Lent 2018: See the Lord's Salvation: Day 44

Tuesday: Jesus Teaches in the Temple

by

Today's Text: Luke 21:1-38, Luke 22:1-2, Daniel 7:13-14

Scripture Reading: Luke 21:1-38, Luke 22:1-2, Daniel 7:13-14

I love the television comedy Parks and Recreation for a hundred reasons. I love it for its heart, humor, absurdity, characters—I could go on and on about it, but I’ll save my fangirl essay for another day. Instead, I want to talk about one episode in particular from season four: “The End of the War.” In this episode, a group of “zorpies” (the nickname given to a group of cult-like doomsdayers) reserve a park for what they believe will be the last night of the world when their lizard-god Zorp returns to destroy Earth. Of course, the world doesn’t end, and so they reserve the park again for when they think Zorp will really come back.

The episode is a parody of any number of real doomsday groups, who gain popularity in the news when they think the world is going to end based on a complex calculation of prophecy, astronomy, and who knows what else. We have a tendency to laugh off these groups—especially the ones who claim Christianity—as harmless and wacky, which most of them are. But when I read this passage in Luke 21, I have to wrestle with my own “end of the world” questions.

Jesus is speaking in what is known today as the Olivet Discourse, a series of teachings He gave while on the Mount of Olives. It is also recorded in Matthew and Mark, the other synoptic Gospels. And it happens to be one of the most controversial and debated teachings of Jesus.

In this passage, Jesus foretells destruction and challenge, wars and natural disasters. But His refrain is clear: “do not be terrified” (v. 9); “not a hair of your head will perish” (v. 18); “your redemption is drawing near” (v. 28); “my words will not pass away” (v. 33).

Even if, as many scholars believe, these specific prophecies were fulfilled when the Romans destroyed the temple in AD 70, we can still relate to the feelings of fear as we wait for Jesus to return. We can also feel the anxious heartbeat of the ancient Israelites who dealt with destruction and war as they waited for their Messiah. And yet through the ages, one truth remains that all God’s people cling to: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Revelation 21 promises us a new heaven and new earth, and it assures us that those words are trustworthy and true. We do not know if and how the world will end or when and how Christ will return, but we know that He will. And today, that is enough.

His dominion is an everlasting dominion
that will not pass away,
and his kingdom is one
that will not be destroyed.
—Daniel 7:14

SRT-Lent2018-Instagram-Day44

Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing, and reading in Nashville, Tennessee. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables. She writes online at www.melanie-rainer.com.

  • Peony Noirr

    ❤️

  • Marissa Burleson

    You know you get so caught up and worried about how things will end and when they’ll end and the order of it all that we forget the simple demand for us to remain sure. To remain sure of God’s promises. How silly of me to forget that my Father equipped me for a time such as this.

  • Leslie Limardo

    Watch yourselves before you are taken up with the cares of this life!! So good. So many nights thinking about things that don’t matter. Focus on Jesus His Word His people!

  • As I mature so do my views and knowledge of many things including the Bible, my beliefs, my wisdom of when to open my mouth and when to keep it shut and especially how to say things. Until recently I had difficulty with the way I would say things, I would say or mean them in a joking manner and they would be taken totally out of context. I had one of my supervisors let me know that because I think what I am saying or the way I am saying I it may be funny to me it may not be to others. My knowledge of God and Christ and the Bible is never ending and my father taught me that. When I go to talk to him about something the Bible said unless he knew the scripture by heart, he would look it up, and he would always say this is how I feel about what the scriptures are saying. He always said you can never take and look at just one verse you have to look at the verses around it to get the full meaning. Worry and anxiety will always be around it’s how we handle it and whether we give it to God or let it get to us is the difference.
    Off the subject, has anyone else had a problem with noticing how long ago your post was put in or even others? I will post a comment and it says 4 hours ago right after I post it. Sometimes when I am reading posts in the afternoon I notice it will say yesterday and I know that the lesson can’t come up that early.

  • Sabrina Michelle

    Faithful ❤️

  • Clare Lafaele

    Stand Firm ➕ = ❤️

  • Verses 14 and 15 spoke to me this morning. Dear sisters your prayers are so appreciated this morning. Without too much detail once again I go to court at 8:30am . I’m thankful that it will be separate mediation. As most of you here know I’ve been separated from my husband for many months now. And that’s all I can say. The versus above spoke to me I know that God goes before me and I will be given the right words to say. I want what’s best for the children and I. My next court date will be May 1.

    • Alexis

      Praying for you Mari <3 I know this time is difficult but as you said, the Lord goes before you. He will guide you and be with you no matter what happens today.

    • Churchmouse

      Praying for peace, protection, and provision for you, Mari. Jesus is there.

    • KimN

      Lifting you and this journey you’re on up to the Lord. That you would be granted wisdom, strength, courage and peace. That you would shine His love to those you come into contact with and that you would feel His love completely surround and fill you. Praying for the hearts of all those involved in your proceedings today as well. You are loved friend!!!

