photo 47Luke 21 v 36. “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man”.

A lot has been happening in the very temple precincts during this passage of scripture. In answer to the disciples’ questions in chapter 21 v 7 “When will these things happen and what will be the sign that they are about to take place”, Jesus has answered in several ways. He has predicted the destruction of the temple which was incomprehensible to any Jewish listener. He spoke about persecution which would follow shortly after his death and resurrection. He also spoke about political upheavals, tremendous cosmic happenings, family divisions and the fall of the city of Jerusalem, another idea that any Jew would have found almost impossible to believe. Finally he spoke about his own glorious return to this world and the signs which would accompany it.

After all this it is quite surprising to read his words in verse 34 “Be careful or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation ……” One would have thought that with the amazing and indeed, frightening revelation Jesus had given, the thought of living a dissipated lifestyle would be far from the minds of the disciples.

But our Lord was a realist, you see, and knew only too well the awful drag downwards that our fallen natures put on our hearts. So he warns them and urges them to be on their guard.

It is quite a shock to read that his warning is against dissipation i.e. the excessive and wild indulgence of pleasure and drunkenness. In other words human nature tends to satisfy its own passions and pleasures first. Dissipation and drunkenness stand for all those things in the world that would drive us away from God, or blunt our vision or take away our appetite for spiritual things. But if we were honest could we not look back on our lives and note with sadness how many of those who claimed to be followers of Jesus finally let the side down sadly? How many Christians have given in to moral temptation, greed, carelessness and various forms of idolatry?

This warning is urgent because is it referring to the final day and to “all who live on the face of the whole earth” (v 35).

Have you given in or given up? It is only by being spiritually watchful at all times; by urgently praying to God for Grace and strength that we can last out to the end. If we are watchful and prayerful God in His Sovereign Grace will keep us and we can take our stand, without fear, when the Son of Man returns.