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Thursday, 5/18/2017

“The Ruler of the Kings of the Earth”

Matt. 24:32-35

Jesus’ brief statement is another example of the pattern of biblical prophecy that we described yesterday.  Jesus is telling the disciples to discern the signs of the times.  Yet these signs invariably point in two directions as we have noted.  There are signs that Jesus’ return is near.  This is not intended to give us a precise schedule.  It is rather a way of calling us to be faithful in the present.  If we truly believe that Jesus is returning “soon,” that should affect our priorities in life.  It should have an impact on our behavior and the way we spend our time.  Jesus may come at any moment.  We can’t define the meaning of “near.”  In Jesus’ example we can see the signs that summer is near.  Yet there may be cold days along the way.  We can date the summer solstice but we can’t predict summer weather.  In addition we need to remember that one day with the Lord is as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day (II Peter 3:8).
When Jesus adds that this generation will not pass away “until all these things have taken place,” he is referring to the signs, not their final fulfillment in his return.  As Jesus says in the following verse (v. 36) even he, the Son, does not know when he will return.  Rome went through a period of enormous upheaval as we have seen in the years 68-70 AD.  Jerusalem was invaded and the temple was destroyed.  All the things Jesus predicted came true.  However, it was not the final end.  The end of all things is nearer now than it was before.  Yet we cannot know precisely how near.  Jesus’ immediate prediction was fulfilled so we should have no doubt that his other predictions will also come true.  Paul calls the promise of Christ’s return a “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13).  In a conflicted and chaotic world we live in that hope.
Eternal and loving God, I praise you that in a world of strife and confusion I have hope in you.  May I live every day with the expectation of your Son’s return.  May this hope shine through everything I do and say.  I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.