    • Jennifer Steinriede

      Mari, Verse 15 specifically spoke to me as well, right after I prayed before reading it. I am going through my 2nd custody battle with my husband, who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder but yet always seems to at least get temporary custody until he gives up and we get 50/50, no primary. I am praying for you and vs 15 is so comforting, revealing and confirming to me and I am so glad it is to you as well. I love how God speaks to us and if we will just ask in prayer, he will answer us. Praise be to our almighty God, and so thankful that we have the Holy Spirit as our comforter who speaks for us when we cannot speak for ourselves. Amen!

  • A verse in the scripture speaks to me today — verse 16a “You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, …” This is just what I needed to read today as I am struggling with a daughter-in-law who, I feel, has become very distant to my husband and I in the last few months. But, God’s word tells me today to not be afraid and to stand firm. It’s easy to be discouraged as I’m sure Jesus was knowing he was headed to the cross and the disciples still didn’t understand what was really going on. In verse 14 Jesus tells us to not become weighed down with the anxiety of life. This is just what I needed to read this morning.

    • CJ

      Sarah – this spoke to me as well, but from the other side. I have a mother-in-law who berates me to my husband about my choices (to work outside the home, my political views, my extracurricular activities – I play volleyball, but apparently I should be home with my children 24/7!). It truly hurt my feelings. But its ok, because I have freedom in Christ. I bet your daughter-in-law feels fear, or insecurity, . . thats what I think my mother-in-law is feeling. Anyway – I’ll be praying for you!

    • Dorothy

      Sarah I will be praying for you, I had a grandmother who berated me and put me down, so I know what it is like to have a family member who did that type of thing.

  • Natasha Pavez

    As someone who struggles with anxiety (and who once really struggled in this area, wondering when Christ would come back and being so afraid), this was such a beautiful reminder that I’m not to be scared but to be hopeful, and to keep my eyes fixed on Him and not on the world. I want to be honest with my SRT sisters and ask for prayers, as I have been terrible at living how Christ wants me to, and I was focused on the things of this world. Please pray for me, that my focus and love for Him grows. I miss the relationship I had with Christ.

    • Rachel Anne

      Praying for you, Natasha!

    • Leslie VanNess

      Be renewed and refreshed dear Sister. Because “He is new every morning, Great is His faithfulness….”

    • DebRN

      Ah, sweet Natasha. Thank you for sharing your heart. We are tasked to live in the world but not be of the world. It is tough for all of us. I am comforted by the truth that Jesus has us covered. His words are always true. He is faithful. He provides the righteousness we need to stand before the Father. Keep reading and getting out the thoughts that defeat you. Yes, I am praying for you.

    • Jen Ryan

      Thanks for those beautiful words Brooke….I loved this teaching this morning and your words really helped bring it home for me today.

    • Mari

      Praying for you Natasha!

    • Ana Silva

      I also share the same feelings of anxiety. I’m always scared of thunder at night because that is when I think He is coming back – my fear resides in my struggle with my faith. But His faithfulness and pursuance of my heart is non-stop.

    • G C

      I have been struggling with anxiety for recent weeks. The part of the world where I live is not stable and it seems like new and frightening news is whispered about daily. Looking to the rest of the world I see more and more reasons for fear. As a mom my fears reside mostly in what kind of a future my children will have. I don’t fear Christ’s return, actually I look forward to it, but I do fear what could happen to my children before then. For Lent I have given up reading or watching the news and have instead focused on my Bible reading and memorizing scripture. What a difference that has made in the level of my fears. Hope is really found in Him. He is enough. He has been faithful to me in the past and I know He will be faithful in the future in my own life and my children’s as well.

      • Rhonda

        I worry too of how scary the world has become, even here in the “comfort” of my home. I worry for my child and grandchildren, their future, and seemingly down slide of good.

    • Dorothy

      I am reminded of what my father would always say to me when I would voice any concerns especially when family discussions would come up about the world possibly ending because of nuclear war or however, “God and Christ repeated said not to worry about anything and especially when the Son will return. I am able to die in peace no matter how because I have excepted Christ as my Savior and if I live to see the end of the world I know I will be take to heaven.” I reflect on that when ever I start to worry or get anxious about anything.

    • Natasha Reyes

      I’m praying for you! And thanks to you and the others who commented for all the wise words!

      • Jennifer Steinriede

        Natasha, thank you for being so transparent. God wants you to be that same way with him. I have dealt with anxiety disorder for years plus I also have fears from time to time, as we are all human. When you talk to God, be transparent and bring all of your fears, doubts, sins, etc to him first, and focus on him and not this world. He wants to hear from you, good thoughts and bad. Faith, not Fear! He is our comforter and in him, we can only find true Peace and Joy in these dark times. The closer you become to him, the more he will get your attention and show you why you shouldn’t worry or be afraid. Then you will have nothing but laughter and comfort, b/c God is showing you he has it all taken care of. We will be protected by him. Again, thank you for your transparency. So Beautiful!

