We Are To Spread the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Whole World!
Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple. 2But he answered them, ”You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.” 3As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4And Jesus answered them, ”See that no one leads you astray. 5For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.6And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. 7For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 ”Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. 14And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
December 11, 2021
There would be good reason for some to look around at the world as it is today, and conclude, “Well, this is surely the coming of the end times!” There is conflict and division, internal national strife, as well as tension between nations and peoples. At the same time, we live in a post-Christian North American culture which seems hell-bent on doing away with biblical Christianity, the truth and authority of Holy Scripture and our Judeo-Christian foundations. Jesus says at that time “many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray.” And…“because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.” Does that not seem a haunting reflection of our current reality in North America? There have been TV commercials, YouTube videos and podcasts by evangelistic preachers recently, pointing to these as signs of the end times. And guess what? Jesus Himself says this is so. Shocking as it might seem to Lutherans, Jesus appears to agree with TV preachers. This is not the end time, but these are signs that we are moving toward that time when He will come again in power and glory. Jesus describes them as the “beginning of the birth pains.” And what does it mean that these are the “beginning of the birth pains?” As with childbirth, the birth pangs (or discomfort, as the nurses describe it) may worsen, but finally, there will be something better — a new birth, a new beginning, new life. The end times are not to be feared but welcomed, as we will then see the New Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. In the meantime, we are to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom to the whole world — then the end will come.