St. John's Lutheran
Build Your Life on God's Word!
The First Sunday in Advent | November 28, 2021
21:5And while some were speaking of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, 6 “As for these things that you see, the days will come when there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 7 And they asked him, “Teacher, when will these things be, and
what will be the sign when these things are about to take place?” 8 And he said, “See that you are not led astray. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and, ‘The time is at hand!’ Do not go after them. 9 And when you hear of wars and tumults, do not be terrified, for these things must first take place, but the
end will not be at once. 10 Then he said to them, “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in various places famines and pestilences. And there will be terrors and great signs from heaven. 12 But before all this they will lay their hands on you and persecute
you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors for my name’s sake. 13 This will be your opportunity to bear witness. 14 Settle it therefore in your minds not to meditate beforehand how to answer, 15 for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death. 17 You will be hated by all for my name’s sake. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your lives. – Luke 21:5-19
It has often struck me that as we begin the season of Advent, looking forward to the celebration of our Lord’s birth, that we are also encouraged, if not challenged, to look forward to the day He will return. Today’s passage is one that does just that. It speaks of the destruction of everything in this life that is not of God, and of the kind of events that will take place as the world, as we know it, comes to an end. Apocalyptic literature is what we often call it —passages that speak of cataclysmic events, ones that can only be seen as signs of the beginning of the end. Today’s passage is certainly apocalyptic. It speaks of the
destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, of nations rising against nations, of wars, of earthquakes, of famines and plagues, and of how followers of Jesus will be persecuted and betrayed. Before the end is to come, Jesus says, all kinds of apocalyptic events will take place. At the same time, our Lord also tells His disciples to never lose sight of the calling we have in Him, and to never forget the promises that belong to us through faith.
When the world begins to fall apart, Jesus says, remember whose world it is. When life begins to turn upside down, use it as an opportunity to tell the world where to turn. More than anything, as we look forward to our Lord’s return, make sure you are building your life on a foundation that will last. The disciples of Jesus were as vulnerable as people are today. They looked at the Temple, they looked at the foundations set in stone. They could not imagine the possibility of anything being more solid and secure. Remember what Jesus said? He said, “As for what you see, the time will come when not one stone will be left on
another; every one of them will be thrown down.” And so it was in the year 70 AD; that Temple that seemed so indestructible was destroyed. You tell me. What are the foundations upon which people build their lives today? Are they any more secure than the ones from long ago? Good health? A solid stock portfolio? Job security? Money in the bank? World history is filled with stories of people who have built their lives on the wrong foundations. People whose life’s details are vastly different from one another, but whose stories end up in the same place. Jesus says, “Be careful where you are building. Do not forget what will last and what will not.” Isaiah writes, “The grass withers, the flower fades; but the Word of our God will stand forever.” The psalmist asks, “If the Devotion written by the Rev. Dr. Daniel Selbo (email@example.com) 5 foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do?” Paul says, “But God’s firm foundation stands…For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.” The lesson is simple and clear. “If it is of this world,” Jesus says, “then it is of this world. And if it is of this world, then it will not last.” Not one stone in this life will be left upon another! Every one of them will be thrown down! As we
begin this season of Advent, take our Lord’s words to heart. Build your life on the foundation of His Word. Secure your life on a foundation that will last.