  • Andrea Rakowski

    I have been struggling with fear and anxiousness about the world today and raising kids today. Today’s scripture and devotional was another of many reminders God had been giving me to not be afraid, trust him and remember the promises he made to preserve me and my family. I love that Jesus starts with do not be terrified, these things are necessary.

    • Kendra Boehning

      I struggle with the same thing, Andrea. Today’s devotional was definitely encouraging to me to stay the course, and continue to pour into my kids that their identity is in Christ and Christ alone.

  • Wendy McSwain

    Very interesting!

  • Kelly Chataine

    Strange how spiritual maturity makes such an enormous difference. As a young, brand new Christian those verses brought fear and dread to my heart. Now, as a much more mature Christian, I find these verses bring peace for me but dread for others. Spreading the gospel of Christ is of vital importance.

    • Gina Glennon

      Yes, true for me as well. I grieve over unsaved loved ones and my prodigal children still content in the pigsty.

      • Karen S

        I too grieve over unsaved loved ones and shed many tears over my prodigal children who know the way but choose to walk away. Sometimes the grief overcomes me. I definitely shed more tears over my children now, as adults, then I ever did in their younger years.

      • Berta

        I, too, can grieve for my children’s choices yet I find that the better choice is to remain hopeful in Jesus. He’s encouraged me to release them to him, since he gave them to me as a gift. They are his and he’s watching over them and caring for them. When I start to grieve over them, I choose the Peace of Christ to reign in my hearts as I release their care to him. THEN I am able to pray for Christ to reign in them, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). I pray that you can join me in this also.

        • KimN

          Thank you for this Berta! An excellent reminder for this mom with young children!

      • Chris

        Thank you— me to! I know God loves them even more than I do!!

    • Dorothy

      Kelly I couldn’t agree more with you. Case in point, I had dinner with my niece yesterday and she, both of my sons and her brother, my nephew, all grew up going to church (the same church). A matter of fact they grew up together so they all were more like siblings than cousins. She told me that she and my father were talking several months before he died (but after she started seeing her boyfriend, he goes to church regularly) how my father’s, my mother’s and my faith didn’t waiver or “bottom out” like hers, my nephew’s or my son’s. When she told me my father’s reply it brought me to tears because I could actually see my father saying it to her, his reply was, “We are more mature in our faith and are able to understand better why God does what he does and allows what he allows. That doesn’t mean we have to necessarily like it.” My father was a very wise man when it came to many things and God and Christ and the Bible is one of the major things he knew well.

  • Kelly R Smith

    “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.” Yes! All the details of when, where, and how don’t matter as much as this abiding truth. We don’t know when, but Jesus gives us clear instructions for what to do as we wait: “Be on your guard” (Luke 21:34 MSG). Believe and live like you believe. That’s enough for us today.

  • Churchmouse

    Who, when Jesus returns, is going to raise their hand, stand up and challenge Jesus on the method and timing of His return? There are mysteries with God and we have limited vision. Rather than spending time trying to figure out exactly how and when this world will end, I am better off living my life here and now FOR Him. The Bible is abundantly clear on so many things – the challenge is always to live out what is clear. What I don’t understand and can’t figure out is under His control and all part of His plan – I’m called to depend and trust in Him, the God who knows what He is doing.

    • Cindy

      Amen

      • Cindy

        I’m with you guys! Many times I fall back on 1Cor 13:12…”For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    • Dorothy

      Churchmouse I too feel “I am better off living my life here and now FOR Him.” My father to many times would tell my siblings and I not to worry about the future God will take care of it. I have too many times that he was so right.

  • This passage makes me think about all the persecution that Christ’s church has gone through and goes through today in parts of the world. I love Christ’s encouragement to us: “Now when these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads because your redemption is drawing near”. Luke 21:28. May we be encouraged and may we rejoice to know that the completion of our Redemption is drawing near!

  • “We do not know if and how the world will end or when and how Christ will return, but we know that he will. And today, that is enough.” I was in a Bible study on end times and the teacher was talking about post, pre, and a-millennialists – very confusing. A friend of mine jumped in and said that he was a “pan-millennialist”. He believed that it was all going to pan out in the end. I loved that. This devotion and this passage offers the same comfort. I don’t know when or how, but I know that He is and that truly is enough.

    • Kristine Loughman

      Haha! I guess I’m a pan-millennialist too! The details, if I’m honest, frighten me. Knowing God keeps His word and has got it under control, that brings me comfort.

      • Dorothy

        Kristine I can see how it might frighten you but I guess growing up in a Christian household where my father or mother or even my paternal grandparents or paternal aunt were able to answer my questions about this and many other things I am not frightened I actually can’t wait.

  • Love Parks and Rec! And I love SRT’s studies too!!

  • Rebecca Leek

    This is so interesting. I’m so loving this Lenten devotional!

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