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Luke 21:25-38 Jesus is Coming

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Bible Talk 6pm Luke 21:25-38

How Can We Be Certain to Be Ready for the End?

Give it all (21:1-4)!

Don’t be fooled or afraid (21:8-9)!

Keep on witnessing (21:13-15, 18-19)!

Trust God’s Word (21:22)!

Look for Jesus’s coming (21:27-28)!

Recognize the signs (21:29-33)!

Watch and pray (21:34-36)!

Keep listening to Jesus (21:37-38)!

1. The Master’s Coming vs.27-28

"Then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (). The second coming of Christ will be much different than His first coming. This coming will be well known to the people whereas the first coming in Bethlehem was known only to a few. However, all the world will know when Christ comes to earth the second time.

"With power" (). This again shows the contrast to the first coming. In the first coming, Christ came as a helpless babe. In the second coming, He comes as the all-powerful One

"With... great glory" (). This is another aspect of His coming that contrasts to the first coming. Christ came in great humility in the first coming. The second coming to earth will not be in humility but will be in great honor and glory of Christ. It will be a time of great vindication for Jesus Christ and a time of great trembling for the enemies of Christ.

But when these things begin to take place,

2. The Message of Comparison vs29-33

b Command stand up

c Command and lift up your heads,

d Validation (28b-28c) because your redemption is near!”

For the lost world, the coming of the Lord will be fearsome, but verse 28 encourages the saints with the promise that these signs indicate that our redemption is near!

"Redemption" here is not speaking of soul salvation but deliverance from the troubles of the earth. We have been bent by the calamity and the turmoil too. Perhaps that’s why we are told to “stand up” (v. 28). The Lord calls us to lift our heads. Like David, we must look to the hill from where our help comes. We look up because our redemption is close. All the signs point to this reality—Christ is near! All that we hope for draws quickly near. We get to live through tragedy like people who know there’s something better on the other side. We get to live through suffering like people who know they will be robed in the perfect righteousness of Christ. We are people who know that, even if we don’t manage to stand up and lift our heads, then in the kingdom God with his own hands will wipe away every tear from our eyes () and lift our heads ()!

LIFE APPLICATION

UPLIFTED

Watch what happens when someone wins a gold medal in an athletic competition: she throws her hands in the air and lifts up her face. It is so universal that it almost seems part of being human. Victory, or celebration of any kind, causes people to lift up their heads. Conversely, defeat or sorrow makes one's countenance fall. Jesus said that these signs of the times would be reason to "stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." As frightful as some of those signs will be, Christians need not cower and feel cast down. The signs merely indicate that the King is returning. Does your faith cause you to walk around with your head lifted up, or your face downcast? If you belong to Jesus, hold your head up. He's coming back for you.

2. The Message of Comparison vs29-33

A very short "parable... [about] the fig tree and all the trees when they shoot forth" () shows a comparison between them and the coming "kingdom of God" ().

"Ye... know of your own selves that summer is now nigh at hand. So likewise ye, when ye see these things come to pass, know ye that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (, ). "Shoot forth" refers to bud-ding and new sprouts of growth that come upon the tree when winter is over and summer is about to come upon the area. This is a simple illustration of knowing the end times, but it speaks of the ease of knowing the end times so that none should miss its coming as we will note more about next.

"Know of your own selves... that the kingdom of God is nigh at hand" (, ). The end times or the consummation of the age is referred to here as "the kingdom of God is nigh at hand." The evidence of the times by these conditions is so obvious that you should "know by your own selves" that the end times are "nigh at hand." Some truths are so obvious, you do not need an interpreter to explain them. You do not need a college education to discern the end times.

Recognize the Signs! (21:29-33)

Signs only help us if we heed them. As a boy, I used to love the cartoon Mr. Magoo. I rolled on the floor laughing as this functionally blind wealthy old man drove his car through all kinds of calamity with barely a hint of concern. Mr. Magoo went through life blind. So do a good number of Christians. But the wise saints, like the “sons of Issachar” (see ), know the times and the seasons, and they heed them. We must be a people who know the end is surely coming, and we must rightly interpret our Lord’s signs so that we are ready when he comes.

3. The Mandate of Caution vs34-36

"This generation shall not pass away, till all be fulfilled" (). "This generation" has several applications.

