Tuesday after Gaudete, The Third Sunday in Advent
Scripture: St. Luke 21:5-24 (NKJV)
5 Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said, 6 “These things which you see—the days will come in which not one stone shall be left upon another that shall not be thrown down.”
7 So they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, but when will these things be? And what sign will there be when these things are about to take place?”
8 And He said: “Take heed that you not be deceived. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and, ‘The time has drawn near.’ Therefore do not go after them. 9 But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.”
10 Then He said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 And there will be great earthquakes in various places, and famines and pestilences; and there will be fearful sights and great signs from heaven.
12 “But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13 But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14 Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head shall be lost. 19 By your patience possess your souls.
20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those who are in the midst of her depart, and let not those who are in the country enter her. 22 For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! For there will be great distress in the land and wrath upon this people. 24 And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”
“By your patience possess your souls.”
Jesus warns the disciples, and us: you will be betrayed and you will be hated. There is a cost to being a Christian. Sometimes we do not even know what it is costing us. You do not need to know; it matters little. What matters is eternal life, and in Christ Jesus you have it. Be patient. The disciples would need that patience. In the chapters following Luke 21 Jesus is arrested and crucified. That had to try the patience of His disciples! Nevertheless, they, and we, are not to panic. It may look bad at the moment, but by patience possess your souls. You do not have to know what will come of everything. God does know, and you can trust Him. Be patient.
Sadly, you might think Jesus had said “By ecstatic experience possess your souls” if we looked at the behavior of some Christians. We live in an “instant gratification” society. Is it any wonder that some of that thinking sneaks into the church? But God grant us grace to resist that, and, in the face of any and all perplexities and hardships, to cling to the sure and certain promises of the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life of the world to come, through faith in Jesus Christ our Lord.
We pray: Lord Jesus Christ, grant me the patience that comes from trusting in You. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.