The Passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke
A Guide to Meditation and Prayer
Week 3 - Day 5
There Will Be Trouble
Nation Against Nation
Meditation on Scripture- Read Luke 21:10-19 and write your reflections in the workbook. Use the summary below for further reflection on the passage. Prayer- Use the Guide for Prayer.
This section is a continuation of the words of Jesus in answer to the disciples’ question about the destruction of the temple. Jesus seems to expand the horizon of his comments in this section, looking farther into the future. He begins by warning the disciples that trouble is ahead. There will be conflicts and wars between nations. People will also experience natural disasters and catastrophes. Jesus tells his followers that they will be persecuted because of his name, but because of him will stand before kings and rulers. When that happens, God will give them words to speak that will enable them, though only simple disciples, not only to address them but to confound them. This trouble will reach to the level of the family and set members of families against one another, even parents and children. Jesus tells them that some of them will even be put to death. Yet though everyone hates them, not a hair from their heads will perish. Jesus then encourages absolute endurance as the sign of their faithfulness to him.
These words of Jesus were certainly accurate. He accurately described the time since then up until today. These words have helped the church understand that it would sometimes live in difficult circumstances. Just because Christ had come did not mean that there would be no more dictators or tyrants, nor that nations would not seek to invade other nations. These things would happen as the church went about its business of ministry. Part of God’s plan to enable the church to witness would be the persecutions it would endure. Because of these persecutions, kings and rulers would hear the gospel proclaimed to them. That the gospel is proclaimed widely is part of God’s great plan, even though it creates severe trouble in some places. Even families will be at odds over issues of faith and intensely so. Yet endurance is what is called for and in enduring such afflictions Jesus’ disciples prove themselves worthy of eternal life.
Things to Consider –
· Do you think there are more wars and conflicts in the world today than at previous times?
· Are you familiar with any stories in which Christians have been persecuted today? What is your reaction to these?
· Have you ever experienced any persecution, however briefly or small? In what way?
· Have you ever had the opportunity to witness for Christ or do something good and had just the right words to say?
· Have you heard of anyone who came into tension with their family because of their faith in Christ? What was the outcome?
· Did your family nurture your faith as a child and youth? How? If not, why?
· Why do you think people hate Jesus?
· How is God able to keep us eternally safe and secure even when we suffer earthly trouble?
· Why do you think Jesus encouraged endurance? How is your spiritual endurance? In what ways do you give up too easily?
· Are there ways you can stand up for Christ in your circumstances?
Guide for Prayer –
· As a preparation for prayer, reflect for one minute on the scripture verse that says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” James 1:5
· Thank God that he has established governments for the safety and protection of their people. Think of two things you are thankful for about our country.
· Thank God for the promise of eternal life. Thank him that no matter what might happen, even death, not a hair of your head will perish.
· Think about the world today. Pray that God will give scientists wisdom and insight to create new cures that bring healing to many. Pray that God will provide breakthroughs that will help us care for our environment. Pray that God will raise up world leaders that have the wisdom to lead the world toward peace, not into war.
· Pray for the church around the world, especially in areas where it suffers persecution. Ask God to support, protect, and nurture it.
· Pray for a Christian revival in the Muslim world. And the Buddhist world. And the Hindu world. And the secular world.
· Consider what troubles there might be in your life in the future. Ask God to give you grace to face them, that you might hold strong to your faith.
· Philippians 1:6 says that God, who has begun his good work in us, will bring it to completion in the day of Jesus Christ. Ask God to continue his work in your and bring it to its full completion.
· Take some moments to offer your own prayers to God. Offer whatever prayers and praises seem appropriate.