First, it can refer to the present generation of people. That would be those standing before Christ, for they would be around when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 a.d. which, as we have been noting, was one of the fulfillments of much of this message.

Second, it can also refer to a particular group of people. It can refer to the Jewish people who will not "pass away, till all be fulfilled." The Jews, unlike any other race of people, have survived in spite of the tremendous attacks upon them.

(3) it refers both to the destruction of Jerusalem and the end times—the destruction of Jerusalem contains within itself the elements of the final end times and thus serves a precursor. Jesus singled out this generation. The Greek word for "generation" is genea; it refers both to those living at a given time as well as to race or lineage (therefore, Jesus would have been speaking of the Jewish race). This makes the third view most likely.

LIFE APPLICATION

3. The Mandate of Caution vs34-36

3. The Mandate of Caution vs34-36

ETERNAL OR TEMPORAL?

Political trends come and go. Office seekers keep a close watch on each day's opinion polls. Fashions have a very short life expectancy. A life's savings can be lost or squandered. Music groups and other entertainers are the rage one day and forgotten the next. Every certainty that the world values so highly is temporal at best. Contrast them with Jesus' words: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." If your beliefs, values, and philosophy of life are not based on Christ's supremacy and his authoritative words, you are headed for eventual collapse. Your life's work will die when you do.

Jesus concluded his teaching on the end times (21:5-38) with a grave warning to his disciples. They were to guard against letting the worries of this life or the pleasures of the world distract them from the truth—especially the truth that the Son of Man would return, in judgment. They were to be always prepared for his return. They could be fully prepared by praying that God would help them persevere in faith until Christ's return.

3. The Mandate of Caution vs34-36

34 a Command “Be on your guard,

b Purpose (Neg.) so that

c Experience your minds are not dulled

d List-Item from carousing,

e List-Item drunkenness,

f List-Item and worries of life,

g Event or that day will come on you unexpectedly

35 a Comparison like a trap.

b Reason (34a-35a) For it will come on all who live on the face of the whole earth.

36 a Command But be alert at all times,

b Request praying

c Appeal that you may have strength

d Elaboration to escape all these things that are going to take place

e Elaboration and to stand before the Son of Man.”

This verse begins a new paragraph about the need for the believer's faithful vigilance. While some of the verses above speak about signs and the coming of the kingdom of God, this paragraph returns to what the Christian must do until Jesus comes. On the one hand, certain signs will be evident. On the other, uncertainty regarding the time exists. This calls for vigilance, which Jesus encourages by creating a tension between the future and the now. Jesus speaks about two kinds of lifestyles to avoid. One involves the style of living characterized by "the good life." In this lifestyle, the person "lives it up," spending all their time eating and drinking(the Party Lifestyle). This speaks about those who have no regard for the future.

It could also refer to those who seek to bury themselves in alcohol to escape the things which are coming upon the world. The other lifestyle goes to the another extreme: worrying about what is going to happen. Both of these lifestyles, though, speak loudly about the lack of faith and the presence of a materialistic outlook on life. Both groups do not take seriously Jesus' "amen" saying in verse 32.

Watch and Pray! (21:34-36)

21:35. No one will escape the day of reckoning. Evil people will be "snared" by their evil. But if "Christians" think they can get away with living as evil people, they too will be snared. All the world will stand in judgment before the Son of Man.

21:36. This verse completes Jesus' teaching on the events of the last days and repeats a theme of this paragraph: for believers to watch constantly, i.e., to be ready spiritual. They are not to focus on the things that are happening around them, but on themselves (spiritually, not selfishly). A Christian needs to guard himself at all times, but especially at the end of the ages. The way to do that is to "pray always." The exhortation to pray in Jesus' discourse is only found here. The verb tense is present, which indicates that the Christian must pray continually in order to be "accounted worthy to escape" judgment. When the believer prays, he is strengthened. "Strengthening," as "praying," occurs only in Luke. The purpose of his strengthening is two fold. One, the believer will be enabled to flee from all the things which will come upon the face of the earth. Second, he will be able to stand before the Son of man. "To stand before the Son of man" describes one who is called before a judge to face charges; it also means the person is able to withstand the charges—he is innocent. Watch and Pray! (21:34-36)

Readiness requires prayerfulness. We must be on guard against hearts weighed down by the cares of this life and of that coming day. The things we learn here are not intended to overthrow our hearts but to establish them. We must remain awake. We must pray for strength so we escape the calamities to come and stand assured before Christ. The best preparation for the life to come is a present life of prayer.

