Sunday 02 December 2012

Bible Book:

"So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near." (v. 31)

Luke 21:25-36 Sunday 2 December 2012


This apocalyptic vision of theend times has the feel of a sci-fi film where the natural rhythmsof creation are violently out of synch. It is as if nature itselfis to testify to the coming judgement of the nations.

And who is to be the judge? Itwill be the Son of Man (verse 36). Surely (although some scholarscontest it) it is a reference to Daniel7:9-14 where "one like a human being" (son of man) is presentedto "the Ancient One" who gives him an everlasting "dominion, gloryand kingship" over all the "people, nations and languages".

Jesus seems to be identifying hisfuture self with this vision of cataclysmic events that signifiesthe end of history and the kingdom of God come in all itsfullness.

Jesus then goes on to tell aparable which locates the followers of Christ in the story. Theirrole is to read the signs of the times and be ready for the comingkingdom. Just as a fig tree coming into leaf is a signal thatsummer is coming, so the events Jesus describes are a recognitionthat God is going to act decisively in our time.

But surely every generation couldidentify natural disaster and the suffering plight of humanitythrough war, disease and famine as a sign that the end times arecoming and that Jesus is to return? How are we meant to take thesethings seriously?

Perhaps the role of the followerisn't simply to see disaster around every corner, but to immersethemselves so fully in the story of God that it becomes easy toidentify the kingdom in different and sometimes perplexingcontexts. Perhaps the role of the follower is not to be the prophetof doom, but to live with an expectancy and an urgency that Godwill do something in our time.

To Ponder

  • How do you immerse yourself in the story of God?
  • Where do you see signs of God's kingdom in your localcontext?
  • What do you think about the idea of Jesus returning asjudge?

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