Pastor’s pondering

This week I heard someone on the radio say that each day, as they wake up and see what is going on in the world around us, they feel like they are witnessing another chapter of The Revelation to John unfolding.  In recent months and years, we feel more and more like we are living in the final days. We watch as humanity is in continual conflict, regions are engulfed in war, and people are abandoning their faith.  Everything about the world seems to be falling apart.  For many the world is in a much worse place than it has ever been, and they just can’t wait for Jesus to return to fix it all.

Ironically, this is exactly how the early disciples felt, too.  They believed that, after his ascension, Jesus would return any day to right the wrongs of the world.  They were being persecuted by various authorities.  They lived lowly lives, with far fewer things than any of us have.  They desired change as much, or even more so than we do.  As such, in the deepest desires of their hearts, they firmly believed that Jesus would come back very soon and rescue them from the state of the world.  He was the Messiah after all!  He had told them these things would happen – “you will hear of wars and rumors of wars…nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places…you will be hated by all nations because of my name…many will fall way…they will betray one another and hate one another…false prophets will arise…the love of many will grow cold…” (selected portions of Mtw 24:6-12, NRSV).

Yet, Jesus also gave this promise – “…the one who endures to the end will be saved.  And this good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the world, as a testimony to all the nations; and then the end will come” (Mtw 24:13-14).  Pay close attention to Jesus’s statement here – the end was not to come until the good news had been proclaimed throughout the world; until the testimony of the gospel had been spread to all the nations.  This is why he gave us the Great Commission – to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” (Mtw 28:19).  He commissioned the Church with the task of making a difference in the world, preparing it for his return.  That is why the early Church worked diligently to ensure The Way that Jesus had provided for them was being spread far and wide. They wanted to make sure everyone had the opportunity to see heaven when he did come back.  The Church was actively engaged in a variety of activities every single day, making straight the pathways in the wilderness for the King of kings.

So, the real thing for us to ponder is – are we doing the same today?  As we look about us and see the signs, are we doing what is necessary to prepare not only ourselves, but the entire world, for Jesus’s return?  Are we proclaiming the Good News of the Kingdom of God?  Are we sharing our testimony with the nations?  Are we making disciples?

                                                            Always pondering,

                                                            Pastor Steve

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