And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. Many will come in my name, saying, I am he!’ and they will lead many astray. And when you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. This must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains.
“But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.
Comment: If you remember yesterday Jesus talked about the destruction of the temple and the disciples asked when this would happen. Yesterday’s question doesn’t seem to be answered directly but Jesus looks at a much broader issue.
- Jesus starts with a warning for them not to listen to false messiahs. There were many zealots who sought to attract followers to help them take the future into their own terrorist (freeing Jews of unbelieving leaders) activity.
- Next there is a warning that talks of political upheaval and geographic tragedies do not per se indicate the end of the age. It even makes it sound a bit distant.
- Persecution of Christ’s followers is stated as a certainty. It started to happen very early . (As an example Saul of Tarsus’ activity in this is well described in the book of Acts). And persecution is going on very actively in much of the world today.
- World wide spread of the gospel is foretold and is going on even to this time. The Jewish event of the life and times of the Christ is now the gospel, which is being made available to all.
Prayer: Please help me to be awake to Your plans for history in the long run, and faithful in living today for You.