Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Our Gospel reading in Luke 21:25-36 is regularly used as a warning, and it should be. The coming of Christ to judge the world will be, by all accounts, very frightening. It will bring distress, international tumult, the heavens will be shaken, and all manner of other terrifying things are predicted to happen. The Bible speaks in graphic terms about rather a lot of ways people will be able to die at that time.
Christians, however, need to ask whether this is a scene which should inspire terror. In fact, it is not. Where is the terror in all this for the Christian? Jesus is coming and he is going to take his people to be with him. All who believe on Jesus will be considered as righteous as He is in the final judgment. If we are parted from our bodily life in the process, at that time we will be part of the resurrection, nearly immediately. There’s no fear in that either. If we are not parted from our bodily life, we are told that we will be caught up to be with him. There’s still no place for fear, though there is a very large place for amazement and wonder.
The Christian, in hope of the resurrection, is not a fearful person. Now I admit that I have fears, like anybody else. I had a frank discussion about some fears with a couple of relatives at a family gathering recently. No, I’m not going to tell you what my irrational fears are, nor what theirs are. We all agreed that they were irrational and that we have created coping mechanisms to deal with them. For the person who is not believing in Jesus, fears surrounding the end of life should be very real. But for the Christian the fears are actually not reasonable. We are not to needlessly endanger our lives in the sure and certain hope of the resurrection, but we have no fear about meeting God.
Our response, rather than fear, is to be watchful. There are going to be signs that Jesus is getting ready to come. Some of those signs seem to be with us rather a lot, but they have been with us for millennia as well. The comfort in that is that Jesus has been getting ready to come, and he will do so, at the right time, on his own terms, and he will then gather all his people to himself. As we watch we gain confidence. Yes, Jesus is coming soon. Glory to God.
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