Living in View of the Finish Line

I love touring ancient structures whenever I get the chance; Mayan ruins, ancient Celtic rock circles, the ruins of Vindolanda – I’ve had the opportunity to see them. What I find so fascinating is to touch those ancient stones and imagine the hands who also touched them so very long ago. At one point, these were thriving communities – now they are curious piles of rock. All things come and go – all things have a limited shelf-life, including humans.

Jesus will be talking about the end of an age in the text we’ll be reading in our study of Luke this Sunday. We’ll be reading ch 21:5-36.

It’s a lengthy section, the heading for which is found in v5-7 – Jesus predicts that the temple in Jerusalem will soon be mere ruins. The disciples want to know when this will happen and what they should look for. The disciples were looking for a fast, cataclysmic end to the temple and the world, simultaneously. He indicates in v9 that time will go on, even without the temple, and that time will be characterized by lots of troubling and confusing things. V8 tells us what we should be cautious of. What does he say and how do you understand his warning; what does it apply to?

V13 tells us something else important about all the troubles and possible persecution. What does he say these troubles provide for us? Is that the direction your mind goes when troubles show up or you’re treated unfairly?

Jesus throws a series of hyperlinks into his speech in V20-28 – we’ll go over those more in depth on Sunday. It’s all language intended to convey how serious the events surrounding the temple’s end will be for the people of Jerusalem. V28, again, tells us what these troubling events actually mean for Jesus’ followers. What does he say this is all leading towards in that verse? How might that effect our attitude when the world seems to spin out of control?

V34 is Jesus’ last bit of instruction about how we should live in light of the finish line. What does he say? How might we be tempted to do the opposite when troubles seem to pile on in this life?

We certainly saw how deeply troubled our world is last week in Uvalde Texas – the senselessness and violence that spills out onto the youngest and most vulnerable among us. It’s so heartbreaking – we, of course, must be praying for those left to try and navigate such a horrible losses…I can’t even imagine….word’s completely fail me. Jesus’ words in v28 of our text take on so much more weight…and seem more difficult to follow, when we’re spattered with the blood of innocents.

God have mercy on us, a sinful, prideful people. May we somehow, someway, hear your voice above the clatter of gunfire, and follow your words to sanity and salvation.

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