“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.” Luke 21.7-11
Truly, every day could be the end times in the world in which we live. I don’t know if things have always been this bad or that sin is now magnified because of the media, ease of which information is shared, and platforms like the internet. Imagine the day when I could follow events unfolding in a country in Southeast Asia in real time. Or see uprisings in the Middle East live. Well the day is here! We don’t think much about it now because our world is so connected by technology. It wasn’t always so. News, both good and bad, use to travel much slower. But today, it travels at the speed of the internet.
And so, when the disciples ask Jesus, “When will these things happen?” (and they are referring to the destruction of the Temple and the Jewish way of life and the end times as they know it) they are really getting ahead of themselves. Jesus says, “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. And then he talks about wars, uprisings, nations and kingdoms fights, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, and ‘fearful events’ and ‘great signs from heaven.” In other words, what you watch on social media is what they would experience to some extent.
It seems to be a few issues at hand — when is Jesus returning as conquering Messiah? When will those come who will claim to be the Christ? How do we read the times? Are these the end times or is this just a precursor of what is to come?
Jesus says, “Do not be deceived.” We will know when it is he returning, and all this craziness that we see happening has always happened and will continue to do so until he returns. Jesus adds, “the end will not come right away,” which is evidenced by this two thousand year old statement!
Sometimes we may get discouraged from waiting or doing good. But the Apostle Paul says in Galatians 6.9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Do not give up. Regardless of what the news says, or what is happening on the internet, God is still God and he is still on the throne. Jesus is Messiah and although he may not come back today, he is returning. The Father has sent the Holy Spirit to guide us, comfort us and encourage us.
Rest in this truth that God is near. He has given us all we need for salvation and will meet all your needs according to the grace offered through his son Jesus Christ.
”O Lord God, thank you for loving me. Thank you for allowing me to rest in you and find solace in your Spirit. Even though the world is crazy, you are steadfast. Even when people worry, get stressed and complain, you are still good and you are sovereign. Come now, Holy Spirit, fill me with your power and love. Help me trust in you regardless of what is happening in the world around me so that I might not give up but press on. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen