Responding to the End (Luke 21:29–36)

preparing-titleObsolete. When my old iPhone 4 would not accept the new software update, it became obsolete. Slowly, imperceptibly, moment by moment, the hardware of the old iPhone could not keep up with the new software. While obsolescence is inconvenient for technology, it is devastating when we miss the birth of the things of God. In Luke 21, Jesus spells out the seismic shifts happening around them and invites them to respond (21:29–38). How do we keep ourselves from being obsolete to the purposes of God in our generation?

First we must be established in God’s Word (Luke 21:29–33). The world is changing rapidly. In the midst of change, our goal is not to hold on to the past like a child holding onto winter by keeping a slowly melting pile of snow. Rather, in the midst of change, we must see the work that God is birthing, as the kingdom of God is near.  Even things that seem permanent and unchanging, such as heaven and earth, pass away. Jesus assures us, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (21:33).  As a result, in a rapidly changing world, we must be established in the never-changing truths of the Word of God.

Also, we must stay awake in prayer (Luke 21:34–36). We must stay connected to the changes happening around us and beware so that we are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap” (21:34). Instead, we must stay awake at all times praying that you may have strength to escape all these things things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man (21:36). This is the reality in which we operate.

So what? Just as Jesus prepared his soon-to-be disoriented followers for the destruction of the temple, so we must respond with grace and strength to our own disorientations in light of the seismic shifts of the world around us. We worship the One who is Lord yesterday, today and forever. May we remain simultaneously established and flexible— established in God’s Word without compromise in light of the blowing winds of culture yet flexible and awake in prayer, joining in the fresh work that the Spirit invites us toward in the kingdom.

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