[reprinted from March 23, 2012]
Then Jesus replied to them: â€œWatch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, â€˜I am the Messiah,â€™ and they will deceive many. You are going to hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, because these things must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise up against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these events are the beginning of birth pains…
Now concerning that day and hour no one knowsâ€”neither the angels in heaven, nor the Son â€”except the Father only.â€ Â Â Â Matthew 24:4-8, 36 (HCSB)
â€œ…these events are the beginning…â€. Only the beginning. The time that Jesus spends speaking of the â€œend timesâ€ has a three point message for me no matter what gospel I read.
There will be deception. Jesus says there will be â€œmanyâ€ deceivers which warns us to test and discern the truth that will line up with what Jesus has taught. It is His example, His standard that we are to hold ourselves and all others to.
And the events of this world will get â€œbadâ€ with war, famine, natural disasters bringing great destruction upon this world. Again, it is on Jesus that I must keep my eyes focused and my life following so that I will not be led astray. It is in a close relationship with Jesus, surrounded by a body of Believers who will encourage and challenge me to study, pray and live in His Way.
No one â€“ NO ONE â€“ knows the time of the end. Matthew, Mark (13:32), and Luke (Acts 1:7) all relate that Jesus said that no one but the Father knows the exact time that He will return. It is not where Jesus wants me to put my focus: finding out what the timeline is and where we are in that time. Jesus talked about staying connected and building my relationship with Him, being a servant, and making disciples(John 14-17, Matthew 28). I need to live and be obedient to what I do know about what Jesus wants me to be doing as His disciple.
Jesus will be with me. No matter what may happen in this world: threats, persecution, suffering, even death â€“ Jesus will be with me every step of the way. He will always be leading me through (Psalm 23:3). He doesn’t cheer from the sidelines but walks in the path, rocky road, even the steep mountain trail.
Lent is a time of repentance. It is a time to intentionally seek the Holy Spirit to make any course corrections in my life and ask forgiveness for any and all sins that have separated me from my LORD. It is a time of restoration that sets me up for great rejoicing and thanksgiving on Easter for the great love that my Father has for me. It is His perfect, extravagant love that is the real deal that will take me through the end times.
The Lord’s Prayer by Albert Hay Malotte (1935) Sung by Andrea Bocelli and The Morman Tabernacle Choir