“Be on your guard, so that your minds are not dulled from carousing, drunkenness, and worries of life, or that day will come on you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth. But be alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36)
In the days leading to His crucifixion Jesus taught His disciples what was to come in the future. This discussion began with a remark from the disciples about the beauty of the stones of the temple. Jesus replied that not one stone would be left on another. The temple would be destroyed, as would Jerusalem itself. Jesus prophesied two events in that teaching session: 1) the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and 2) His second coming.
At the end of the session Jesus told His disciples to be on their guard and be alert, with regard to these future events. He did not want the disciples to be caught off guard by them and wonder what was happening and why. He also wanted them to have the strength to escape the events and the strength to stand before Him in a day of accountability.
The future, the end times, the second coming – these have long been of interest to believers. We find them fascinating. Something in us wants to know what is coming and when. Part of our motivation is the need to deal with the “why” question: why is this happening? Jesus doesn’t want us to be surprised by anything that happens. He wants us not to panic, but to simply understand. He does not want us at an extreme, that is, paranoid about it all, but He does want us to be alert and prepared for it to happen at any time. This does not suggest we drop everything, go sit on a hillside, and wait for it to happen. It only suggests that we be aware of what is going on around us and be alert, while we continue our advance into the world with the gospel.
Lord, We thank You that we, in fact, have a future, and that that future is with You. We look forward to it. Amen.