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This will result in your being witnesses to them. Luke 21:5-19

posted Dec 3, 2013, 10:11 AM by Bowmansville UMC   [ updated Dec 3, 2013, 10:32 AM ]

    At the “Hand to Plow” where I go monthly, we pastors have an hour of chatting about what distracts us during our ministry.  It could be financial problems, family problems, one’s personal problems or any other problems.  So we talk.  Sometimes some confess that they just lost their focus on the purpose of ministry and forget what they ought to do.   

    In Jerusalem when the time of the crucifixion was coming the disciples were distracted by beautiful stones and the marvelous beauty of the temple.  They did not care about the true meaning of the temple but just fell into the appearance of the temple.  In this season of Advent and Christmas we forget the true meaning of this season because are distracted by all goodies and decorations.

    Do you remember what God said to Samuel when he chose David as the king of Israel?  He said, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)  So, I would say that this time of the year is the right time to look at our heart, not what we appear to be.

    Jesus interrupted distracted disciples and said, “The time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”(Luke 21:6)  What looks valuable may turn out to be nothing in the end.  What is really valuable is somewhere else. 

    The Disciples asked when the time is and what will happen then.  Jesus talked about more disruptive and unwanted things that will happen to us when the time comes.  He talked about wars, insurrections, earthquakes, famines, pestilences, other fearful events, and all kinds of persecutions against believers. 

    Sometimes I hear some religious leaders making a warning against the world when there are some disasters on earth.  People used to say “The time is near” on the basis of the Bible.  Some people have even made a calculation of the final day on the biblical basis.  I think they went too far.  When we say “the time is near” or “the Kingdom of God is near” we mean to say the urgency of repentance and the real life of the kingdom of God on earth, but we don’t mean to claim that we know when the final day is.  The time is near.  It is really the time to look at our heart.

    Jesus said, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”(Matthew 24:27, Mark 13:32)  See how “not smart” it is to calculate the final day when Jesus said no one knows that!   Instead of telling us when the time comes, Jesus tells us what to do when these signs happen.

    We have been experiencing many wars, terrors, tsunami, hurricane, typhoon, and what not, but the end will not come right away. (Luke 21:9)  Have you heard about those people in Philippine suffering from Typhoon Haiyan?  About 5,000 people died and some millions of people are running out of food, water, and houses.  Dead bodies are all over the place and diseases seem to break out in any minute.  And there have been gun shots, robbery, and thefts.  It has been chaos.  What do we do?

    Are we going to warn the world that the end is near?  Are we going to calculate the final day?  Are we going to live as if nothing happened since we don’t live there? 

     Here is what Jesus said to us.  “This will result in your being witness to them.” (Luke 21:14)  When the horrible things happen to us we make them as the opportunity of your being witness of the gospel to the world.  Do not just be passive or discouraged but stand firm then you will gain life. (Luke 21:19)

    Sometimes there are moments where life seems unbearable, moments when there is nothing you can do, or moments when no one understand you but Jesus.  Jesus tells us today those are moments that you can prove that you are a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ, and a witness of the good news to the world.   “Never tire of doing what is right.”(2 Thessalonians 3:13)  “Be on guard!  Be alert!” (Mark 13:33)  And “Stand firm with God.”(Luke 21:19)  Jesus promised that he will give you words and wisdom to go through the difficulties and that not a single hair of your head will perish. (Luke 21:15,18) 

    “Suffering produces perseverance, perseverance character; and character hope. (Romans 5:4)  I pray that those victims of Haiyan and all who suffer from all kinds of life issues find hope in Christ Jesus by standing firm with him.  Jesus endured the cross and three days in the tomb but he is risen indeed!  He came to us to take up the cross for us. 

    May we be reaffirmed that we are witness of Jesus to the world.  Take this time of the year as an opportunity for us to be a witness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He is with you!  Alleluia, Amen!

Pastor Youngjae Jee