Luke 21:25-38

“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Then he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree and all the trees; as soon as they sprout leaves you can see for yourselves and know that summer is already near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

“Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”

Every day he was teaching in the temple, and at night he would go out and spend the night on the Mount of Olives, as it was called. And all the people would get up early in the morning to listen to him in the temple. Luke 21:25-38

Every child learns the story of the little boy who cried “Wolf!” When the wolf finally came, the townspeople didn’t believe him. He was wrong before. He tricked them before. Why should they believe him now?

What does Jesus mean when he says “Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all things have taken place”? Is he crying wolf? Or is something else going on?

We are now approaching the end of the year on the Christian calendar. Christ the King Sunday, the last Sunday of the year, is almost here. This is the time of the year when we hear what we have always been taught are the “end times prophecies” of Jesus. These are the scary parts of the Bible that terrified me in middle school. The “you better be ready OR ELSE” parts of the Bible that made me squirm in my seat and accept Jesus into my heart every time the person in the front of the room said I had to.

Is that the point? After reading all the Jesus stories about how he helped people, fed people, healed people, confronted the authorities, reached out across boundaries by healing foreigners, engaging with women, is the story now going to close with Jesus scaring people into being good little boys and girls OR ELSE?

The text says that people would get up early in the morning to go down to the temple to listen to what Jesus was teaching. Was Jesus just using emotional manipulation to draw a crowd? Or is something else, something deeper, going on?

People who have been blessed to discover a new life through finding a God that works for them through the 12 Steps of AA also come away with a long list of pithy sayings. Little one liners that help them stay on track. This morning I’m thinking about the line where the person says that they used to live “with one foot in the past and one foot in the middle, pissing on the present.” The obvious point here is that dwelling on a past you can’t change is futile. Living in the future is fantasy. All we really have to work with is today, and that is all that God asks of us. To live today. Taking one step at a time, hopefully in the right direction.

Whenever I teach the creation stories I work very hard to help people see that those two stories are theological arguments about the way life really works in the present. They aren’t history lessons. This morning I’m thinking the very same thing about the “end times prophecies.” They aren’t scenes of coming attractions – they are intended the lift the veil that covers our eyes about the way life really works right now. Over against our “oh, I’ll get around to it someday” way of living with our eyes closed, Jesus wants us to remain alert. Awake.

Jesus’ words are not coming to us as a snapshot of a moment in history, when Jesus talked to those people way back there – he is talking to us, today, now, in the present. To be alert, to stay awake, lest we miss the redemption that Jesus is bringing us right now. The redemption of love, not the rejection of being left behind.

Let us pray: Come Lord Jesus. Come to us now, today. Wake up our faith, our trust in you. Open our eyes to the realities of our broken world, that we might join you in the birthing of a new creation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


2 Responses to “Luke 21:25-38”

  1. Rita Wade Says:

    Thank you for bringing hope to us and for helping us realize that the Bible is – today. It’s not a history lesson we listen to every Sunday and then say, “yep, nothing much has changed through the ages” or “I sure am glad that God didn’t listen to those scientists and that he created every thing in seven days (using the calendar we now have) and it sure takes the mailman longer to bring my mail sometimes than it did God to create all this. Thank you for the hope we now have when we finally realize (through this lesson) that the creation story isn’t just about history, it’s today and the “wake up now and do what you’ve been putting off”.

    • Lakisha Says:

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