Jesus is the Son of Man
All right let’s grab our Bibles and turn with me to Luke chapter 21. As always, if you do not have a Bible, or if you have need of a Bible, please see me after the service and we can work on getting one into your hands.
This week is going to be a kind of extension on last weeks message. The passages are inextricably connected, and some would say that this week’s passages are the application of sorts on last weeks passages.
Maybe, maybe not.
But it is definitely connected, so let’s review just a bit from last week.
Jesus started talking about some of the things to come in the future. He talks about the signs and the warnings in specific regards to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 70 A.D as a judgment from God on the unbelieving Jewish nation.
His focus was that bad stuff is going to happen. Remember to look to me, focus on me. He says, I will return and those who believe in me, will be eternally saved, eternally forgiven and eternally alive. He says, look to me, look up for I, your redemption draws near.
Now, some of you may have been wondering after that passage, what do we do with that?” Jesus partially answered that, and he will answer it deeper in the passage this morning.
Now, as a warning, Jesus is not going to give a feel good, “Its all-good guys! Nothing bad will happen!” message. Instead, Jesus is going to deal with reality, both earthly, temporal reality and heavenly, eternal reality.
So, lets go ahead and read this morning’s passage, Luke chapter 21, verses 29 through the end of the chapter, verse 38. I’ll be reading out of the English Standard Version, and I encourage you to read along in your preferred translation, so that you see for yourself what the Word of God says.
Luke 21:29-38, the Gospel writer, inspired by the Holy Spirit, records these words of Jesus:
And he told them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees. 30 As soon as they come out in leaf, you see for yourselves and know that the summer is already near. 31 So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near. 32 Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place. 33 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
34 “But watch yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a trap. 35 For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 36 But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
37 And every day he was teaching in the temple, but at night he went out and lodged on the mount called Olivet. 38 And early in the morning all the people came to him in the temple to hear him.
May God Bless the Reading of His Holy Word.
So, Jesus starts by reiterating how we are supposed to hear and read last weeks passage. At the time, this would have been a continuation of the same conversation and discussion. And so, in the parable of the fig tree, Jesus reiterates that there will be signs, and signs mean things. Signs are a natural part of things. And specific to this conversation, when you see the signs that Jesus pointed out that we looked at last week, when you see these signs then you know that the kingdom of God is nearby.
Jesus makes it clear in the Gospels that He is here to inaugurate the Kingdom of God. And He does, Jesus like, his incarnation, God made flesh, along with his death, his resurrection and his ascension mean that Satan has been defeated and the Kingdom of God is here, at least in part.
And Jesus that this generation will not pass away until all has taken place.
Everybody in history has a different idea of what this means. And how we interpret this all depends on what the word generation means when Jesus says it.
There are three historically and biblical feasible things that generation can mean in this case.
The first is the way that we use the word generation today. This would be all people alive who were born in a specific period of time and will die within a specific period of time. We have had the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Gen Z, Millennials, and so on.
If this is the case, then Jesus is specifically referring solely to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and nothing else.
We have also seen the bible use generation to refer to a specific race of people. We see Jesus referring to the time of the Jews and the time of the Gentiles and so this is a valid interpretation as well. Again, in this case, the time of the Jews started ending when the Kingdom of God is brought by Jesus and completely finished when the temple is destroyed and then is transferred to the time of the gentiles.
The one that I softly lean towards is that the word means what we often see in Luke, and we also saw in the Old Testament as well, referring to a specific wicked and unrighteous group. The people on earth that God wipes out in the flood were a wicked generation. And Jesus references this generation when he overlooks and laments over Jerusalem.
No matter what, Jesus tells the disciples, Trust what I tell you. And recognize the difference between this temporal and temporary world and the troubles of heaven and earth that come with this life. Between that and the eternal, the Kingdom of God, the Word of God and the eternal life that is offered.
Heaven and Earth will pass away, but my Words will not pass away. Jesus is putting his words on par with scripture. He is calling back to Isaiah 40:8, The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.
And so, as sure as the things that he has said will take place in the next 40 years, and we see in history that they all did take place. As sure as those things will happen, so too will his second coming take place exactly how and when he says it will, and exactly how and when God has predetermined it.
And so next Jesus tells us how we are to deal with all he has said. First, there will be bad stuff happening. He’s not saying don’t worry about it, though in certain ways, he says that elsewhere, but what he is saying is that you know it’s going to happen, you know the reason for it, don’t ignore it, don’t drown yourself, don’t get depressed, don’t become despondent, don’t get discouraged and don’t get drunk.
If I don’t think about it, it won’t happen. Hakuna Matata… Drown out the pain. Those are the things Jesus says not to do. Those are who pretending it won’t happen, will be the most surprised when it does. Its like when a mouse trap springs. IF you know its coming, it still makes you jump but it’s not bad. But if you don’t know the mouse trap is there, it comes as a huge surprise.
One of the takeaways is that when all of this happens, there will not be time to react. The time to act will have already passed. There will not be time to change your minds or change sides. Once it happens, it happens.
And Jesus says, make no mistake, it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. Don’t trick yourself that it won’t happen. Don’t not believe Jesus as if he can speak falsehoods. Don’t ignore it as if its way off in the distant future that has no effect on you.
IT will happen to all. Either wrath or grace. Either Judgment or forgiveness.
So, what should we do? Stay awake and pray. Not literally stay awake and not sleep. Be vigilant and stay focused. Be prepared. Acknowledge and know what is coming. Knowing it could be anytime. Staying watchful in all times.
This call to vigilance and prayer is universal to all Christians in all times.
Pray, pray without ceasing. Not how he phrases it, but still. Now, again, the context. The immediate setting of this is the lead up to 70 AD. He is saying to pray that you will have the strength to escape all the things that are going happen.
We saw this last week as He told his followers, as time is getting close to the siege and the surrounding of Jerusalem, don’t flee to the safety of the walled city, but flee to the mountains. And he went into what was going to happen. And its going to be bad.
Jesus does not say to pray to avoid the bad but instead to pray that you will get through it and will stand before the Son of Man. Now, God does not, as a rule, spare his people form pain, wrath, disaster, not as a group anyway. The Flood, Egypt, the wilderness, the philistines, Babylon, Assyrians, Rome and so on. And I don’t see biblical evidence of that changing. I personally don’t see God taking his people out before the world gets worse.
What we do see is that individually, as believers and followers of Jesus will be brought through all of this by Christ. He promises those who believe in and follow him eternal life, eternal safety and eternal escape from wrath and judgment. He promises that we will stand before the Son of Man on the other side of all this. That s a phrase signifying salvation at the last day, the day of judgment.
Now, the last two verses here are just simple logistics. Jesus spent all day, everyday teaching in temple. People would come very early in the morning to the temple to hear Jesus teach and speak. But in the evening, he would go back out of the city proper and stayed on the Mount of Olives.
I saw one commentator write that this helped us identify with Jesus because just as we commute to our jobs, so too did Jesus’ commute here in and out of Jerusalem. That is not the way to apply this text, just to let you know.
This world is going to end. The world as they knew it ended in 70 AD. Jesus says to stay awake, stay prepared and pray. Everything he promises has come true and will come true. Everything in history is moving forward and it is headed directly towards Jesus. He is the Alpha and Omega. He is God. He is the one that will judge the living and the dead. He is the one that we are to focus on, believe in and turn our eyes upon.
And in that vein, I want to leave us with just a couple of scriptures about Jesus and who he is.
Colossians 1:15 & 16:
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. 16 For by[f] him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, 12 training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, 13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.
1 John 3:2 & 3:
Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears[a] we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is. 3 And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure.