Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Luke 21:25-36: The Gospel Lectionary Passage for Sunday, November 29, 2009

This is my own translation of the lectionary gospel lesson for Sunday. Please make any comments concerning the passage you want. Together, let's discuss the Word of God:


25And there will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; and upon the earth, tension among nations in perplexity at the sound the seas and waves; 26people fainting from fear and expectation of things which are coming upon the inhabited world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 27And then they will see the son of man coming in clouds with power and great glory. 28And when these thing begin to happen, straighten yourself up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is near.”

29And he said a parable to them, “See the fig tree and all the trees. 30When already they put forth, because you see from yourselves, you know that already near is the summer. 31Thus also you, when you might see these things happen, you know that near is the Kingdom of God.

32“Amen, I say to you that this generation will absolutely not pass away until all these things happen. 33The heaven and the earth might pass away, but my word will absolutely not pass away.

34“And pay attention to yourselves lest your hearts might be weighed down in dissipation and drunkenness and cares of life, and that day might come upon you suddenly. 35For as a snare it will come upon everyone who dwells upon the face of the whole earth. 36And be awake at all times praying so that you might have strength to escape all these things must happen, and to stand before the son of man.”


  1. In working with the passage, I think you can focus on the material that isn't in the parallel passages in Mark and Matthew, namely v. 28 and vv. 34-36. For me, this is pointing toward keeping your focus as the return approaches. For us, it's about redemption, not judgement. We consider how this perspective can change our actions and attitudes right now.

  2. Were I to preach this one I would concentrate on verse 36 which in the RSV is translated "Watch and pray...."

    I am reminded of a young couple sitting in the waiting room of a large hospital in the middle of the night. Their child was being operated on for a life threatening problem. They sat and watched for the silhouette of the surgeon to appear down at the end of the hall. They were waiting and hoping for good news that the surgery had been successful. They were praying.

    I am reminded of a young Air Police corporal waiting for the sun to rise as he walked the perimeter of Na Trang air base in the 60's. It was just weeks before the Tet offensive. He walked the lonely edge of the base with his dog King. The corporal was praying as he watched. Several weeks later the base was over run by Viet Cong forces. Fortunately he was not there. He was discharged just before and had returned home.

    There are many situations when we wait, watch and pray.

    I am reminded of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemene. The night was dark. He left most of his disciples and went a little further to pray alone. He checked on his disciples. They were not watching. They were not praying. "Could you not watch with me for one hour?"

    Here in Luke's Gospel we see Jesus again addressing his followers. "Watch and pray...." Was Jesus thinking of some distant future when the age would end ... the end of time as we know it? Or was he thinking of a mich closer time about 70 AD when the Roman butchers would destroy the city? The fires would blot out the sun. Those who had been watching for the signs might have left the city before the end. Like that corporal in Viet Nam their lives would be spared.

    Watching and praying can save our lives ... or our souls. Watch and pray.