The Destruction of Jerusalem Foretold
Jesus said to the disciples, ‘When you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then know that its desolation has come near. Then those in Judea must flee to the mountains, and those inside the city must leave it, and those out in the country must not enter it; for these are days of vengeance, as a fulfilment of all that is written. Woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing infants in those days! For there will be great distress on the earth and wrath against this people; they will fall by the edge of the sword and be taken away as captives among all nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
‘There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on the earth distress among nations confused by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will faint from fear and foreboding of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see “the Son of Man coming in a cloud” with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to take place, stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.’
Jesus said: Stand up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.
In recent days we have been faced with the challenges that, for centuries, have confronted those who have committed themselves to living a life of true Christian faith. Today this message is reinforced with Jesus’ talk of the destruction of Jerusalem. But … despite his foretelling of the demise of the holy city, Jesus’ message ends with words of encouragement and hope.
It is a sad fact that so many of us become rooted in and obsessed by the negative. We align ourselves with the first criminal on the cross, the one who derided Jesus; we align ourselves with those who set the accumulation of monetary wealth before God’s call to a life of sacrificial giving; we align ourselves with those who value buildings, possessions and the fripperies of modern life above all else. Today Jesus reminds us of the triviality of such things, of the fact that God, in his gracious love for the totality of the human race, promises us so much more.
Throughout scripture, from the moment of creation to the end of all time, we see the prophecies and the reality of the Messiah, the Anointed One of God. We are constantly fed with the divine promise of a new reality, a reality which will lead us into an eternal relationship with the God who made the ultimate sacrifice for us all.
Today we are being reminded of that promise and of the call to commit ourselves completely and utterly to living in the hope and joy that is God’s promise. Life in this world is a constant challenge to those who trust and believe in Jesus Christ. It is for us to pray for the strength, the courage and the determination to live that life, to confront the persecution and the destruction, to live as faithful disciples until we find ourselves in God’s eternal presence.