This weekend we celebrate one of the greatest gifts we have as Americans, our freedom. Freedom from tyranny, free from oppression, freedom to choose our own religion, freedom to chart our own course in life and freedom to express our views. Freedoms that many fought hard to obtain and defend, and freedoms for which blood has been shed. May we never forget the sacrifices that were paid for our freedoms and may we never cease to be thankful for them. Thank you, veterans, for preserving and defending our freedom and this great country in which we all live!
But on this, our Independence Day, let’s not forget a much grander freedom that is available to all. One that was also purchased with blood, and one that can never be lost nor surrendered. Freedom not only from the penalty but also from the power of sin. Freedom that guarantees admission into the greatest community of all; the be-all, end-all of kingdoms. The glorious community of faith that is the family of God. For this eternal freedom, let us lift our voices in unison and with a strong loud voice say, “Thank you, Jesus!”
As we come to the closing verses of Luke 21 this week, we find Jesus adjourning to the Mount of Olives after a long and exhausting day of jousting with the religious elite. Departing the temple grounds, someone commented on the beauty of the temple and Jesus had just told them not to admire it too much because it would soon be torn down and plundered. In shock and with dismay, His followers asked Him the obvious questions. When?
In our study last week, Jesus spoke more about when the End would not come more than anything. But as we pick up the story this week, He speaks directly to them about signs and wonders that would occur immediately before the end of time. He prophecies about His return and talks to them about things that would precede it. For only four short verses, it is a very deep passage with tremendous significance.
Jesus knew that tumultuous days were ahead for His followers and He wanted them to know that no matter how bleak things might look, no matter how frightened, confused and befuddled world leaders might become, God has a plan and it will play out according to His timeline, and not before. That a season of suffering has been appointed, which He called the times of the Gentiles, but that season would someday end with His glorious reappearing. A time when He would set things right in the world again. And, He told them to take heart, because the day of their redemption was assured.
For those unable to join us in person, please feel free to download the Bible study materials for your personal use by following one of these links: PowerPoint Slides, PDF File. Also, you can download files for previous weekly studies by visiting the following page on my blog: Doubtless Living: The Gospel of Luke.