1st September 2011

Don’t You Believe It!

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’”
Matthew 24:3 (NKJV)

I get all sorts of email items sent to me. Many at the present include the unrest in the Arab nations, the upset weather around the world, the numbers of earthquakes and volcanoes causing continuing trouble. There’s drought and flooding; there are insect plagues and illnesses all around the world. For example, did you know that in one 24-hour day recently there were 625 earthquakes around the world at or greater than 2.5 on the Reichter scale? And two of those were over 7—major quakes. But they weren’t reported by the press; at least I saw no mention of them.

Most of the people who send me these items are genuinely concerned that all this upset and disruption is a fulfilment of Christ’s predictions concerning the ‘end’. I put ‘end’ in quotes because Christ doesn’t really explain exactly what He means by ‘end’. Most of these apocalypse watchers look to the statement made by the disciples. They asked the question, but ‘Did he answer their question?’ should be our question.

And when He did give an answer, why is it that no one seems to acknowledge that He did answer His question, and that, assuming everyone believes He knows the answer to that question, why don’t they believe Him and work out why he gave the answer He did?

You see, His emphasis wasn’t on giving a precise detailed road-map for the future. He tells us very clearly what His reason for answering their query is. The question becomes: Do we believe Him. Because if we do, then we will do what He tells us to do, rather than getting side-tracked into worrying about any immediacy of His return. Make no mistake, Jesus is coming back. One day the heavens will part and we will see him returning.

But in the meantime, this is why He told them what He did; this was and is His preoccupation which should become ours. Since we belong to Him, shouldn’t we do as He tells us? “See, I have told you before hand” (verse 25). He warns us against being sidetracked. “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only” (verse 36). People assume that that was true then, but that Christ knows now. But this was written then, when even He, He tells us, didn’t know. “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (verse 44). And then He tells us what we should do to be ready. His command to us was to love one another, and this is to be our full-time preoccupation (John 13:34), leaving little room for apocalypse-watching.

Most gracious Father, with major disasters both manmade and otherwise, around the world, help us to look for the ‘end’ as Jesus would have us do—expressing Your love through our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray.

Study by John Stettaford

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