“Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of my name. It will lead to your giving testimony.”
Thank you for joining us this Sunday as we testify to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
After a long, nearly three-year journey across Israel and Samaria, preaching the gospel, proclaiming the kingdom, teaching the apostles and disciples, Jesus arrives in Jerusalem. He preaches in the temple precincts with the same message, these times tinged with the exigency of His coming arrest, suffering, death, and resurrection.
As Jesus teaches, people are commenting on the magnificence of the Temple. Indeed, it was the place to be, the place to meet God. We might speed by this comment about the way the Temple was adorned, but we should not set aside its overwhelming presence. Even from afar you could see it towering over Jerusalem. Its walls magnificent white with large gold plates. Sparking jewels and offerings on its walls. This – and it was still under construction. Indeed, it would not be completed until 63 A.D., seven years before it is destroyed completely by the Roman army.
Jesus tells of the Temple’s coming destruction. Now, when someone predicts something like this, especially involving something so magnificent and meaningful in the lives of the people who fill and journey to this holy city, we all want to know more, and the disciples take up our curiosity and ask: “Teacher, when will this happen?”
Certainly, our minds cannot help to think of what is to come. But, in the Gospels Jesus stresses something different no matter how much people persist in their inquiries about the end and His return.
In our own day there are those prophets of doom who say they represent Jesus (really only a shadow of Who Jesus is) and tell us the end is neigh. Our own flights of fancy go from Jesus’ return out of the rising sun in the East with trumpet blast and astride a white steed followed by all who had previously fallen asleep and the heavenly host of angels. Then we start thinking of ourselves, will I be a sheep or a goat?
Yes, there were those time I fed and clothed, visited, but then again, there were times I hoarded, fought, over-ate, and ignored. And we get a little worried – we should because it keeps us honest in our weekly confession.
Jesus warns us today – do not get caught up in all that end-times stuff. If we truly are to be His disciples and Kingdom dwellers, then we have far more important work to do. There will be bad times; people will disappoint and betray us; storms, earthquakes, and other awful stuff will happen – and through it all, no matter what, we are to testify, to proclaim Jesus and His Kingdom because only His overwhelming presence matters, frees, and makes those who believe ever secure.