Scripture reading for April 22nd: Luke 21:1-28
“Then He said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. . . .You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. All men will hate you because of Me. But not a hair of your head will perish. By standing firm you will gain life.”(Luke 21:10-11, 16-19)
As Jesus approached the time of His crucifixion and departure, He spoke plainly to His disciples of events surrounding His second coming. He knew how these followers would be shaken and tested by the turmoil and trouble coming upon the earth in the last days and sought to give them (and us) fair warning. God does nothing by judgment unless he warns His people through the prophets. (Amos 3:7)
Today, we are experiencing many of these signs that Jesus said would happen. He promised that the end would not come right away. (Luke 21:9) He emphasized that His followers had nothing to fear, even if they were killed for their testimony of faith in Christ. Standing firm requires faith. We must decide to trust Jesus and believe His promises. In a time where many are mocking those who believe, we must not give in to fear or be swayed by the philosophy of the current culture. There are not many ways to God, there is only one way: Jesus Christ! We must stay firm in that belief! Seeking the approval of men by refusing to publically take a stand is not standing firm either. Standing firm means we will proclaim our faith and Jesus Christ as Lord. We will live for Him alone and die if necessary for that stand.
Jesus ended this discourse with a warning to His followers: “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21:34-36) Please stand firm, watch, and pray! The time is short!