The Scariest Passage in the Gospels
They call it the Little Apocalypse (not to be confused with the full on treatment in the book of Revelation).
In the gospel of Mark, repeated in Luke and also here in Matthew 24 is a text about immense change…actually about The End. As we approach the passion in Matthew and the last 4 chapters of the story we have been following since Christmas it comes as a rather ominous warning.
The Temple will be destroyed, there will be great persecutions, and then there will the Desolating Sacrilege (about which more on Sunday…stay tuned!) It is portrayed in the synoptics as the clearest sign that God is calling to a finish the powers that be, and that a New Kingdom will be ushered in.
And then Jesus says all these things are actually only the beginning of the birth pangs. Yikes! There is more? Worse?
Jesus was a poet, rabbi, and storyteller of considerable skill. We have already heard how his exaggeration/hyperbole and colorful examples got everyone’s attention. Now comes language painting frightening pictures of what is to come.
It kick started the church and gave us courage in the difficult early days. If you have ever considered giving up when a new start seemed hopelessly out of reach, or if you have ever wanted to turn around when the early going of a new endeavor seemed too difficult…these are words for you. Words for all of us. From the pain of the beginning of birth pangs there is really only one way…ahead!
See you in worship –