Our scripture this week is Luke 21:5-19.
Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 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. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. And so you will bear testimony to me. But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. Everyone will hate you because of me. But not a hair of your head will perish. Stand firm, and you will win life.
When the disciples praise the beauty of the Temple, Jesus tells them that the day will come when it all will be destroyed, a sign that Israel itself will fall. I’m sure that was hard for them to hear and many likely shook their heads in disbelief. Naturally they are concerned and ask what will be the warning signs that it is coming.
We are often proud of the things we have built, but Jesus warns no matter how magnificent we believe them to be, they are only temporary. I returned to my home town after 20 years away with the Air Force and found things quite different, old landmarks gone and new unfamiliar things (or sometimes nothing) in their place. Jesus warns us that we will experience calamitous change as a result of our faith.
The scriptures say that the changes will come according to God’s schedule and plan. In Acts 1:7 Jesus tells His disciples “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” He taught us to follow His commandments and trust in God always so that we can face the changes that come in faith.
Loving Lord, You warn us that following You will be a challenge, that there will be hardship along the way. May we be firm in our faith and strong in Your love to withstand the changes that come. Amen.