Luke 21:20-28 NRSVue

20“When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near., 21Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it, 22for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfillment of all that is written. 23Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; 24they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations, and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the nations, until the times of the nations are fulfilled.

25“There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. 26People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in a cloud’ with power and great glory. 28Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”,

Some thoughts on this scripture

There is a mixture here of two distinct prophecies of Jesus: one of the destruction of Jerusalem by the Roman armies in 70 A.D.; the other of the second coming of Christ at the end of the time. The readers of Luke’s gospel could recall how Jerusalem had been laid waste; and they expected the Second Coming of Christ in their lifetime.

Our perspective is different, but the theme of distress and desolation still strikes a chord with us. We commend to God in prayer the thousands who live in desolation and foreboding, the victims of war and famine. Lord, in your kingdom look with pity on the suffering people of Iraq, Sudan and other places of misery. For many of them, whether Moslem of Christian, you are their only secure refuge

In the midst of all sorts of destruction, redemption, new life, joy can be just around the corner. No matter how life may frighten us, the care and the protection of God is near. Jesus uses creation signs to indicate this.