This week’s Gospel reading is not for the faint hearted. As the disciples admire the beauty of the Jerusalem temple, Jesus issues the believers with a grim warning about the distractions of this world and of their need to stand firm in their faith.
Alongside the many who will try to lead them astray in Jesus name and the rumours of wars and terrible tragedies is the reality that before the end comes, the disciples can expect to be hated, persecuted and betrayed even by those they love.
Hardly words that reassure or inspire confidence are they? Rather than being overcome by fear though, Jesus urges the disciples to see the difficult times ahead as an opportunity to bear witness to God.
“This will give you an opportunity to testify. So make up your minds not to prepare your defence in advance; for I will give you words and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict.” Luke 21:13 –15.
In the face of such terrible circumstances, Jesus encourages the disciples to stand firm in the certainty that God will give them everything they need to remain faithful.
You will be hated by all because of my name. But not a hair of your head will perish. By your endurance you will gain your souls. Luke 21:17-19.
The promise remains the same today. So the next time you find yourself feeling abused because of your faith remember to ask God to help your trials become an opportunity to reveal his love.
Till next time…..Andrew
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Rev. Andrew Smith
Vicar of Light in the Hills