Sunday 29 November 2015

Bible Book:

"Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away." (v. 33)

Luke 21:25-36 Sunday 29 November 2015

Psalm: Psalm 25



Each of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke) include adescription of Jesus' dramatic teaching, shortly before his arrest,trial and crucifixion (Matthew24:32-35; Mark 13:28-31). A common theme is that ofjudgement and the need to be watchful, so that the day of the Lorddoes not catch us unprepared. Jewish readers would have recognisedthis as apocalyptic, a familiar form of literature that lookedtowards God's turning upside down of the world as we know it andthe dramatic fulfilment of God's kingdom. It often sounds like badnews, until we think of the good news it provided for those whowere the victims of the current way of the world and felt they hadnothing to lose.

By the time Luke wrote his Gospel (probably in the last 20 yearsof the first century AD) the great Jerusalem temple had beenutterly destroyed by the Roman forces reoccupying the city afterthe Jewish rebellion of AD69-70. So Luke feels totally justified inportraying Jesus as the prophet who foretells the destruction ofthe temple, the terrible suffering that will accompany it and thekingdom of God that will replace it. If that prophecy has cometrue, Luke seems to suggest, we should take very seriously Jesus'words about final conflict and victory. Just as the sprouting ofthe fig tree is a sign that summer is on its way, so the conflictsand suffering of the world are a sign of the imminence of thekingdom.

Passages like this seem a world away from the 'gentle Jesus' weoften prefer to portray. But this is a Jesus who confronts the grimreality of an often sinful and violent world and urges us not becomplacent about it. Instead, we are to be on constant alert, notsuccumbing to its twisted value systems, but keeping as close as wecan to the words and example that Jesus has given us.

To Ponder

  • Is the prospect of a dramatic shake-up of the world as we knowit good news or bad news for you? Why?
  • How do you react to the prophetic Jesus who warns about thedestructive path the world is on?
  • What do you need to do if you are to be better prepared for thekingdom of God?
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