Luke 21 v 27 At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with power and great glory.

This passage of Scripture and also its parallels in Matthew and Mark, is notoriously difficult to grapple with, especially in terms of a timeline. In other words, when is what going to happen? To help the reader I am summarizing it as follows:

1. Luke 21 verses 20 – 24. This refers to that period of time between Pentecost and the years that follow as the first disciples took the Gospel all over the empire. It culminates in AD 70 when the Roman armies finally surrounded Jerusalem and tore its walls down, butchering the people and destroying the temple. These would be terrible days for the Jewish people so Jesus warns them in verse 21. He says that all who are in Judea should flee to the hills; all those who are in the city must get out; and all outside the city must stay out. According to the historian Eusebius, Christians were given a revelation from God to flee to one of the cities of Perea on the eastern side of the Jordon River. It is reported that many Christians fled to the town of Pella, in that vicinity. Whether this flight actually took place under those circumstances is still being debated by historians, but what stands out firmly is Christ’s concern for his followers and also his knowledge of the future.

Think of this. Just a few days before his own suffering and death, Christ is preoccupied with those who would be living in the city of Jerusalem almost 40 years later. He was thinking of them and what they would go through. What marvellous love.

2. Why would this happen at all? The answer lies in verse 22: “For this is the time of punishment in fulfilment of all that has been written.”

Christ has been sent from Heaven, He was the son of the “Owner of the Vineyard”, to be the Messiah, Saviour and Peace maker. But he had been rejected by the very people he came to save. As a result, instead of embracing God’s mercy and love, they now suffer his wrath. There is no joy in saying these things. It is just a simple fact of life that the only two ultimate options facing all human beings in the world are the options of life and death.

To reject life is to invite death and judgement. It should make us all sober when we think of the millions who daily defy God.

May it please God the Father, to have mercy on us all.