Sunday 17 November 2013

Bible Book:

“By your endurance you will gain your souls.” (v. 19)

Luke 21:5-19 Sunday 17 November 2013


At a quick glance, this is hardly the most encouraging of Jesus'speeches: your family will hate you, your friends will turn againstyou, the things you value will be laid to waste, and war willovershadow everything. But Jesus tells his disciples that their ownfate will be secure, because of their own firm stance. Sometimes Ican feel overwhelmed by the expectations of our sufferings, and thefeeling of guilt that I do not suffer at all as someone who followsJesus. There are lots of things to say about this, but I want tofocus on one issue ... We often talk about the sufferings that thispassage predicts for us, but the times when I feel low are eithercaused by my own actions, or by the things that affect all ofhumanity: illness, loneliness, death. I can say that I am afortunate person, because none of these things are caused by myChristian faith. I also believe that the suffering caused by thesepreviously mentioned possibilities can be reduced with a knowledgeof a God who knows and loves us.

What can be said about the section of this passage that suggestswe might find improvement in our existences thanks to sticking withGod, and God's way of life? John Wesley himself firmly believedthat all of us are saved instantly by Christ's sacrifice, but alsothat our actions should still reflect the fact that we can neverfully live up to God's standard, and so we should still strive forperfection. What if life's persecution of all of us (not just asChristians, but as humans) can be alleviated to some degree byliving as God intended? Of course, hard times will still hit us,and life often seems to throw the hardest trials at those who arethe best people, but a life lived in Christ's image may wellprepare us for the hardest times, and make them a bit easier if andwhen they do come. Jesus of course lived the best life, and thoughhis struggles were enormous, he never shifted away from what hebelieved a holy existence to be. This might be our calling too.

To Ponder

  • What might a life 'striving towards God's perfection' looklike?
  • If we can't understand our suffering, especially when we livegood lives, how can Jesus' example help us?
  • Although it's easy to be overwhelmed by how persecuted someChristians are, what might be positive things to do inresponse?
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