As I’ve begun this year’s 40 Days of Jesus reading for Lent, it’s been fun to begin with some of the most famous passages in the New Testament. The Gospel of John begins with that well known “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…” and moved right forward to the first verse many of us memorized: “For God so loved the word that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
Sometimes it’s a challenge to see new things in a book you’ve read so many times. But especially surrounding that well-known verse in chapter 3, I love sitting back and reminding myself of what it really means in context.
A few years ago we read John in church and went back and read the account of Moses and the Israelites that chapter 3 is referring to. The story is from when God had sent poisonous snakes into the camp as punishment, and the people were dying. They cried out to Moses for deliverance, and he put a bronze snake on a staff. “God will save you,” he told the people, “if you just look upon this staff and believe it.”
|From Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel, we see a scene with the brazen serpent or Nehushtan
As many as looked, were saved.
But not all looked. Many would rather die in their bitterness and anger toward God, or calling out to false idols, than to trust Him. To humble themselves before Him.
This is what Jesus said He was. Salvation to all who look and believe. So simple–so difficult for stubborn humanity to accept.
But we’re already bitten by that snake of sin. We’re already dying. It isn’t that He’s condemning us if we don’t accept Him–it’s that nature will simply take it’s course. The ball’s in our court. He already came and died and rose again for us. All we need to do is believe . . . but if we don’t, then that poison of sin will overtake us. We’ll die.
This is the simplicity and the complexity of the salvation story. Striking, every time we read it.
If you’ve been reading along, has anything from the first four chapters of John jumped out at you?
Last year, my church instituted a Lenten Bible study program that involved reading a chapter a day of a Gospel, from Ash Wednesday to Easter.
We’re doing it again this year, with a slight variation on days and readings. This time we’ll be starting on Monday rather than Wednesday, but only reading on week days, not the weekends. Our books will be John and 1 Corinithians (35 chapters for the 35 weekdays leading up to Resurrection Day).
I’ll be doing one post a week on the blog with my thoughts from that week’s readings (Thursdays). If you’d like to read along, you’re welcome to chime in then. Or you can join the Facebook Group and participate daily! We’ll be posting a discussion question each day from the chapter.
Last year we had a wonderful group with lots of great conversation, and we’re looking forward to our study again this year!
Again, this will begin on Monday 27 February with the Gospel of John, chapter 1, and reading one chapter a day Mondays through Fridays. Hope to see you here and in the Facebook group!
Now on the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them,[a] came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2 But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly[b] perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’”
8 And they remembered His words. 9 Then they returned from the tomb and told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them, who told these things to the apostles. 11 And their words seemed to them like idle tales, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter arose and ran to the tomb; and stooping down, he saw the linen cloths lying[c] by themselves; and he departed, marveling to himself at what had happened.
Note on ancient counting of days–I’ve talked to many people who insist that if Jesus rose “after three days,” he had to have been crucified on Wednesday. But it doesn’t say “after three days,” it says, “on the third day.” Ancient counting of days would begin on the day something started. Jesus died before sundown, therefore Friday counts as the first day. From sundown Friday through sundown Saturday, the Sabbath, was the second day. Once that sun went down on Sabbath, a new day began–the first day of the week, Sunday. So he could have risen any time in the dark hours and it would have been the third day.
The Road to Emmaus
13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles[d] from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him.
17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?”[e]
the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the
only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which
happened there in these days?”
19 And He said to them, “What things?”
they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a
Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But
we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed,
besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.”
25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.
The Disciples’ Eyes Opened
28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But
they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening,
and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them.
30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight.
they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He
talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples
36 Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, “Peace to you.” 37 But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38 And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39 Behold
My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a
spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.[f] 41 But while they still did not believe for Joy, and marveled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” 42 So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.[g] 43 And He took it and ate in their presence.
The Scriptures Opened
44 Then He said to them, “These are
the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all
things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.” 45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
46 Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[h] from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 And you are witnesses of these things. 49 Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem[i] until you are endued with power from on high.”
