Headlines about the recent Japan earthquake, tsunami and nuclear plant crisis have inspired a lot of different emotions in people. I have been asked: Don’t these events make you wonder about the future? My question is if they create in you a sense of fear or hope? Jesus told his disciples “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains. 9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. 10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, 11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. 12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, 13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.- Matt 24:4-14
It’s interesting that Jesus tells his disciples to “watch out,” and “see that you are not alarmed.” He gives us warnings that conditions will be very difficult but calls them “birth pains.” Birth pains! That’s an interesting picture. New life introduced through temporary, though very intense agony. A new kingdom which will be free from Satan’s influence. Now that’s worth looking forward to! It looks to me like Jesus does not want us to be caught off guard by the hard times but to feed our faith so we can live with hope rather than fear. Cultural elements like hatred toward Christians, war, earthquakes, famines, false teachers have dotted history since the time of Christ. But possibly the most significant “take home” points found in this text is the promise that “he who stands firm to the end will be saved,” and the assignment “this gospel…will be preached in the whole world.” Fear tends to cause me to “question and recluse” from life. Hope tends to cause me to “stand and proclaim” my faith.
Let’s meet life’s challenges with faith, hope & love. Love calls upon us to reach out to those suffering. If you want to make sure 100% of your money is going to help those affected by the earthquake and tsunami contact the not for profit “International Disaster Emergency Services.”