LIFE APPLICATION on Watching

READY TO MOVE

Jesus told the disciples to keep a constant watch for his return. Although nearly two thousand years have passed since he spoke these words, their truth remains: Christ is coming again, and believers need to watch and be spiritually fit. This means working faithfully at the tasks God has given them. Don't let your mind and spirit be dulled by careless living, drinking, or the foolish pursuit of pleasure. Don't let life's anxieties overburden you. Be ready to move at God's command and welcome his return. "For you know quite well that the day of the Lord will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night" ( nlt, see also ).

21:36 "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."NIV For Jesus' followers to be always on the watch, and pray pictures an attitude toward life that seeks to stay away from evil and to follow and obey Jesus. Both watching and praying are volitional actions—as believers await Jesus' return, they work to further his kingdom. Only with a focus on him can believers escape all that is about to happen, and only through obedience to him will they be able to stand before the Son of Man when he returns. All believers must be ready and alert for Jesus' return, working for the kingdom, both because they know of the certainty of Christ's return and because they don't know when that return will happen.

This describes faithfulness that glorifies God in daily life. As you examine your daily routine—your schedule, your bank account, your priorities—would you feel affirmed or apologetic if the Lord were to ask for an accounting today? Sins aside, generally speaking, do your activities anticipate that His return could occur at any moment? Don’t put life on hold. Be on guard against behaviors that ignore His return, and instead choose to engage in activities He would find pleasing if He were to catch you in the act.

Being prepared demonstrates believers' faith and wholehearted obedience. For more on vigilance, see Life Application Commentary on . For more on prayer, see 18:1-8; ; ; ; .

LIFE APPLICATION

WHEN SUFFERING STRIKES

Only days after telling the disciples to pray that they might escape persecution, Jesus asked God to spare him the agonies of the cross, if that was God's will (22:41-42). It is abnormal to want to suffer, but Jesus' followers should be willing to suffer if by doing so they can help build God's kingdom. Two wonderful promises help believers during suffering: God will always be with them (), and he will one day rescue them and give them eternal life (). Trust him for ultimate deliverance no matter what you may experience.

4. Our Mornings with Christ vs37-38

21:37. Verses 37 and 38 form one paragraph and provide a summary for Jesus teaching on the last things. This paragraph also returns one's attention to 20:1 where Jesus was teaching in the temple. Two adverbs of time are used. In the daytime Jesus taught in the temple, while in the night He returned to the Mount of Olives.

LIFE APPLICATION

21:38. Among the crowds in Jerusalem, some desired earnestly to hear Him, and they came "early in the morning." He returned the next morning, and already crowds of people had gathered to hear him. The crowds beat Jesus there to hear him teach.

WHEN SUFFERING STRIKES
Only days after telling the disciples to pray that they might escape persecution, Jesus asked God to spare him the agonies of the cross, if that was God's will (22:41-42). It is abnormal to want to suffer, but Jesus' followers should be willing to suffer if by doing so they can help build God's kingdom. Two wonderful promises help believers during suffering: God will always be with them (), and he will one day rescue them and give them eternal life (). Trust him for ultimate deliverance no matter what you may experience.

I can so easily be sucked into the cares of this life and bogged down by the things of this world. But when I study the words of Jesus, I am reminded of the big picture all over again. I am reminded that I'm only here for a short time. I am reminded of eternity. Every single believer who is hurting physically or emotionally, every single saint who is struggling financially will indeed be healed and freed incredibly. It might be tonight. It might be this week. It might be this year. It might be in heaven. But God's promises to you will be kept perfectly if you don't lose sight of the big picture. Spend consistent time with Jesus. Be like those in our text. Come early to hear Him—and be reminded of heaven all over again.

Life Application Bible Commentary - Luke.
Christ-Centered Exposition - Exalting Jesus in Luke.
Complete Biblical Library Commentary - Luke. Jon Courson's Application Commentary - Jon Courson's Application Commentary New Testament.

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