Jesus’ Predictions Have a Purpose

November 13, 2022

Pastor John Hering

Luke 21:5-19

Luke 21:5-19

Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God. But Jesus said, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down.”

“Teacher,” they asked, “when will these things happen? And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?”

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.”

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11 There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.

There are many organizations and people who are famous for trying to predict the future.  If Wall Street could predict the future think what difference that would make!  Or what if Nostradamus was accurate with his predictions.  Nostradamus was a 16th century French doctor and astrologer credited with predicting the raise of Adolph Hitler to the terrorist attacks on 9-11. Most of his predictions had to do with war and disasters in a series of books published in 1555.  His followers claimed he had true prophetic powers, but actually there is no evidence that he ever predicted a single specific event before it occurred other than in vague terms that could be applied to many different events.

Vague predictions do nothing except stir up fear.  They fulfill what Jesus said today in Luke 21, Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them.  Of course we would like to know the future regarding our nation and our financial security.  But, we are living in a time with moral decay, attacks on our freedom, and the fear of leaving your front door or car unlocked.  As we consider the Last Day it is a perfect time for us to listen to God’s Word because

Jesus’ Predictions Have A Purpose

To Preserve our Body and Soul

What happens to people who believe that being a Christian means good health and then they get cancer?  Or to be financially secure and then gets fired?  Or to have healthy relationships and learns their spouse doesn’t love them anymore?  These are devastating events that lead to frustration, questioning and doubt.  It might even be used by the devil to doubt God’s control over all things.  But, it doesn’t have to be that way when we trust that Jesus’ Predictions Have A Purpose. Here’s why:

Today’s Word of God took place just three days before Jesus’ death on the cross.  He was in the temple courts teaching and preaching.  Those who opposed Jesus all tried to find some way to challenge Jesus and make him look foolish in front of the crowds. They failed.  At the end of that long day Jesus and his disciples made their way to the Mount of Olives. As they turned to overlook the city they would see the sun setting as the light reflected off the golden roof of the temple.  Wow! What a sight! Some of his disciples were remarking about how the temple was adorned with beautiful stones and with gifts dedicated to God.  Jesus’ answer was unexpected, “As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another; every one of them will be thrown down. Why would Jesus make such a prediction? This wasn’t the first time the Nation of Israel had rejected the Lord.  They had deserved God’s wrath many times throughout their history.  However, it was time for the disciples to learn the realities of living in a sin-broken world that desperately needed a Savior.

Just like Christians who think that being a Christian means life will be all good, the crowds who once followed Jesus thought he was going to be their earthly Savior for their life on this earth.  When Jesus explained that he was the Promised Messiah they all wanted political, social and financial security.  They saw Jesus turn water into wine, feed 5,000 people with a couple of fish and loaves of bread, heal the sick and even catch fish with money in its mouth!  This Jesus could make life easy!  The disciples were influenced by these same temptations—wouldn’t Jesus’ throne look really good in that beautiful temple!?  Jesus cut them off.  While they should remember that the Lord Preserves Their Body and Soul with daily needs, he didn’t want them to make it their focus.  Jesus’ Predictions Have A Purpose to remind them that while they can enjoy the happy times living in this world, there will also be problems and pains due to living in a world broken by sin.

10 Then he said to them: “Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. 11There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.”

Luke 21:10-11

Unlike the predictions of the Stock Market and Nostradamus, Jesus’ Predictions Came True.  For example, in Jesus’ day the Roman Empire would destroy Jerusalem about 40 years later.  Last year there were about 28,000 earthquakes, with plenty of category 4/5 hurricanes and tornadoes.  Even with modern technology with man-made dams and reservoirs there are still droughts and famines.  Remember the sickness of the 1980s?  Aids killed millions of people and in the past couple of years Covid is the most recent sickness killing people.  There have been over 120 wars since 1900.  And the Stock Market has gone up and down like a yo-yo.  Predictions by Nostradamus don’t matter, but Jesus’ Predictions do.  Jesus’ Predictions Have a Purpose to help us realize that God does Preserve our Body and Soul, but not with the things of this world that will pass away.  God has something much better in mind. When you hear of wars and uprisings, do not be frightened. These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away. Then he added:

16 You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers and sisters, relatives and friends, and they will put some of you to death. 17 Everyone will hate you because of me. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish.”

