Jesus said, “Straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” Luke 21:28
Jesus was all too aware that his time on earth was drawing to a close and he wanted his followers to be aware of the troubling times that lay ahead, especially the destruction of the temple and of Jerusalem. As always, the metaphorical and the literal were linked, and you can feel the urgency of Jesus’ words – destruction is coming but so also is redemption:
“From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that He is near, at the very gates.” (Mark13:28)
There is a pressing need to prepare, yet at the same time, encourage all of his disciples. He wants them to preach like time is running out but live like children of the eternal kingdom. By knowing what is to come, they (and we) can be properly equipped for the battle, both spiritually and mentally. Jesus explains in Luke 21 of the distress that will be seen across the world and that there will be fear of what is coming on the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. When you watch the news and see the moral decline of man in all its horrific guises, how many times have you heard someone say, “I can’t believe this is happening?” As the Church gets squeezed out, or worse still, conforms to society, the world slowly decays and it appears that the devil has the upper hand. Against this, Jesus says:
“But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and cares of this life… But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place… [for] the Son of Man is coming in a cloud with power and great glory, [so] straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near… Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
God’s word endures, God’s strength endures. What you are going through in your life right now is very real; your pain is real, your sorrow is real, and your frustration is real. But do not lower your head in defeat. Straighten up, his grace is real. Raise your head, his strength is real. Praise His Name, your redemption is real.