The Passion of Christ in the Gospel of Luke
A Guide to Meditation and Prayer
Week 4 - Day 2
The Parable of the Fig Tree
Meditation on Scripture- Read Luke 21:29-38 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 concludes Jesus’ words about the future. They start with a parable about the fig tree. When you see the leaves of the fig tree, and all the trees beginning to emerge, it means summer is near. When the signs Jesus has spoken about begin to take place, you know the kingdom of God is near. Then Jesus makes a statement that made the disciples expect the events in. their lifetimes, the statement that their generation would see these things come to pass. Then Jesus affirmed that his words could be trusted for they would never pass away or fail.
The second section is an encouragement to be alert. It is possible to become weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and be overwhelmed with the cares of life. Jesus says that we. Do not want the day to come on us unexpectedly. We should pray to escape these things and instead stand before the Son of Man.
The exact timing of the events about which Jesus spoke has perplexed theologians through the centuries. There are parts of his words that would come true within a generation, such as the destruction of Jerusalem. His disciples would also see the kingdom of God come in power with the descending of the Holy Spirit on the church. In this sense there are aspects of Jesus’ words that came true very quickly. Other aspects however seem to be clearly in the future, The early church expected the imminent return of Christ but soon began to realize that his coming might be delayed. We see this change in tone between Paul’s first and second letter to the Thessalonians. Today we continue to wait but trust in Christ’s words which he said would not pass away.
Things to Consider –
· Jesus says that “this generation” will not pass away until all has taken place. Jesus may have meant the generation of the disciples. If this is the case, he was referring primarily to the destruction of Jerusalem and the terrible events surrounding it. However, Jesus may have meant the generation that saw these signs start to come to pass. In this case, many of these events are still in the future. In Mark 13, verse 32, Jesus himself would say that no one knew the exact hour, not the angels in heaven or even the Son, except for the Father.
· How often do you find yourself distracted by the cares of this life? If Christ were to return today, or call you home, would you consider yourself ready? What would need to change for you to be more ready?
· What do you think it will be like to “stand before the Son of Man?” Will this be a comforting moment or a terrifying one?
· How important do you think it is to look for the signs about which Jesus spoke?
· Martin Luther once said that God drives us to himself with his commands and threats and draws us by his promises and consolations. This section contains threats, such as the danger of being caught unprepared at the return of Christ. In Luther’s words, these are meant to “drive us” to Christ out of fear of God’s judgment. We also consoled in this passage by promises that assure us that Christ’s words will never fail. His promise of eternal life and forgiveness will not fail us. These are meant to draw us to Christ and his grace.
Guide for Prayer –
· Close your eyes and take one full minute to calm your mind and gather your spirit.
· Christianity believes that history is moving in the direction of God’s will. Thank God that he is the Lord of history and is moving it toward a great culmination that will center around the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
· Thank God for one way in which you see the kingdom of God making progress in the church, in your church, in your family, in your life.
· Use the words of the Lord’s Prayer to pray for the increase of God’s kingdom. “Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
· Thank God that his words will never pass away. Thank him that his promises will never fail. Think of one promise that are grateful you can count on.
· This is a passage about staying spiritually, morally, and relationally awake and ready. In prayer consider how you are doing in this regard and ask for God’s help.
· Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Consider your days and ask God that you might use them wisely and obtain a heart of wisdom.
· Think of one concern in your own life. What is one thing you deeply would like God to help you with or do for you. Humbly bring this request to God. Consider the promise where Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you.” Matthew 7:7.
· Take some moments to offer your own prayers to God. Offer whatever prayers and praises seem appropriate.