Luke 21:16-18

So, is Jesus going to Preserve Our Body and Soul or not?  How can Jesus say, they will put some of you to death….But not a hair of your head will perish?  There are so many passages that speak of God’s loving care for us down to the last hair on our heads.  He also cares by providing cold and heat, rain and sunshine, produce and cattle.  He also cares for each bird and cow.  He cares so much that he gave brains to people to figure out how to milk a cow, pasteurize the milk and put it into jugs for us. How to get 165 bushels of corn per acre today compared to 55 bushels of corn per acre just 70 years ago.  He does preserve our bodies.  He also cares for our souls by providing Christian parents, friends or co-workers to correct us when we are sinning.  Then we point to the cross of Jesus where Christ paid the penalty of all your sins.  Yes, Jesus allowed wicked people to nail him to that cross.  There Jesus endured the punishment of the Father we deserved in order to declare all sins completely paid for.  The Lord God cared for us so much that when our bodies fail and die, our souls will live with him forever in heaven.  No matter what happens to our society, our health and our wealth it isn’t a surprise because Jesus’ Predictions Have the Purpose of showing us this world will pass away, but our eternal life in heaven will never pass away.  So, it isn’t a contradiction.  Yes, we will die, but we will spend eternity in heaven—body and soul—because Jesus said so.  Now, with this confidence we bend our ears toward Jesus’ Predictions That Have Another Purpose:

To Prepare Us For Ministry

When you hear the word, “Ministry” what comes to mind to you?  In the dictionary one of the first references is to clergy in full-time church work.  Historically, the word “ministry” was reserved for full time pastors.  But, in the Bible the word, “Ministry” is also used to talk about “Service to God” that flows from a heart of God’s people filled with thankful love for all God has done for us.  Today, we are talking about all believers in Jesus are ministers and have a ministry—a life of service to God and others with a purpose.

There are so many forms of this ministry.  Ranking at the top is to bring others to hear and learn about Jesus’ love and mercy for them. Jesus called us all to this ministry and he knows the challenges that get in the way.  There are personal concerns and worries about what to say, especially if the people we want to share the gospel with we think may not be interested, or a relative who blows up every time we talk about Jesus, or maybe to someone who has authority over us.  But, today Jesus’ Predictions Have the Purpose of Preparing Us For Ministry by taking the air out of the fear balloon.  Jesus was all about giving his followers assurance and courage without surprises and removing those worries and concerns.

12 “But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name. 13 And so you will bear testimony to me. 14 But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves. 15 For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.”

Luke 21:12-15

Yes, we will bear testimony to Jesus by our words and actions.  Jesus instructs us to prepare us for this ministry.  This means reading the Bible so you have God’s Word on your heart.  In God’s Word you are given the words to speak and the instruction on how to live.  People around us will notice something different about our lives and the way we talk.  You are able to talk about social, political, and personal issues based on God’s Word.  You are able to point to the cross and say, “Because of Jesus, everything is going to be okay.”  You know that above all else you are citizen of heaven who just happens to also be a citizen of this earth.  But, you have been Prepared By Jesus for Ministry.

I also know that we need assistance from the Lord Jesus to carry out that ministry because just like the Christians of Paul’s day, who knows how long it will be before we get sued or put into jail for calling sin a sin according to God’s Word, whether it is drunkenness, homosexuality or immorality? But, that is exactly what Jesus is talking about when he says, they will seize you and persecute you. They will hand you over to synagogues and put you in prison, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of my name.Stand firm on Jesus’ Predictions with a Purpose—to prepare us for Ministry!  It is a matter of eternal life and eternal death.  Stand firm because Jesus gives us his promise 19 Stand firm, and you will win life.  This isn’t earning eternal life, but it is a fruit of faith of a person who already believes in Jesus’ Predictions that Have a Purpose to Prepare us for Ministry to God and the people in this world.

All need to be Prepared for Ministry because Jesus’ Predictions Have a Purpose.  Jesus’ Predictions are not to produce fear, but faith!  First to everyone who doesn’t know his grace and mercy need to hear and believe it.  For on the Last Day Jesus will return to Judge the Living and the Dead.  At this public day of judgment everyone who refused to trust in Jesus will be condemned for their unbelief.  Then all their sins will give evidence to their unbelief.  These Jesus will condemn to eternal hell for the lack of faith.  Then everyone who trusted in Jesus and leaned on him for their eternal salvation will be judged.  There will be no sins recorded on their scorecard for all those sins were washed away by the blood of Jesus Christ.  They will also have recorded the good works as fruit of faith from thankful hearts.  They do these good works NOT to earn God’s favor or get into heaven, but because they, through faith in Jesus Christ, already received God’s gracious gift of heaven.  Their works stand as a testimony to their faith in Jesus.  To these people Jesus will say, “Come, enter into heaven and live with all the saints forever in Paradise.”  Believe it, for Jesus’ Predictions have a Purpose!  To Preserve our Body and Soul while living on this earth, and To Prepare Us for Ministry to share the Truth of God’s Word with the people in our community.  Then all who believe will be joined together in heaven forever for Jesus’ sake.  This is Jesus’ Prediction, no, this is Jesus’ Promise You Can Count On!  Amen!

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