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The Scriptorium

By Your Patience

We just have to hold on to Jesus. Luke 21.5-19

Luke 21 (2)

Pray Psalm 52.1, 2.
Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man?
The goodness of God endures continually.
Your tongue devises destruction,
Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.

Sing Psalm 52.1, 2.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Why do the mighty boast in sin? God’s love endures, it knows no end!
They with their tongues vain boasts repeat, and like a razor, work deceit.

Read Luke 21.1-19; meditate on verses 5-19.

1. How will the lost world respond to those who believe in Jesus?

2. How must we prepare for this?

The problem of religion in Jesus’ day was the same as in every generation: It becomes merely superficial. We are too easily distracted by externals, which then become the focus and measure of our faith. “Look at this beautiful temple” (v. 5) or this handsome megachurch, that fine worship band, those cool youth groups, that fascinating preacher.

Jesus shows us that all such religion will go the way of the temple in Jerusalem, which was destroyed in 70 AD by the Romans and has not been rebuilt. Throughout the ages of the last days—the days in which we are currently living—many have appeared on the scene claiming to speak for Jesus (v. 8). They are especially deceitful and to be avoided who claim to have secret information about when Jesus will return. He has told us we may not know this (Acts 1.7); thus, any who claim they do are profit-seeking false prophets. Pay them no heed.

You’ll know we’re in the last days when wars and commotions and international conflicts, together with all manner of catastrophic natural disasters, are ongoing (vv. 9-11). An even more telling sign will be that the world will hate the followers of Christ and will persecute us in various ways (v. 12), thus providing us with many excellent opportunities to bear witness to Jesus (v. 13).

This is nothing to worry about; we shouldn’t even have to prepare for it. Jesus Himself will give us words to bear witness that even our adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist (vv. 14, 15). We need to be patient, that is, looking to Jesus and ready to endure hardship, opposition, scorn, and worse (vv. 16-19). But we can keep our souls strong and unyielding if we remember the words of Jesus and cling to His Presence (Matt. 28.20) and promises (2 Pet. 1.4).

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
In the same, and beautiful way that antiphonal singing occurs,
Luke 21.5-19 should be read with 1 Thessalonians 5.1-11.
The apostle Paul explained responsively Jesus’ heartfelt words about our future:

“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren,
you have no need that I should write to you.
For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord
so comes as a thief in the night.
For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’
then sudden destruction comes upon them,
as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.
And they shall not escape.
But you, brethren, are not in darkness,
so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.
You are all sons of light and sons of the day.
We are not of the night nor of darkness.
Therefore let us not sleep, as others do,
but let us watch and be sober.
For those who sleep, sleep at night,
and those who get drunk are drunk at night.
But let us who are of the day be sober,
putting on the breastplate of faith and love,
and as a helmet the hope of salvation.
For God did not appoint us to wrath,
but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who died for us,
that whether we wake or sleep,
we should live together with Him.
Therefore comfort each other
and edify one another,
just as you also are doing.”

Knowing this brings comfort and patience into our souls.
And through this patience we will possess the peace that comes
in knowing we belong to God here and now, and there and then.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
you are Mine” (Is. 43.1) 

For reflection
1. The “last days” can be difficult for believers, even dangerous. How should you prepare each day for working your Personal Mission Field?

2. Other believers are struggling to be faithful, even believers you know. Whom will you comfort and encourage today?

3. How would you explain to a new believer what it is to know the peace that comes from “knowing we belong to God here and now, and there and then”? What is that peace like? How can we know it?

Christ commands that we instead pursue this care of our lives—that we should always walk exposed to death “through fire and water” and sword. And certainly, no one will really place his soul in God’s hand except for one who has learned to live in the moment, always prepared to die. In sum, Christ orders us to possess our lives both under the cross and among the continual terrors of death.
John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on a Harmony of the Gospels 15

Pray Psalm 52.3-9.
Pray for the people in your Personal Mission Field. Ask God to give them a heart for Him, to know, love, and serve Him. Prepare for today’s work in your Personal Mission Field by offering yourself as a living sacrifice to the Lord.

Sing Psalm 52.3-9.
(Warrington: Give to Our God Immortal Praise)
Men more than good in evil delight, and lies prefer to what is right.
They utter words, both harsh and strong, with their devouring, deceitful tongue.

God will forever break them down, uproot, and cast them to the ground!
He from their safety tears them away, no more to know the light of day.

The righteous see and laugh and fear, and say, “Behold, what have we here?
Such are all who at God conspire, and wealth and evil ways desire.”

But as for me may I be seen in God an olive ever green!
Ever in God, most kind and just, shall I with joy and gladness trust!

Thanks evermore to our Savior be raised! His faithfulness be ever praised!
Here with Your people, loving God, I wait upon Your Name, so good!

T. M. and Susie Moore

You can download all the studies in our Luke series by clicking here.

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available free by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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