Not one of my favourite passages of Scripture! Scholars have argued over the precise meaning of Jesus’ doom-laden forecast of future events. But overall there is agreement that the siege and destruction of Jerusalem and sacking of the temple by the Romans in AD 70 (see Siege of Jerusalem for a brief overview of this event) is one of the references; one which would have been very relevant to the early readers of the gospels (‘published’ before AD 70). There is some evidence that Christians living in Jerusalem did leave the city and hide in the hills around AD 68.
Mixed in with the foretelling of this cataclysmic local event, is the forecast of Jesus’ second coming and some of the scary signs that will precede this. On the latter Jesus is quite firm that:- “… about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father” (v.36).
Because we live in a time of relative peace and prosperity – certainly in the affluent West – it is tempting to ignore all these heavy prophecies and just hope for a quiet life. But Jesus is quite clear that we should be in a state of readiness for his return, because he will come when we least expect it. So what does it mean in practice to be ready for his return? A few ideas:-
- Pray through the day. Just try and talk to God about things that matter as they happen, any mix of thanks, praise, apology and pleas for help will do.
- Try and undertake at least one unexpected act of kindness to a friend, or one of your family or to a strangers. Nothing major here, a kind word can make a huge difference to someone’s day.
- Read a bit of The Bible and think about it as you go to work or school or playground
- Think of something that you are anxious about and try leaving at least part of with Jesus, as he longs to take our burdens; given He has already dealt with them on The Cross.
“Dear Lord, help me to be ready for your return in Glory, and help me to share this truth with others.”