However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!
As a news junkie, the latest reports about ISIS executing Ethiopian Christians in a similar fashion as they used to murder Egyptian Christian men is appalling and mind-boggling. Even more alarming is the report Ann Voskamp posted on her Facebook page:
According to Jews News this week, “According to a document issued by ISIS, Christian & Yazidi girls, aged between 1 and 9, are up for grabs for $172…. Slaves are not listed as women – they are labelled as Merchandise.”
Jesus spent a lot of time spelling out to his disciples what things must happen before He returns to reign and rule. He often used familiar things, such as the fig tree that withered and died. A vineyard run by evil tenant farmers who killed the owner’s son. Even the impressive stones in the walls of the Temple that would be completely demolished. They could use all five senses to try and understand the stories but still didn’t get it.
We don’t get it either. Why is all this happening? What has changed so dramatically that even common decency is tragically abused and forgotten? Human life is devalued from the cradle to the grave. We read stories of Christian martyrs from today — not centuries ago.
Jesus’ warnings better jar us awake:
Jesus replied, “Don’t let anyone mislead you, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah.’ They will deceive many. And you will hear of wars and threats of wars, but don’t panic. Yes, these things must take place, but the end won’t follow immediately. Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in many parts of the world, as well as famines. But this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come.”
“When these things begin to happen, watch out! You will be handed over to the local councils and beaten in the synagogues. You will stand trial before governors and kings because you are my followers. But this will be your opportunity to tell them about me. For the Good News must first be preached to all nations.” Mark 13:5-10 (NLT)
We need to be in the Good News business. With our world upside down, people are looking for answers and we have them. Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will be with us to give the answers. Be winsome and available. Look for opportunities to share your faith.
Things are definitely changing. We may be observing the beginning of birth pangs.
“Be on guard! Stay alert!”