SUMMER RERUNS: This is the third time this year that we've read through the Olivet Discourse, which is the formal name for this discussion about eschatology (the study of end times) that Jesus has with His disciples. We also DUG DEEPER into it in Mark 13 and Matthew 24.
YES, JESUS IS TALKING TO YOU: I have a bad habit of ignoring warning signs because I just automatically assume they were put up for other people, not me. It's easy to have that same mindset about this passage as well, that Jesus was warning pagan sinners that the end is near, not me. But Jesus was warning His own disciples here, not pagans. By extension, then, He's talking directly to us and telling us to "Watch out!" (v8). That being said, it can be very difficult in a passage like this to determine if the events Jesus predicts were fulfilled in the lives of those first disciples (when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD) or if they are still waiting to be fulfilled.
NO, 2020 HAS NOT HAD MORE 'SIGNS' THAN OTHER YEARS: Certainly 2020 has not been a banner year by anyone's measure, but just about every age has had experiences that caused many to claim 'The time is near' (v8). Jesus' teaching on the end times is full of tension: bad things will happen, but that doesn't mean the end will come right when the bad things happen (v9), rather it will 'close on you suddenly like a trap' (v34).
WHEN IN DOUBT, PLEASE STAND: Just like we saw in Mark & Matthew's version of this passage, the details can be very difficult to ascertain here, but it's not difficult to understand what we must do. Mark emphasized that we must stay awake. Matthew records four imperatives: be vigilant, stand firm, keep watch, and be ready. Luke summarizes each of the three sections in this passage with the command for us to stand:
v19: Stand firm, and you will win life
v28: When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift your heads, because your redemption is drawing near
v36: 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
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: The Son of Man coming on the cloud with power and great glory (v27)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that you will be able to stand before the Son of Man (v36)
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: