Today’s Bible Reading:
15“The day is coming when you will see what Daniel the prophet spoke about—the sacrilegious object that causes desecration standing in the Holy Place.” (Reader, pay attention!) 16“Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. 17A person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. 18A person out in the field must not return even to get a coat. 19How terrible it will be for pregnant women and for nursing mothers in those days. 20And pray that your flight will not be in winter or on the Sabbath. 21For there will be greater anguish than at any time since the world began. And it will never be so great again. 22In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones.
23“Then if anyone tells you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah,’ or ‘There he is,’ don’t believe it. 24For false messiahs and false prophets will rise up and perform great signs and wonders so as to deceive, if possible, even God’s chosen ones. 25See, I have warned you about this ahead of time.
26“So if someone tells you, ‘Look, the Messiah is out in the desert,’ don’t bother to go and look. Or, ‘Look, he is hiding here,’ don’t believe it! 27For as the lightning flashes in the east and shines to the west, so it will be when the Son of Man comes. 28Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.
29“Immediately after the anguish of those days,
the sun will be darkened,
the moon will give no light,
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the powers in the heavens will be shaken.
30And then at last, the sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens, and there will be deep mourning among all the peoples of the earth. And they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. 31And he will send out his angels with the mighty blast of a trumpet, and they will gather his chosen ones from all over the world—from the farthest ends of the earth and heaven.
32“Now learn a lesson from the fig tree. When its branches bud and its leaves begin to sprout, you know that summer is near. 33In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door. 34I tell you the truth, this generation will not pass from the scene until all these things take place. 35Heaven and earth will disappear, but my words will never disappear.
Verse of the Day:
The first part of today’s reading is Jesus is giving instructions to the disciples about what is soon going to happen when Jerusalem is invaded by the Romans and the Temple is destroyed. He alerts that when this happens all of those in Jerusalem must get out – quickly!
He explains that those who are pregnant will have difficulty getting out. Also that if this occurs during the winter or on a Sabbath, they may have a difficult and dangerous trip. It is also noted by one commentary on this scripture that winter or the Sabbath could make it more tempting for them to want to stay longer – but they do not need to. They have to get out!
The upcoming Jewish War is going to be suffering and destruction like they have never experienced before. He warns them to not believe any false messiahs and prophets that will appear.
As I read this line, I thought about how Jesus appeared to the disciples after dying on the cross. Do you think that the numerous warnings we’ve seen Jesus give about false messiahs appearing came to their mind when Jesus appeared again before them? I wonder if their doubt came from remembering what Jesus had told them many times?
Then – Jesus makes it clear. His return will be very quick, just like lightning. He then goes on to explain the events that will happen before His coming, clearly indicating the coming of the Son of Man.
- sun darkened, moon will give no light, stars fall from the sky
- powers in the heavens shaken
- a sign that the Son of Man is coming will appear in the heavens
- deep mourning for all people
- we will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds
- He will send out His angels with a blast of a trumpet
- they will gather His chosen ones from all over the world
Jesus goes back into speaking in parables to explain His return just a bit more to the disciples. The fig tree blooms when summer is arriving – and so will all of these things he has just described indicate that the Son of Man is soon returning.
I wonder if anyone thought about the fig tree that he cursed just a few days before?
Jesus finishes by reminding them that they should always be ready because no one knows when Jesus will return – we are to live in expectation and always be prepared.
This is a powerful reminder to me of how the coming of Jesus is very real. Jesus was specific to include these instructions in one of his last conversations of teaching the disciples – oh how important these words are!