Holy Week Devotion – Day 2
Monday, March 26, 2018
Matthew 24:3-14 (ESV): Signs of the End of the Age
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?” And Jesus answered them, “See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray. And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
Reflection by: Kevin Murphy, Men’s Mission Chaplain
Holy Week is a time of year that represents the height of sacredness for the Christian Church. During Holy Week we commemorate the passion, death, and triumphant resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. It is the focal point of Christ’s finished work on our behalf to present us to the Father blameless, without blemish (Jude 1:24). It is precisely because of the events of Holy Week that we are capable of being kept by God without “stumbling” or “falling.”
Nevertheless, in verses 3-14 of Matthew 24 Jesus describes (in what is commonly referred to as The Olivet Discourse) an approaching time of great trouble that culminates in the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the forces of Rome in the year 70 A.D., some forty years after the events of Holy Week. As we live on this side of those momentous events, we look for the reappearance of Jesus to bring His Kingdom in full to a struggling humanity. Right now, the Gospel is moving and making progress throughout the world and many are being brought to Christ. The Gospel of the Kingdom is being preached throughout the entire world as a testimony to all nations. Bethesda Mission is on the frontline of that Gospel proclamation to those who need the saving work of Christ in their lives.
In the meantime, many of the difficulties that characterized the first century remain with us even today. As then, many now continue to fall victim to false religions that lead them astray; to betrayal by other people; to lawlessness; to love grown cold; to the ravages of sin. At Bethesda Mission, we see people every day who have lived these very circumstances and we continue to bring them the true and only hope for overcoming: the Holy Week miracle! Just imagine a God who loves you enough to have taken the punishment of sin upon Himself in order to redeem you! Now you can stand before him by the Righteousness He gives you, which comes by grace through faith; and because He lives, we can face tomorrow in confidence of being in His good pleasure. What a Savior!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Jesus tells his disciples not to be alarmed when terrible events occur; that this must take place and the end is not yet. How can we apply this to our lives when hearing about difficult current events?
- How can we be proactive in making sure that our hearts do not grow cold?
- In 1 Corinthians 15:31, Paul declares “I die daily!” How does this relate to Jesus’ call to endure to the end?
- Pray for courage and endurance through difficult times.
- Pray that the gospel will continue to be declared to the ends of the earth and that hearts would be softened to receive it.
- Pray that many who come to the Mission would turn from lawlessness and destructive patterns of living toward the love and grace of our Savior.
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