5 March 2019

Hi everyone, it’s Mick here and welcome to Tuesdays Podcast at STC. Which one of our grandchildren gets a ‘hello’ today? Yesterday it was Abigail and today it’s her little 3 month old brother Nathaniel ‘Hi Nathaniel from Granny and Grandad! Best part of the podcast!

This week’s Bible readings are from Luke 21 and part of Luke 22. Our theme for the week is ‘hope’. We saw in yesterday’s podcast that Jesus brings ‘hope’ – as we read his words in the bible, Hope stirs within us! Today’s reading is Luke 21: 20 – 38 MSG and our focus verse today is v38 MSG: All the people were up at the crack of dawn to come to the Temple and listen to him.

REFLECTION:

So, wonderful podcast listener, here is your task for today. Write a short story that is confusing, seems to make no sense at all but at the same time is very scary! On first reading that’s what today’s Bible passage looks like!

You can hear the whole passage before the worship song but here it is in a nutshell. Firstly, v20 – 24, Jesus says, a national crisis is going to take place. Why? Because God’s people have fallen away from his good and love no ways. Secondly, the centre of the whole nation, Jerusalem would be surrounded by a barbarian army and destroyed. Thirdly, if you’re in the city when this begins, ‘run for the hills’ – get out quick! Wow, scary but true. Jerusalem fell in AD 70.

Then it gets even scarier v25 – 28 … the world in uproar, everyone in panic and quaking – in the immortal words of Private Fraser in Dads Army ‘We’re all doomed!’ Then Jesus arrives as our rescuer … as the NIV bible says
At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. (27). It’s CRAZY! No it isn’t … it’s all to do with context! Jesus listeners would have been aware of this LOTR type language as the Old Testament prophets, especially Daniel spoke about such things happening. So, two thousand years later what are we to make of all this? How can all this speak to me in my everyday life today?

Two things: first, the warning of Jesus. It may be uncomfortable reading but as Christians need to be clear that this is what happens when we turn away from God. Not many preach on this in church today – not the most popular of sermons! Most of us want the church to be a place of comfort not challenge. Jesus always brings us help and comfort but he always offers a challenge on how we live our lives.

Second: the words of Jesus. So many of the words Jesus are about love and relationships. It has to do with our ‘inner life’ or as the bible terms it our ‘heart’. He makes this clear in v34 and I love the Message bible here
‘But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping’ (v.34, MSG). Or as the NIV says, ‘don’t be ‘weighed down with… the anxieties of life’ (v.34). ‘Be always on the watch, and pray…’ (v.36).

Yesterday’s podcast reminded us that Jesus never had any formal theological training and yet his words about God and his new Kingdom were so powerful that he so many came to hear him. ‘He spent his days in the Temple teaching… All the people were up at the crack of dawn to come to the Temple and listen to him’ (vv.37–38, MSG).

He said, ‘Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away’ (vv.24,33). Two thousand years later millions of people around the world, including all of us listening to this podcast, are affected by the words of Jesus. The words of Jesus are eternal.

Today, let us respect the warnings of Jesus as we pray for those around us but also give thanks for the life giving words of Jesus which always bring hope!

PRAYER:

Lord Jesus, as I read or listen to the bible, let me be aware of the warnings you give but also truly value the wonderful words of hope you speak to me. Let your word be a blessing to me this day and every day. Amen

READING: Luke 21:20-38

‘When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. For this is the time of punishment in fulfilment of all that has been written. How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.

‘There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’

He told them this parable: ‘Look at the fig-tree and all the trees. When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near.

‘Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

‘Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with carousing, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you suddenly like a trap. For it will come on all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.’

Each day Jesus was teaching at the temple, and each evening he went out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives, and all the people came early in the morning to hear him at the temple.