Sunday, January 15, 2012

Luke Part 55: Prophecies from the Olivet Discourse

Text: Luke 17:22-37

This section recorded here could also be referred to as the "Olivet Discourse".  Chapter 24 of Matthew contains a more detailed account of this discourse.  Matthew's account is targeted at the Jews, and contains more description to enable them to foresee the destruction in 70 AD.  There is also some prophecy applied to the Second Coming of Christ.  Luke's gospel is targeted primarily at the Gentiles, so the account here is more broadly applicable.

This passage might be considered as "meat"... not the simple "milk" that is easy to digest, but rather a teaching for those who are already strong and wise to digest.  The prophecies contained in this passage are mysterious; there is not unanimity of opinion in these verses.  Some thinks are known and some things are hidden; here are a few observations:

In the first section, verses 22-25, Luke records the words, "days will come when you will desire to see one of the days of the Son of Man".  Jesus' followers will suffer in this life.  A time will come for some of them when they will want for it to be finished.  You may have to suffer greatly in the service of the King.  In all these things, you are expected to be joyful; remembering that it is in trials where you will meet Him.

Note that some will say "Here is Jesus!".  But, where Jesus truly is, you don't need for it to be pointed out.  When Jesus is at work, His people will know it.  When the Son of Man is at work upon the earth, it will be clear for all to see.

The second section encompasses verse 26-33.  It begins with a comparison to the times Noah and Sodom.  From this we see that when the Son of Man is revealed, there will be a sudden interruption of ordinary life.  In a similar way, people who escaped the destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD found that their lives were turned upside-down.

"Remember Lot's wife."  Those who cherish this life, those who long for this life, who cannot bear for it to be interrupted, these will be those who lose their life.  For Christians, life in this world is secondary -- they love the Lord more than they love this life.

The third section covers verses 34-36.  The basic principle here is that every individual must deal with the Lord on his won.  There are two people that seem identical, working and living together, but only one is taken.  The other is left to suffer the judgment that awaits those who reject Christ.

Finally, we get to verse 37.  This verse is difficult to apply.  Note that the disciples as "Where" not "When" will these things take place.  Jesus doesn't give a direct answer pointing to a particular place.  His response is sort of like a proverb such as, "if the shoe fits..."  The fulfillment of these things may occur in different places and in different ways.

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