, this in-breaking of God’s Kingdom, which comes through Jesus’ initial visit to our world, signals a whole new season of time for our lives. Now, because of Jesus’ redeeming work on the cross, the Kingdom has broken in on this present age of darkness, lighting up the world so that all of us, Jew and Gentile alike, can now see our way clearly back to God. If we choose to accept Him, the Holy Spirit has been given to all of us as a personalized gift of God’s presence and empowerment, so that with His help, we can walk through this unique season of time called ‘the time’ between the times.
As Jesus so clearly states here, the end of time, or the final outcome of God’s redemption has already started. And with its inauguration, we humans will see with our own eyes the massive battle that still rages between the old rule of evil, sin, and selfishness as it tries its best to hold out against the new, in-breaking light of God’s Kingdom. When Jesus states, “it is finished,” He is referring to the unshakeable insertion of God’s ‘last day’ power breaking-in on this current darkness of ‘today.’
It’s that battle which causes world-wide calamity. Calamity to such a degree that we humans will, at times, look around us and say, like Chicken Little, “the very sky is falling, the very sky is falling!” And as we’ll see in the next few paragraphs of Luke’s gospel, Jesus goes on here, bringing one primary message to His followers as we all walk through this unique season of ‘time between the times.’
As I see it, it’s Jesus’ hope that His followers won’t allow the Chicken Little syndrome to overrule our lives. It’s in these tumultuous times when Jesus’ primary desire is that His people will hold on to persevering faith and unshakeable hope despite the scary things happening all around us. As the New Testament writer of Hebrews proclaims, that we keep our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
Chicken Little might be right, but that doesn’t mean we have to be like him.
My prayer: Lord, as I embrace the truth that the ‘last days of the end’ began with Your first coming, I need to be reminded that You don’t want me to be like Chicken Little. Holy Spirit, empower me to keep my head about me while all the world tosses and turns during these tumultuous times between Your first coming and Your second. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to ponder: Where am I getting caught up in the Chicken Little syndrome? How can I wisely embrace the truth that tumultuous times are amongst us, yet I don’t freak out, making unwise decisions and costly mistakes that are built from human emotions and fleshly fears?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are journeying through this Lenten Adventure?
Over a 48-day period (from Ash Wednesday through the Monday after Easter), you and I will be taking a deeper look at the stories surrounding the life and ministry of Jesus (especially the last week known as Holy Week) as recorded in the Gospel of Luke. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Our Lenten Journey home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!