Luke 21:5-19 NRSVue
5When some were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said, 6“As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”
7They asked him, “Teacher, when will this be, and what will be the sign that this is about to take place?” 8And he said, “Beware that you are not led astray, for many will come in my name and say, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is near!’ Do not go after them.
9“When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified, for these things must take place first, but the end will not follow immediately.” 10Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom; 11there will be great earthquakes and in various places famines and plagues, and there will be dreadful portents and great signs from heaven.
12“But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance, 15for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16You will be betrayed even by parents and siblings, by relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17You will be hated by all because of my name. 18But not a hair of your head will perish. 19By your endurance you will gain your souls.
“Copyright © 2021 National Council of Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.”
Some thoughts on this scripture
The temple was not just the centre of the Jews’ civilisation: it was the place where God lived among them. Jesus told them that it was all going to fall apart! Is there any way in which my "secure centre" - either personal or national - threatens to collapse? The fall of the Twin Towers in New York is a powerful symbol for many of us. The key words from Jesus in all of this are; "Do not be terrified". Can I allow Jesus, the Consoler, to speak to me, wherever I am?
The advertising or propaganda of the past seems innocent and quaint to us now as we wonder how people thought what they did. Jesus reminds us not to become too proud of our achievements or set in unnecessary convictions.
There are many who speak in extreme words, telling the news in alarming and unsettling ways. Unlike Jesus, they do not offer truth or life. I listen to him now and hear how he speaks to me of the voices that are not for my good.