50 And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great Joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and[j] blessing God. Amen.[k]
Amen indeed! I’ll be reflecting on this passage today and tomorrow for sure. Right now, I’m about to head out to church, so I’m just going to hit publish. 😉 Enjoy this blessed sabbath day on which our messiah’s body rested in the tomb, knowing that as the first light dawns tomorrow, we celebrate a risen Savior!
Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. 2 And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting the[a] nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”
3 Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”
He answered him and said, “It is as you say.”
4 So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.”
they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching
throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”
Jesus Faces Herod
6 When Pilate heard of Galilee,[b] he asked if the Man were a Galilean. 7 And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. 8 Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. 9 Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. 11 Then Herod, with his men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. 12 That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.
Herod goes from glad to mocking here, because Jesus wouldn’t perform for him. Herod just wanted to see a good show, I think. And when Jesus refused to oblige…
Taking the Place of Barabbas
13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 no, neither did Herod, for I sent you back to him;[c] and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him” 17 (for it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).[d]
18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.
20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have
found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”
they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified.
And the voices of these men and of the chief priests prevailed.[e] 24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. 25 And he released to them[f] the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.
The King on a Cross
as they led Him away, they laid hold of a certain man, Simon a
Cyrenian, who was coming from the country, and on him they laid the
cross that he might bear it after Jesus.
27 And a great multitude of the people followed Him, and women who also mourned and lamented Him. 28 But Jesus, turning to them, said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For indeed the days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, wombs that never bore, and breasts which never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin ‘to say to the mountains, “Fall on us!” and to the hills, “Cover us!”’[g] 31 For if they do these things in the green wood, what will be done in the dry?”
32 There were also two others, criminals, led with Him to be put to death. 33 And
when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified
Him, and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.
34 Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.”[h]
And they divided His garments and cast lots. 35 And
the people stood looking on. But even the rulers with them sneered,
saying, “He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ, the
chosen of God.”
36 The soldiers also mocked Him, coming and offering Him sour wine, 37 and saying, “If You are the King of the Jews, save Yourself.”
38 And an inscription also was written over Him in letters of Greek, Latin, and Hebrew:[i]
THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ,[j] save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord,[k] remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
This is the only Gospel that records one of the other condemned men showing respect for Jesus–but I love that it does. Here is a man condemned justly to die, hanging beside the King. And he knows. He knows Jesus isn’t just innocent of the crime he’s accused of, but that he’s innocent. Without sin. He recognizes his savior. And more, this man isn’t cowed by the fact that Jesus is also hanging on a cross. So many others thought this was the end of their hope. But not this man. He knew that a cross wouldn’t stop Jesus. He knew, somehow, that death wouldn’t hinder this King from inheriting His kingdom. He believed, perhaps more fully than even the disciples. How inspiring is that?
Jesus Dies on the Cross
44 Now it was[l] about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened,[m] and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’”[n] Having said this, He breathed His last.
47 So when the centurion saw what had happened, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous Man!”
48 And the whole crowd who came together to that sight, seeing what had been done, beat their breasts and returned. 49 But all His acquaintances, and the women who followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things.
Jesus Buried in Joseph’s Tomb
50 Now behold, there was a man named Joseph, a council member, a good and just man. 51 He had not consented to their decision and deed. He was from Arimathea, a city of the Jews, who himself was also waiting[o] for the kingdom of God. 52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before. 54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment.
I never understood, as a child, why this day was called Good Friday, when it seemed pretty darn bad to me. My Jesus was killed on this day. He was mocked, he was beaten, he was reviled. He was hung upon a cross. My Lord, my King suffered on this day like on no other. Why, if I love Him, would I call such a day Good?
There’s a very thorough look into the origins of it in this blog post. (German actually calls it “Sorrowful Friday,” just FYI.) But the one all linguistics experts agree on is that good used to mean holy. And we can certainly agree it’s a holy day without the more modern connotation of “happy” getting put on it.
