Today’s bible study is from the Gospel of Luke 21:25-28: There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea. People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
This verse seems to be a very frightening warning indeed! Can you imagine the sun, the moon and the stars changing their size, shape, color or location? Can you even conceive of the sun hurtling toward earth and the moon leaving its orbit to drift off to the unknown reaches of the universe? Dare we imagine the sea tossing in a manner that surpasses even the most violent tsunami and people fainting en masse from terror? The gospel of Luke portrays a very frightening scene.
Luke is, in fact, speaking of the coming of the Son of Man. This coming is also mentioned in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. Theologians tell us that the Son of Man will come in a cloud. The end of history, the consummation of God’s purpose for creation, is pictured as the return of Christ. At the end of history we do not meet a stranger, but the one who has already appeared among us as the definitive revelation of God. At the end of history we shall meet the same Jesus portrayed in this Gospel.
Luke rejects the idea that the earthly appearance of Jesus in love and compassion was only a preliminary effort on God’s part to win humanity back to himself. Luke foresees that when Jesus returns it will be with violence and vengeance. The God represented by the Jesus of this gospel will ultimately prevail. The function of this eschatological discourse is not to satisfy curiosity about the time and manner of the end, but to proclaim God the Creator as the Lord of history, whose purpose for the world will finally be fulfilled, and to call the readers to repentance and service.
We can only pray that, if and when the end does come, we shall be ready to meet our maker and become children of His kingdom. May we do our best to live the word of God and to walk in the paths of Jesus. May we also appreciate all of creation, every rose and every tiny bird, and know that it is God’s creation and may be fleeting in the time-space continuum.
References: The People’s New Testament Commentary by M. Eugene Boring and Fred B. Craddock, The MacArthur Bible Commentary by John MacArthur and Concise Bible Commentary, David S. Dockery, General Editor
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