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 three-year lectionary.
Our Gospel this week moves us toward the end of the Church year. Jesus speaks of the trials that will be signs of the coming end. The signs he brings up are impressive. However, I fear we often neglect the chronology Jesus gives.
Notice in verses 6-8 Jesus is clear that the signs are only a beginning. They are early labor pains. Yes, the baby will be born, but the first few contractions rarely signal an immediate delivery.
We can expect to hear of false christs, wars, uprisings, earthquakes, and famines. They are all certainly signs that the world as we know it is coming apart. But we can also look honestly at history and know of a very long pattern of all these trials.
What should the disciples guard against? Arrest, torture, and trial await them. They will also be engaged in preaching the Gospel. They will have answers from the Holy Spirit when on trial. Again, all these things are recorded for us in the Book of Acts. They have already happened.
When does the end of the world come? All the signs mentioned by Jesus suggest it will be soon. But we don’t know the timing. Our attitude, then, should be one of readiness and expectation. But we may be waiting a while. The baby’s coming, but there’s no rushing or delaying the process.
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