5 Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, 6 “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.” 7 “Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?” 8 He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. 9 When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.” 10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven. 12 “But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you. They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.
Jesus appears to be pointing to a time ahead before his return where there will be great trouble, distress, and disruption in the world.
But Jesus has strong words for all who follow him – “do not be frightened;” “make up your mind not to worry;” “I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict;” “but not a hair of your head will perish;” “stand firm, and you will win life.”
Jesus appears to be warning his disciples, and us, but it is not so that we will shrink back in despair and defeat. Rather, the clear call from Jesus is neither to be afraid, nor worried, because Jesus will be right with us, giving us poise, giving us insight, giving us wisdom, and giving us incredible protection. We have one ultimate call in such times of trouble – stand firm, in faith, in Jesus, and we will win life.
If Jesus tells me not to fear or be worried in these circumstances he describes – wars, famines, opposition, and betrayals…then surely I don’t need to fear or be worried in anything less than these worst of circumstances. I can trust him likewise for the provision of wisdom, and the right words, for every circumstance and interaction that I walk into each day.
Lord, help me to stand firm and win life, for with you, there is truly nothing to be afraid of nor worry about, because you know the end from the beginning.
Written by Ps. Rob Waugh