Hi everyone and welcome to Monday’s Podcast – my name is Mick Woodhead and with my wife Tricia, we lead this amazing church at STC Sheffield. As a church our vision or focus this year is to invite all people to ‘Join Us and GROW’ – to grow deeper in in our Christian faith that we may be a people who can bring a good and Godly change to our society.
These Foundations podcasts are part of that vision – they offer an opportunity draw close to Jesus through a bible based thought for the day from one of our STC team, followed by a prayer, bible reading and a worship song. STC Foundations Podcasts really are a great discipleship resource so why not pass the link to someone else through a text, Facebook, other social media or even carrier pigeon … this is easy evangelism so let’s share the blessing! Every day this week I am going to say ‘Hi’ to one of our five grandchildren – today it’s Abigail who is at home with her mummy: ‘Hi Abigail, from grandad and granny’.
On Wednesday of this week we begin the season of Lent – 40 days of preparation and reflection – more on Wednesday – so it’s fitting that our theme throughout this week is ‘hope’. In this week’s Podcasts we will be reflecting on chapter 21 of Luke’s gospel and most of chapter 22. These are tough and challenging verses from the Bible which will take some thinking through as we consider Wednesday to Friday the Last Supper, the denial of Peter and the arrest of Jesus.
However, our week begins with Jesus giving a big picture overview of the future. Today Jesus speaks about ‘the end times’ – this is a challenging reading to reflect upon, however our key focus verse for today is v19 and is a great encouragement. Whatever you are going through today Jesus says ‘Stand firm, and you will win life’. Two thoughts to ponder today – first, Jesus is Lord and second, Jesus brings Hope.
Jesus is Lord; we often speak of this foundational truth at STC that Jesus is Lord; if he is Lord, he is our provider, our protector and our peace. Where do you need provision, protection and peace today? Just ask and he will do this. As Lord, Jesus has total authority to speak into every situation, which is what we see him doing in this Bible passage.
In today’s reading Jesus talks about the temple. The temple was the centre of national life; it was a beautiful and immense building – imagine Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Houses of Parliament all rolled into one. Jesus says it’s going to be brought down! Why? because it now stood for all that was wrong and corrupt in the nation, a perversion of all the God had intended it to be. Jesus, through his words and actions had stood against this hypocrisy, this false religion and lifestyle during his short ministry. Those in authority were appalled; no wonder they plotted to get rid of Jesus. Jesus knew this and indeed reminded his followers that after he had gone they to would be vilified as they proclaimed the gospel, their Message of new life would be a scandal.
As we look around today we see how true the words of Jesus are. It’s tough speaking out against corruption and wrongdoing. It’s tough trying to bring the gospel into our schools, universities and workplaces. Jesus said this would happen, indeed he says even families would be split because of him. It’s tough being a Christian. We must always remember that Jesus is Lord – Jesus is God – and therefore he had full authority to speak these truths in his day even though they were not popular. (The temple did fall!) Remember that as his disciples, as his church we also have his authority to proclaim his gospel through our gracious words and generous acts even though we too are vilified and at times it seems no one is listening any more – they are, read on!
Jesus brings Hope: the words of Jesus bring real hope. The teaching of Jesus is extraordinary and seen by many to be the greatest moral teaching of all time. They are the words of God in heaven to us on earth. They tell us of a better way to live – they bring all humanity hope.
When we look around there may be times when we all feel the world has gone crazy, that it’s ‘bad news’ everywhere. Don’t you believe it! Remember what the angel said to the shepherds in the Christmas story ‘Don’t be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy for you and all the people’. There is good news – Jesus is Lord and his words bring hope. When we feel inadequate in sharing our faith or that we are too insignificant to make a difference – don’t you believe it! Remember, Jesus did not have a university degree, he never went to theological college, yet his words have changed the world. God has always used ordinary people like you and me to bring hope to our world, your workplace, your school, your uni, your neighbours, your family. We just need to smile a little more and believe it!
When you hear this bible passage don’t be confused or in despair about the future, your future. Jesus’ says this in today’s reading: ‘Watch out that you are not deceived’ … ‘you will bear testimony to me’ (tell your God story) … ‘I will give you words and wisdom’ … ‘Stand firm, and you will win life.’
Jesus, thank you that you are Lord and have supreme authority in all things. Jesus, thank you that your words bring hope for today and our future. Jesus, thank you that with you the best is yet to be. Bless my day and bless those I love this day. Amen.
READING: Luke 21:1-19
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘Truly I tell you,’ he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’
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.