How to Respond to End TimesDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
"Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?" Then Jesus began to say to them, "Beware that no one leads you astray."
Some people are saying these are the end times. They point to the rise of incendiary leaders, the outbreak of international conflicts, and the increase in natural disasters as signs that the end is near. But Jesus tells us these things aren’t the beginning of the end; they are merely the end of the beginning.
For 46 years, the temple had been rising in Jerusalem. Massive stone lay on massive stone. Many of them larger than our first house in the suburbs—40 feet by 12 feet by 18 feet. Stone surfaces were white as snow and often covered with panels of pure gold, shimmering visibly for miles and miles. The inner courtyard was the size of 21 football fields, to accommodate the throngs.
The disciples were clearly impressed by the permanence and beauty of the temple. Perhaps they even pictured Jesus establishing this as his headquarters, with stations for each of the disciples on Jesus’ left and right hand. But, when they commented on this possibility to Jesus, all Jesus had to say was, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down.”
In other words, the temple’s days were numbered.
Was Jesus crazy? It took from the time the disciples left the temple, walked out of the city across the Kidron Valley, and scaled the Mount of Olives before they even knew how to respond. Finally they came asking two questions. “When will this be?” and “How will we know?”
Twice, Jesus replied to them, “Don’t be led astray.”
Knowing the details of the end has a way of distorting people’s behavior with tragic consequences.
So when incendiary leaders rise, just keep on doing what Jesus commanded:
Love one another as I have loved you. (John 13:34)
And when wars break out, keep doing what Jesus commanded:
"Whoever wants to be first must be last of all and servant of all." (Mark 9:35)
And when natural disasters shake the very ground you stand on, keep doing what Jesus commanded:
"Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear … But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt. 6:25 & 33)
FOR FURTHER REFLECTION:
Why doesn’t God give us more details about the future?
Guide my steps, O Lord. Help me to measure every decision I make and every step I take by the breadth and length and height and depth of your Word, so that I not be led astray by fear, falsity, and foolishness. Amen.
READ THE PASSAGE IN CONTEXT:
As he came out of the temple, one of his disciples said to him, "Look, Teacher, what large stones and what large buildings!" Then Jesus asked him, "Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left here upon another; all will be thrown down."
When he was sitting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked him privately, "Tell us, when will this be, and what will be the sign that all these things are about to be accomplished?" Then Jesus began to say to them, "Beware that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name and say, 'I am he!' and they will lead many astray. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed; this must take place, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. This is but the beginning of the birth pangs."