Let’s dwell today on this sorrowful, holy day that we commemorate on this Friday before the Resurrection. Part of the Seder meal we observed last night had a traditional Jewish responsive reading called “Dayenu”–it would have been sufficient. In it, they go through the events of the Exodus, proclaiming after each one that if God had, for instance, led them out of Egypt but not parted the Red Sea, “It would have been sufficient.” Dayenu. It would have shown His glory still. The Messianic portion of the seder goes on to add Jesus into it. “If He had come but not died, dayenu. If He had died but not risen, dayenu.”
Because He died for our sins, like the passover lamb. That was enough to cleanse us. But He rose again to prove that death would not have the final victory even over our mortal bodies.
Oh, my Jesus. Every year on this day it strikes me anew. The things you suffered. The things you did. For me. And this year, like every year, I lack the words to thank you. So I walk that path with you in my mind. And I no doubt fail to picture it fully. But my eyes burn with tears for you. My heart aches. And my soul weeps out its thanks. Because your sacrifice on this day all those years ago saved me.
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called Passover. 2 And the chief priests and the scribes sought how they might kill Him, for they feared the people.
3 Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. 4 So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. 6 So he promised and sought opportunity to betray Him to them in the absence of the multitude.
Jesus and His Disciples Prepare the Passover
7 Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.”
9 So they said to Him, “Where do You want us to prepare?”
10 And He said to them, “Behold,
when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher
of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then
you shall say to the master of the house, ‘The Teacher says to you,
“Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My
disciples?”’ 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.”
13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.
Jesus Institutes the Lord’s Supper
14 When the hour had come, He sat down, and the twelve[a] apostles with Him. 15 Then He said to them, “With fervent desire I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer; 16 for I say to you, I will no longer eat of it until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.”
17 Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “Take this and divide it among yourselves; 18 for I say to you,[b] I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”
20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!”
23 Then they began to question among themselves, which of them it was who would do this thing.
The first time I took part in a traditional (Messianic) Seder meal (having one tonight! How perfect that we’re reading this chapter today!), I found it so eye-opening to see how the tradition worked and where Jesus said these things in the course of the meal. The bread that he broke, the particular cup that he would have said this over, have huge significance.
I also find it interesting that we have taken the tradition of communion from this. Honestly, it reads to me (in the Seder context) like Jesus is saying that whenever they take those elements of Passover, it should be in remembrance of Him. Not that I have a problem with remembering his sacrifice and fulfillment of prophecy more than once a year. 😉 But it wasn’t as if it were normal bread and normal wine–this is a very particular breaking-of-bread and drinking-of-the-cup.
The Disciples Argue About Greatness
24 Now there was also a dispute among them, as to which of them should be considered the greatest. 25 And He said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors.’ 26 But not so among you; on the contrary, he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves. 27 For who is greater, he who sits at the table, or he who serves? Is it not he who sits at the table? Yet I am among you as the One who serves.
28 “But you are those who have continued with Me in My trials. 29 And I bestow upon you a kingdom, just as My Father bestowed one upon Me, 30 that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”
Jesus Predicts Peter’s Denial
31 And the Lord said,[c] “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”
33 But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.”
34 Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.”
Supplies for the Road
35 And He said to them, “When I sent you without money bag, knapsack, and sandals, did you lack anything?”
So they said, “Nothing.”
36 Then He said to them, “But now, he who has a money bag, let him take it, and likewise a knapsack; and he who has no sword, let him sell his garment and buy one. 37 For I say to you that this which is written must still be accomplished in Me: ‘And He was numbered with the transgressors.’[d] For the things concerning Me have an end.”
38 So they said, “Lord, look, here are two swords.”
And He said to them, “It is enough.”
The Prayer in the Garden
39 Coming out, He went to the Mount of Olives, as He was accustomed, and His disciples also followed Him. 40 When He came to the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.”
41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, “Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.” 43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.[e]
45 When He rose up from prayer, and had come to His disciples, He found them sleeping from sorrow. 46 Then He said to them, “Why do you sleep? Rise and pray, lest you enter into temptation.”
