Where am I in the timeline of God’s story of redemption?
That’s been an important question throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry and one that many who should have known better, didn’t have the right answer to. In chapter 12 he told the crowds following him:
“You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time (Luke 12:56)?”
The religious leaders opposing Jesus were just as blind and clueless, and as Jesus entered Jerusalem, he wept for the immediate consequences that they would soon face. Jerusalem would fall. The temple would be destroyed.
“They will not leave one stone upon another… because you did not know the time of your visitation (Luke 19:44).”
By Luke 21, Jesus has turned his attention to his disciples and is preparing them (and us as we listen in) for what is to come in the future – both near and far – because “the end will not be at once (Luke 21:9).”
“Jerusalem will be trampled underfoot by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Luke 21:24).”
Those who were listening to Jesus that day would see Jerusalem fall, and now we are all living in that great “until.” We are living in the days when God is still sending His good news of great joy for all people to the ends of the earth (though He still hasn’t given up on Israel!).
Jesus wants us to be clear about where we are in the timeline of God’s redemption. That’s why Paul wrote to the Thessalonian church:
“But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:4–11).”
This Sunday Rob Price will be preaching Luke 21:5-38 and Kenny Clark will be leading our sung worship. Would you pray for each as they prepare? And the passage above from 1 Thessalonians 5 would be a great guide to pray for a heart prepared to hear and respond in the obedience of faith.
See you Sunday, Grace. Come hungry!
SONG OF THE WEEK
Forever with the Lord by Songs of Grace
Forever with the Lord
Amen! So let it be
Life from his death
We live in hope of immortality
Here in this body spent
I with creation groan
Yet nightly pitch my moving tent
A day’s march nearer home