Ex 21:22-23:13; Mt 24:1-28; Ps 29:1-11; Pv 7:6-23
My grandma was an english teacher and back in the days before it was “normal” for women to get their education, she got her masters degree. Grandma would have corrected Jesus’ grammar. She was a beautiful stern correctly spoken woman. She corrected everyone’s grammar. My mom did too, but she didn’t get her degree. Neither did I….but I also assert my opinions about correct use of the English language upon people. Just like my grandma did. I’m just SURE that my friends and family appreciate that about me. Right? Maybe not so much.
Anyway, that’s the thing that at first struck me about this verse….the inaccurate use of verbal tense. Notice….”if those days HAD NOT BEEN cut short, no one WOULD survive but for the sake of the elect those days WILL BE shortened.” Why would Jesus use such poor grammar? Or, why would the translators write this verse destined be written as part of the best selling for all time book? What in the world? I know it seems ridiculous to fixate on something like this, especially given the topic, but I can’t help but notice.
The topic is Jesus teaching us about the destruction of the Temple and Signs of the End Times. Jesus had just left the temple (in Matthew 23) where he had sandblasted the Pharisees and teachers of the law. He called them snakes, brood of vipers, and hypocrites. Basically Jesus had called them to the carpet for their “do as I say, not do as I do” rule of thumb. Matthew 24:1 starts with Jesus leaving the temple and walking away. I’m sure this came as a relief to his disciple friends. I can just hear them saying, “Whew thank God we made it out of there, I thought they were going to chain us up!” Verse 1 goes on to say that “his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.” I wonder where they saying,
“Hey buddy, we better be careful, we’re in the house of God.”
or were they saying……
“You told them Jesus! Just check out this gaudy place, what a bunch of sticks and bricks full of evil!!”
Anyway, Jesus goes on to tell them about how these buildings are going to be “thrown down” in verse 2. Then in verse 3, we find Jesus in the garden….His place of refuge. The earthly place of worship that Jesus often went to pray and be at peace, right outside of Jerusalem. Jerusalem, the place he was headed to die. More questions from the disciples. “When will this happen? What will be a sign of your coming? and of the end of the age?”
So Jesus begins to warn them about many coming to claim they’re the messiah, and to not be deceived. He tells them “but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come” in verse 7. More “good news” follows with warnings of wars and rumors of wars, famines, and earthquakes. He tells his friends that they’re going to be abandoned, handed over to death, and hated because of Jesus. Many are going to turn away and betray each other. False prophets are going to appear and there will be an increase of wickedness and love growing cold.
Sounds like fun, right? I bet you’re glad you signed up for this program now, Peter! I wonder if this is when Judas began to have second thoughts? How would YOU feel, dear reader?
“but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” – Matthew 24:13
I will often turn on social media, radio, tv and hope to find encouragement from Christian leaders, and there are some so called prophets that will point out how we are currently experiencing some of these end time predictions. Some are pre-tribulation theorists and some post-tribulation theorists, there’s another term for those that think the rapture will come during the seven years of tribulation, but I can’t remember what that terminology is, and I don’t want to get it wrong (God forbid my grandma in Heaven correcting me on that!!)
Or I can turn on secular social media, radio and tv and see how wickedness IS increasing and Christians ARE hated, and love HAS grown cold, just like Jesus promised. Then I can feel alarmed by the sheer ignorance of society that there are consequences to pay. One of today’s readings is Exodus 23:13 says “Be careful to do everything I have said to you. Do not invoke the names of other gods; do not let them be heard on your lips.” Invoking the names of other gods is all over the world right now. The gods of fear mongering, threats of war, fraud, censorship, democrats vs republican, protests, hate.
And ow boy….can I get ALARMED! I am a 4 on the enneagram. I FEEL first, then think later. This isn’t a bad thing, at times because it this heart led life brings me to be compassionate towards others and reach out to those in need. But during times like 2020 and the election, Lord have mercy have I gotten distracted and alarmed. I have goals and dreams like everyone else and I can get going good for a while. Going to the gym everyday, sticking to the diet, reading my books, relating to my husband, I do good for a while. Then something like riots at the capital or be rejected by friend or family member can cause me to really get alarmed and off track in my goals.
Perhaps this bad grammar verse can bring me comfort. The fact that its written in past, present and future tense can help me know that Jesus is the beginning, middle and the end. The alpha and the omega. The past, present and the future. His redemption, if I will stand firm, is eternal. I don’t have to look around for the Messiah , because verse 27 assures me that
“For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:27
In fact, now that I think about it, if I’m looking somewhere else, distracted from the instructions that God has given ME to do, the tasks, the goals, the visions, the dreams, that God has set on MY heart, I’m gonna miss Him in my every day. The little moments that Jesus brings me love, joy, peace.
So, I ask you dear reader, are you looking elsewhere for the messiah? Are you stuck in the “inner room” of depression? Have you wandered of to the wilderness to find Him?
Lately, I’ve gotten off track my my workout program & my diet. I got mad at someone and let it distract me. I didn’t get my way, and my friend didn’t do what I thought they should do, and felt entitled and prideful. When it occurred to me that I’ve had a negative mindset since the capital riots. I’ve been listening to news radio which is full of venom. Its caused me to not find joy in my daily moments.
I’ve gotten “alarmed”. Have you? Are you finding God in your daily walk? Join me as I find Jesus again. Jesus is the beginning, middle and end. In the end….God wins! I can rest assured, go for a walk, rest.