“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. For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth. 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.” Luke 21:34-36
As Jesus and his disciples were walking past the temple in Jerusalem, some referred to the beauty of the temple. It was a marvelous building. This temple was one of the great wonders of the world.
The outside of the temple was plated with gold. Consequently, during the day, in the sunlight, it glittered from afar.
Jesus used that moment to tell them about the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.
“There will not be left here one stone upon another.” And they asked him, not about the end of the age, but when the things he spoke about were going to happen.
Well, Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans in 70 AD. It is said that the Romans tore the temple down block by block.
In verse 34 of the text, Jesus says, “But watch yourselves least your hearts be weighed with dissipation and drunkenness and care of this life.” Jesus was concerned that we may become weighed down with dissipation. In other words, we would be so concerned about life’s pleasures that we take our eyes off the prize.
This world has its glitter like the temple, but that is not what we should be concerned about. Like the temple in Jerusalem, the things of this world do not last forever. They do perish and disappear. However, the gift of eternal life is forever.
He says we are also weighed down with drunkenness. If we are to be good watchmen, we must have a clear head. No one can be a good watchman if he is inebriated or drunk.
Therefore, keep a clear head, don’t get bogged down with the cares of life. Watch, because you do not know the day nor the hour when our Lord will come. Scripture tells us that “the Lord will come like a thief in the night”.
Verse 35 tells us that our Lord’s coming is not just for a certain group but for the whole world. All people upon the face of the earth will be affected: “For it will come upon all who dwell on the face of the whole earth.”
Earlier, we spoke about the destruction of Jerusalem. Well, this verse has nothing to do with the destruction of Jerusalem. Jesus’ narrative about Jerusalem only affected the city, however this verse refers to the whole world; everyone.
When he talked about the destruction of Jerusalem, he suggested places where one could run and hide. “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are inside the city depart, and let not those who are out in the country enter it.”
However, on the day of the Lord’s coming, there will not be a place to hide. Nothing or no one can hide you from the judgment of the King of Glory. When He makes his appearance, you will have to stand and be judged. No one will be able to help you; not your parents, family, politicians, or your pastor.
To assist us in our watch, we must pray constantly. On the night of his betrayal and arrest, he instructed his disciples, saying, “Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation.” (Matt. 14:38)
Prayer makes a difference in this world of sin, tears and woe.
That is why the apostle Paul wrote in I Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing.” When we pray diligently and faithfully, we remain focused on that which is everlasting.
We who are in Christ Jesus don’t need to fear the coming of the Lord. Our Baptism and our faith in God’s Messiah, Jesus the Christ, gives us assurance and comfort.
Because we are in Christ, we can stand with conviction and confidence without fear. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:11, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
Our Lord wants us to spend eternity with Him in His glorious kingdom. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, Pastor of the Lutheran Church of Nassau, 119 John F. Kennedy Dr., P. O. Box N4794, Phone 242-426-9084, Webpage: www.nassaulutheranchurch.org.