First Sunday in Advent (Dec 2nd)

Pastor's Summary of Luke 21:25-36

Jesus has foretold the destruction of the Temple. Some have asked him when this will occur and what will indicate that it is about to happen. Given that "all the people were spellbound by what they heard" (19:47), the destruction must have spiritual meaning. Jesus tells of event commonly expected at the end of the era, and adds some which are specifically Christian. first, Christians will be persecuted by religious and civil authorities (v. 12). Then there will be "wars and insurrections" (v. 9), but "the end will not follow immediately" (as people expected). Disastrous natural phenomena, cause for great distress, will occur (v. 11), and when Jerusalem is surrounded by armies (v. 20), the city will soon fall: either physcially or spiritually. Again, the end will be delayed: the killing and deportation of citizens will continue "until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled" (v. 24), i.e. until non-Jews have had the opportunity to come to Christ.

Now Jesus foretells unnatural events ("Signs..", v. 25) and the resulting confusion among nations and people, not knowing what will happen next. But the "Son of Man" (v. 27), the ideal human, Christ, will come from heaven (:in a cloud", a symbol of divine presence, as at the Transfiguration) with power to control events. Then "redemption" (v. 28), God's acts of freeing his chosen people, will be near. Just as the leafing of trees shows that "Summer is... near" (v. 30), so the occurrence of all these events will show that "the kingdom of God is near" (v. 31): this time will be evident to the faithful. The signs will be as striking as is seen in fig trees: in winter, they look dead but in spring they sprout. In spite of the delay, the era will end before all those alive now have died (v. 32). Jesus' words (v. 33) are even more eternal than creation ("heaven and earth"). finally, he advises vigilance: do not be so "weighed down" (v. 34) with day-to-day earthy matters that you are unprepared for the final call ("that day"). It will be for all those who survive all disasters (b. 35). Pray that God may give you the strength to resist all evils, so that you may "stand before" (v. 36) Christ, be deemed worthy by him.