Turmoil and Persecution
22 May 2018
GraceNotes – A Journey of Discovery
Reading: Matthew 24:3-14 (Click link for scripture in Bible Gateway)
3 Later, Jesus sat on the Mount of Olives. His disciples came to him privately and said, “Tell us, when will all this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” 4 Jesus told them, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, 5 for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. 7 Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. 8 But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come. 9 “Then you will be arrested, persecuted, and killed. You will be hated all over the world because you are my followers. 10 And many will turn away from me and betray and hate each other. 11 And many false prophets will appear and will deceive many people. 12 Sin will be rampant everywhere, and the love of many will grow cold. 13 But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14 And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. (Matthew 24:3–14 NLT)
As he sat with them on the Mount of Olives, his disciples asked him what sign will signal his return and the end of the age. Jesus begins to foretell future events: False “Saviors” will appear, there will be wars, famines, and earthquakes. Many of Jesus’ followers will be persecuted and killed. Society will become more polarized, there will be strife and division among Christians, and false prophets and teachers will deceive many. But there will always be some who “endure” and keep the faith. And the Good News of the Kingdom will continue to be declared throughout the world.
We are in the last days, experiencing the fulfillment of many things Jesus spoke to his closest friends that day. But so were they! As we move through this chapter, keep your eyes and ears open to the scope of the message. They were in the last days of Israel as a nation, Jerusalem as God’s city, and the Temple as God’s house. Within the lifetime of some of those sitting with Jesus that day, the “end” would come. The world as they knew it would cease and a new world take shape. This message is for them, for everyone since them, for us, and for all who will follow Jesus after us. Ask the Holy Spirit for his message for you, for your life, for now!
Father, Help us to understand that these are the end times for us as those were the end times for Jesus’ followers then. Give us your message for our end times. Amen!