Advent 01 - Luke 21 - Destruction of Jerusalem
Luke 1 - Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2 just as they were handed down to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, 3 it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4 so that you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught….Luke 21:5 - And while some were talking about the temple, that it was adorned with beautiful stones and votive gifts, He said, 6 “As for these things which you are looking at, the days will come in which there will not be left one stone upon another which will not be torn down.” 7 They questioned Him, saying, “Teacher, when therefore will these things happen? And what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” . . . 20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is near. 21 “Then those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those who are in the midst of the city must leave, and those who are in the country must not enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, so that all things which are written will be fulfilled. 23 “Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land and wrath to this people; 24 and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. 25 “There will be signs in sun and moon and stars, and on the earth dismay among nations, in perplexity at the roaring of the sea and the waves, 26 men fainting from fear and the expectation of the things which are coming upon the world; for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27 “Then they will see THE SON OF MAN COMING IN A CLOUD with power and great glory. 28 “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” 29 Then He told them a parable: “Behold the fig tree and all the trees; 30 as soon as they put forth leaves, you see it and know for yourselves that summer is now near. 31 “So you also, when you see these things happening, recognize that the kingdom of God is near. 32 “Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all things take place. 33 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.
This is the first Sunday of Advent and in this new Church Year we will be studying the Gospel of Luke. The purpose of Luke was so that “you may know the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (1:4). Here is the claim of certainty or veracity (the exact truth or know for certain). The truth of the Gospel is no more at stake than in the prophetic claim of Jesus in Luke 21, our first Advent Gospel text. What is foretold is His “coming in a cloud” with great power and glory (21:27; Mt 24:30, 26:64; Mk 13:26, 14:62). Skeptics have denied the certainty of Jesus’ claims. In “Why I am Not Christian,” Bertrand Russell famously said that Jesus “thought that His second coming would occur in clouds of glory before the death of all the people who were living at that time” (cf 21:32, “this generation”). Therefore, Jesus was wrong. Albert Schweitzer, a great NT critic, theologian, and missionary built an entire theology around this mistake of Jesus “realized eschatology.” Even C.S. Lewis offers an apology regarding how Jesus is wrong about this matter.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more