Sleeping from sorrow. This is a phrase I haven’t noted in other Gospels, but it makes the disciples more sympathetic, doesn’t it? It’s not just that they were exhausted–though that’s something we all understand–it’s that they were exhausted from their sorrow. They knew something was up. They knew something was coming. Jesus had told them to bring swords! They had to have felt that tightness in their chests–that heaviness in their stomachs. The sick certainty that something bad was coming. And it wore them out.
Betrayal and Arrest in Gethsemane
while He was still speaking, behold, a multitude; and he who was called
Judas, one of the twelve, went before them and drew near to Jesus to
kiss Him. 48 But Jesus said to him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
49 When those around Him saw what was going to happen, they said to Him, “Lord, shall we strike with the sword?” 50 And one of them struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his right ear.
51 But Jesus answered and said, “Permit even this.” And He touched his ear and healed him.
52 Then Jesus said to the chief priests, captains of the temple, and the elders who had come to Him, “Have you come out, as against a robber, with swords and clubs? 53 When I was with you daily in the temple, you did not try to seize Me. But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.”
Peter Denies Jesus, and Weeps Bitterly
54 Having arrested Him, they led Him and brought Him into the high priest’s house. But Peter followed at a distance. 55 Now when they had kindled a fire in the midst of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a certain servant girl, seeing him as he sat by the fire, looked intently at him and said, “This man was also with Him.”
57 But he denied Him,[f] saying, “Woman, I do not know Him.”
58 And after a little while another saw him and said, “You also are of them.”
But Peter said, “Man, I am not!”
59 Then after about an hour had passed, another confidently affirmed, saying, “Surely this fellow also was with Him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are saying!”
Immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster[g] crowed. 61 And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had said to him, “Before the rooster crows,[h] you will deny Me three times.” 62 So Peter went out and wept bitterly.
Jesus Mocked and Beaten
63 Now the men who held Jesus mocked Him and beat Him. 64 And having blindfolded Him, they struck Him on the face and asked Him,[i] saying, “Prophesy! Who is the one who struck You?” 65 And many other things they blasphemously spoke against Him.
Jesus Faces the Sanhedrin
soon as it was day, the elders of the people, both chief priests and
scribes, came together and led Him into their council, saying, 67 “If You are the Christ, tell us.”
But He said to them, “If I tell you, you will by no means believe. 68 And if I also ask you, you will by no means answer Me or let Me go. [j] 69 Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.”
70 Then they all said, “Are You then the Son of God?”
So He said to them, “You rightly say that I am.”
71 And they said, “What further testimony do we need? For we have heard it ourselves from His own mouth.”
Such an interesting standard–Jesus doesn’t volunteer any information that will condemn him, but he can’t deny the truth when the question is put to him.
Quick note–we’ll be recording our Passover Seder tonight, which will be laid out in such a way that it tells where Jesus said each thing during the Last Supper. I’ll post a link to it once it’s online, if anyone wants to see what it’s like.
And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, 2 and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. 3 So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; 4 for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,[a] but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”
Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the Temple
5 Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, 6 “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
The Signs of the Times and the End of the Age
7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”
8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore[b] do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”
10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And
there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and
pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from
heaven. 12 But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.
I know the heading here says it’s about The End Times . . . but reading it closely, it looks more about the destruction of Jerusalem, which we know already happened. What do you think?
The Destruction of Jerusalem
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then
let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in
the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter
her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But
woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in
those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon
this people. 24 And
they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into
all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times
of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
The Coming of the Son of Man
there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on
the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves
roaring; 26 men’s
hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which
are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. 28 Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
The Parable of the Fig Tree
29 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.
The Importance of Watching
take heed to yourselves, lest your hearts be weighed down with
carousing, drunkenness, and cares of this life, and that Day come on you
unexpectedly. 35 For it will come as a snare on all those who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy[c] to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
37 And in the daytime He was teaching in the temple, but at night He went out and stayed on the mountain called Olivet. 38 Then early in the morning all the people came to Him in the temple to hear Him.
Jesus certainly ends this chapter with a good reminder to us all. It’s so easy to get caught up in the cares of this life. But we need to remember each day to live it for Him.