There appear to be a lot of things going on in the world these days, from revolutions, to wars, to earthquakes, floods, draughts and solar flairs. There are other things looming on the horizon that the average person is not even aware of. Crops have fail in Brazil due to flooding, Mexico due to the cold, Australia due to flooding, China due to draught. An unprecedented famine is knocking on our door and all most people can see is higher grocery prices. Disruptions in the northern African countries are sending oil prices higher. If these revolutions spread to Saudi Arabia we could be looking at incredible disaster as the higher prices push us into an economic world depression. We also know that scientists are expecting the next big pandemic to strike, which we could also refer to as the plague. Yet, people do not have the eyes to see and the ears to hear or the heart to understand.
We haven't even touched on the huge changes in the climate, resulting in the growing natural disasters that are hitting. Natural disasters are normal but the size of the disasters are getting larger. Haiti was devastated, New Orleans drowned, Christchurch crushed, Australia and Brazil flooded, the largest hurricane recorded and now it is reported that the earth is changing its axis. Yet people do not have the eyes to see and the ears to hear or the heart to understand.
Then we have the changing morality of our societies. Parental rights are being superseded by the state. Sins of the past are being accepted as normal in the present. Homosexuality is being embraced, the laws against polygamy are being challenged and will likely fall, people have dropped marriage and simply live together, changing relationships like they change socks, millions of babies are being killed every year. Solid Biblical teaching is disappearing, demonic teaching is replacing it, false prophets are a dime a dozen, there are people claiming to be Jesus, others giving us the exact date of his return, prominent Christians claiming there is more than one way to God. In simple terms, there is a lot of confusion going around. Yet people do not have the eyes to see and the ears to hear or the heart to understand.
With all this going on in our day, we still have the nerve to look back in the gospels and ask "Could they not see?" Don't fool yourself, they knew who Jesus was as he stood before them, hands tied and accused by false witnesses. Take note that they were trying to find false witnesses that would agree because they needed at least two that would agree, and they had to be false because Jesus, the Son of God, stood innocent before them:
The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death. But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. (Matthew 26:59-60)
It was happening just as Jesus told them it would and Peter was there in the shadows as a witness to this mockery of a trial. He told his disciples plainly that he would go to Jerusalem, be arrested and then killed, but on the third day he would rise again:
Jesus took the Twelve aside and told them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and everything that is written by the prophets about the Son of Man will be fulfilled. He will be handed over to the Gentiles. They will mock him, insult him, spit on him, flog him and kill him. On the third day he will rise again.” (Luke 18:31-33)
They did not have the eyes to see and the ears to hear or the heart to understand. Jesus did not tell them these things to scare them but instead to prepare them. He wanted them to know what was happening while it was happening so that they knew something better was coming. Those were very dark days for those disciples as they coward in the dark in various places in the city, too afraid to even move. For them it was the end of the world, everything that was familiar to them was no more, changed forever. Jesus spoke these words so that when it all went wrong they had something to hold on to; hope.
What we see going on in the world today has already been told to us, not to frighten us but instead to prepare us. We know that it is going to get a lot worse before it gets better. Entire economies are going to crash, disasters will increase, famine will spread, disease will set in. We know that the United States has to fall because she does not have a role in the end times power struggle. When she falls the world will really take on a new shape. We can look at these things and be very afraid or we can look at them and rejoice for what is coming. Jesus told his disciples that what he had to go through had a purpose and hope would be realized on the third day. Jesus and the prophets have also told us that these days have a purpose and we need to keep an eye, not on the storms, but on what comes after; the return of the conquering Messiah, our Lord, our King, our God, our friend, our brother and our Saviour.
We have some rough days ahead and we need to be praying for wisdom, discernment and strength. We need to be busy with the Father's work, reaching out to a world that will become more and more confused. They will turn on us and hate us but that does not remove from us the responsibility to reach out in love with the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we become fearful and concerned with our own welfare how will they ever know the transforming power of Jesus? More than ever we need to be selfless and seek the best for our neighbour and we know that the best is Jesus. So hold on my friends, we are in for a bumpy ride which is going to require a great deal of faith and trust, and for which we need to keep our eyes on the goal which is our salvation. Let's run this race in style and cause Jesus to smile at our tenacity as we sing his praises in the darkest hours. To God be the glory.