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Enduring the End Times and Living Expectantly (Luke 21:20-38)

Luke 21:20–38 - 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; 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 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29 Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 “So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. 34 “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap; 35 for it will come upon all those who dwell on the face of all the earth. 36 “But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” 37 Now during the day He was teaching in the temple, but at evening He would go out and spend the night on the mount that is called Olivet. 38 And all the people would get up early in the morning to come to Him in the temple to listen to Him. What does today’s passage say? In today’s passage, Jesus predicts Jerusalem being surrounded by armies (v. 20). He warns those in Judea at that time to flee when they see this happen, as it will initiate great distress and wrath upon the people, fulfilling prophecy (vv. 21-24). Next, Jesus foretells coming cosmic disturbance causing worldwide fear and perplexity, with powers of heaven shaken before the Son of Man returns in power and glory (vv. 25-28). At that time, Jesus says His followers should stand up expectantly, for their redemption is drawing near. He then tells a parable about the sprouting fig tree indicating summer’s approach, saying when these events unfold, God’s kingdom is near (vv. 29-31). Jesus affirms heaven and earth will pass away but His words will remain (vv. 32-33). He cautions His followers against dullness and dissipation as that day approaches, urging them to stay vigilant in prayer to stand worthy before the Son of Man (vv. 34-36). The chapter concludes noting Jesus taught in the temple by day but lodged on the Mount of Olives at night with crowds gathering each morning to hear Him (vv. 37-38). How can I apply Luke 21:20-38 to my life? As Christ’s followers, we live in the certainty of His eventual return coupled with the uncertainty of when it will occur. The temporariness of this broken age brings anticipation for eternity with our King, yet many stumble into spiritual dullness and lose sight of what matters most. Here, Jesus makes bold end times prophecies, then charges His disciples to lift expectant heads and vigilantly pray as the hour draws near. Though terrifying global chaos approaches, God remains enthroned over human affairs. While scoffers deny Christ’s coming day, the faithful trust in the unfailing nature of Scripture’s promises. Its pages anchor our hearts despite swirling storms. As we await Jesus’ return, how should we respond to keep kingdom focus? Here are some basic principles from this passage that we should apply to our lives:

  1. Recognize the Signs of the Times as Judgment Day Approaches (vv. 20-26, 29-31): When we survey the global landscape, it becomes apparent massive changes are on the horizon. Jesus points to wars, violent revolutions, cosmic signs, and rampant depravity as signals of coming judgment and tribulation. Though these realities are deeply unsettling, we must not surrender to hysteria or panic. God remains sovereign over human affairs. The breakdown of world systems means Jesus' return draws closer! Pray for discernment and tranquility amidst the chaos. More than fretting over apocalyptic headlines, examine your own heart. Have you repented and received Christ's salvation by grace through faith? True followers of Jesus need not dread His return but can lift up holy heads in hopeful anticipation and proclaim the good news of the Gospel in which everyone can find eternal hope. While scoffers deny Christ's coming, stand firm on the Word. Redemption awaits the children of God! (Daniel 12:4, Matthew 24:6, Philippians 4:6-7)

Food for thought: What prophecies about the end times intrigue or concern you most? How can we cultivate Christ’s supernatural peace amidst turmoil?

  1. Keep Your Eyes Fixed on Jesus who is the Source of Salvation and Hope (vv. 27-28): As the world unravels and panic abounds, Jesus directs our gaze upward to hope’s true anchor. Despite societal breakdown, He urges us to lift expectant heads, firmly fixed on the long-awaited return of our rescuing King! This fallen realm of sin and death is not our home; we eagerly await Christ who prepares heavenly dwellings for eternity. Train your eyes on the Almighty Creator who flung the galaxies through infinite space! He alone remains mighty to save. While everything around us trembles, Jesus stands supreme over all as the solid rock of refuge and redemption. No one else can rescue humanity from damnation. Our Messiah has conquered the grave and holds the keys to life everlasting (John 14:2-3, Psalm 62:2, 62:5-7, Revelation 1:18).

Food for thought: How does focusing intently on Jesus nurture hope and courage in turbulent times? What practical steps can we take to “fix our eyes” on Christ this week?

  1. Trust in God's Word and Its Unfailing Nature (vv. 32-33): As this era draws to a close, Jesus pronounces with certainty - His words will never pass away. Generations and civilizations may rise and fall, but not a single promise from the lips of God will succumb to the ravages of time. Despite the culture’s defiance and denial of absolute truth, the everlasting Bible continues illuminating lost souls from depths of deception into salvation’s joyous light. As storms escalate and chaos threatens on every side, stand confidently upon the unshakable Word. Scoffers arrogantly scorn Christ’s return, willfully ignoring prophecy’s profound accuracy about His first arrival. Yet undaunted, God’s truth marches on transforming hearts and minds by the Spirit’s power. Find refuge from fear and uncertainty by remembering every last line in Scripture brims with infallible authority. Its pages overflow with living hope for all who place unwavering trust in the eternal God who inspired them (Psalm 119:89, Isaiah 40:8, 1 Peter 1:25, 2 Timothy 3:16).

Food for thought: How have you experienced the Bible’s astonishing power in your own life? Which Scriptures bring deep comfort amidst turbulent times?

  1. As the World Falls Apart, Don’t Be Surprised; Stay Alert and Pray (vv. 34-36): Times grow darker, and the globe descends into moral decay. But true disciples must not be caught sleeping! Jesus explicitly warns against spiritual complacency and numbness to increasing depravity. Make prayer the very rhythm of your days no matter what transpires in the world. Ask the Lord to shake you from sluggishness and kindle an awakened heart ever sensitive the Spirit’s nudging. As society unravels, pursue God’s wisdom with relentless hunger through Scripture’s nourishing truth. And remember prophecy unfolds precisely as foretold. Stand confidently in God’s power and protection. By walking closely with Christ now, we will be counted worthy to rise and stand before Him on that final day (1 Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18, Colossians 4:2, Luke 21:36).

Food for thought: What practical habits can help us remain spiritually watchful and prayerful? How can we encourage each other in vigilance? As we walk the narrow road through turbulent times, Jesus commands His followers to lift up holy heads with ever-fixed eyes on heaven’s hope. This world unravels with increasing tragedies, yet we belong to an unshakable kingdom not built by human hands. God calls us to courageously shine gospel light into the encroaching darkness. Though scoffers deny Christ’s return, we eagerly await the day our Rescuer appears. Until then, we proclaim salvation to all peoples while praying persistently for strength, wisdom, and discernment. Do not be lulled to spiritual sleep, but kindle revival fires in your soul. Cling tightly to Scripture’s promises as societies crumble. God’s Word eternally stands though the heavens and earth pass away. Approach the Lord’s throne with bold confidence, trusting completely in His sovereignty. The days indeed grow evil but take heart dear one – our redemption draws near! Prayer Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You would anchor my heart in the certainty of Your everlasting truth amidst life’s storms. Keep me from growing dull or distracted from Your coming kingdom. I pray that You would revive my spiritual passion and persistence in prayer. Help me walk closely in Your ways and shine brightly the hope of the gospel, keeping eternal perspective daily. Use my life powerfully for Your glory in the short time left before Christ’s return. I long to hear You say, “Well done, good and faithful servant!” the day I stand before Your throne. I pray these things in the most precious name of Jesus, Amen.

Luke 21:28 - “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” With His Blessings, Pastor Corby

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