Monday, December 16, 2013

2013 New Testament Challenge – Day 32 (Reflections on Luke 17-24)

Every year I participate in a special effort called the New Testament Challenge sponsored by a priest of the Orthodox Church in America. He encourages Christians to spend the Christmas Fast, also known as Advent) reading the entire New Testament as a preparation for Christmas. Each year I have done this, it has been blessing to me and I pray this year will be no different. As part of the New Testament Challenge, I endeavor to blog a bit about the reading for that particular day. I may miss a few, but I pray for those who follow this blog (NOW ALSO ON FACEBOOK) it will be a blessing.

“Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.” (Luke 21.36)

When you hear of Biblical Signs, the temptation can be to read them as future telling, but a Biblical Sign is much deeper than just reading the future. When Jesus outlines the many things to look for so they can understand the “end times” and His return, He is planting an image for us, so that when we witness them happening, we will remember His promise. And why does He do this? Because we are weak. He knows we will grow impatient and begin to doubt His return. He knows we will fall to temptation and become lazy, comforting ourselves by believing He is delayed. He also knows that sometimes we need a firm reminder about the things that really matter.

Many believe we are currently living in the “end times” based upon the decline of morality. I’m not sure I disagree based upon what Jesus said.
As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot: They ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built; but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. (Luke 17.26-30)
There is little doubt our society is experiencing a moral decline. We human beings seem to have a pattern of decline. Noah, Lot, the Jews at the time of Christ….and as Saint Paul teaches in Romans. “Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the hosts of their hearts.” (Romans 1.24) Really only one question remains. If God has rescued His people just in time to save us from total destruction, beginning in the Garden, just how much further must we decline this last time before He returns? I’m not sure I want to find out.

Until tomorrow…..I suppose I’ll settle for trying to be as ready as I can, just in case it happens tonight.

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