God’s comforting presence
“…make up your mind not to worry beforehand…”
Luke 21:14 (NIV)
It can be exciting imagining that we are part of a key moment in history, and that the return of Jesus is imminent. I have often heard Luke chapter 21, and its companion scripture of Matthew chapter 24, being used to make the point that terrible times are about to come upon humanity, and then Jesus will return very soon. However, it is clear that these two chapters refer mostly to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD, so to try and make them apply to us now is not accurate. What it may tell us of dreadful future events is also accompanied by Jesus telling us that it is not a sign of the end. Wars, natural disasters and personal suffering are a part of this current temporary age and have been since the time of Christ.
Stephen Covey, in his book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, speaks of focusing on your circle of influence, rather than your circle of concern. In other words, there are many world issues that are important to us, yet we can do nothing about them. However, what we do have control over is who we interact with and many of the situations we find ourselves personally involved in. Looking at Luke chapter 21 from this perspective will teach us the following:
- Do not be deceived by false teachers and do not follow them (v.8). Check everything against the words of Jesus. Do not listen to human arguments, speculation or scaremongering.
- Do not be frightened (v.9). Jesus is in charge, and he promises to take care of us.
- Times of suffering will be times to tell people about Jesus (vv.12-13). Whenever terrible things occur, we can demonstrate love and hope.
- Do not worry (v.14). The Holy Spirit is the great Comforter, and He is with us in times of great difficulty.
- Jesus will give us the words to say (v.15). When we don’t know what to do or say for the best, Jesus will equip us for his good purposes.
- Stand firm (v.19). It can be so easy to sacrifice our principles and give in to temptation, yet we are challenged to stick to our commitment to follow Jesus.
Notice how we are given instructions, yet we are also told that we accomplish these things through Jesus working out his purposes in our lives. We will go through difficult times, but Jesus will deliver us. What is more ‘…our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ (2 Corinthians 4:17). Praise be to God!
Father, thank you that in the light of all that goes on in the world, you have shown us how to live, and will be with us to accomplish your perfect purposes in us. Thank you that Jesus will return and all suffering will end. In his name we pray. Amen.
Study by Anthony Dady
About the writer:
Anthony Dady is a minister in Grace Communion International and is the Regional Pastor for Wales, the Midlands, and Northern England.
Ecton Village Hall
78A High Street
Local congregational contact:
Word of Life contact: